Student Profile: Michael Nelson Jr, PMP
I serve as an HR Technology Consultant for Lockton Companies based out of Kansas City, Missouri. I have a strong background in health and welfare benefits, as well as a deep interest in personal finance. Project Management as it's practiced was a foreign concept to me until a connection helped me secure a job at a benefits administration company where I would serve as a project manager overseeing the migration of client data from their previous solution to my new company. While pursuing my MBA, I was formally introduced to the field from an academic perspective.
I had a deeply passionate instructor, Wayne Kaul, at the University of Iowa and he opened my eyes to the prospect of becoming PMP certified. I would take a follow-up course with him in the same program to further open my eyes to the Agile aspects of project management.
In my opinion, I've always had an organized, strong structured mindset so the field of project management was a natural fit. After 5 years of being in the throws of the implementation battlegrounds, I moved into the Consultant role. I get great pleasure out of assisting and navigating clients with less experience through the challenges of my industry and helping them connect the dots. I truly enjoy deploying my project management skills to other organizations I interact with - I'm amazed at how applicable the skills and knowledge I've acquired through my project management journey can be to most any situation.
In my spare time, I enjoy hiking through the National Parks with my wonderful wife. The Pacific Northwest is our home, currently, and definitely allows us the opportunity to scratch our hiking itch.
I believe it's essential to read the official PMP Handbook from PMI at least once - it helps you to understand the process in front of you, as well as to align your expectations with requirements you're about to embark upon. If you're like me, you'll probably have additional questions. If possible, I would recommend connecting with a PMP holder because they know what you're going through and can act as an ally/resource as you navigate your journey.
Remember the law of diminishing returns. After several practice exams and a statistically significant quantity of questions, I began to settle at a score that I was comfortable with. My poor wife probably grew tired of me providing her update after update. It reached the point where I had to be comfortable with the fact that just because I didn't do every single question in the exam simulator, it was okay because my scores were in a good place for the questions I had encountered. Additionally, I also watched the PrepCast videos again, not to take notes or learn the material, but rather to cement what I knew I knew in my head. Confirm my understandings and building confidence was the area I felt the most challenging with leading up to the exam (even though my scores in the simulator were where they should be).
Best of luck to future PrepCast users - this tool and the materials were a critical part of my success.
Michael Nelson Jr, PMP