Project Management Professional (PMP)® Student Profiles:

Student Profile: Susan Hughes, PMP

Susan HughesI have been an IT Project Manager in the Banking and Financial services industry since the mid-90’s.  I learned my PM skills on the job but without any formal training. Although I managed a 5 year Program of projects with a combined value of over $3MM,  I realized my knowledge and skills were limited to those organizations I worked for and crossing over industries could be a challenge. A co-worker told me about the PMP certification and its benefits which motivated me to pursue it. I saw the PMP certification as a means to successfully cross over industries and step into companies and projects with confidence in my skills and expertise.

I started out with PMP for Dummies to provide me with the most basic information in a manner that was easy to digest.  This also helped me appreciate what I was getting myself into.  I trolled the Internet for every free learning resource I could find: podcasts, webcasts, simulators, test questions, etc.  You Tube became my best friend for free study materials. I especially focused on Simulators that enabled me to partition out questions by knowledge area, process group, and processes.  This way I could see where I was weak.

All this was foundation learning to help me appreciate the goal. Then I created my study plan.  I purchased Dale Crowley’s PMP online instructor training for the framework and Rita Mulcahy’s PMP study book and I developed a study plan/schedule.  Between the two, I was able to supplement all the Dale Crowley framework material with Rita’s real world application insights.  I spent half my time this way and the other half of the time doing Simulators and memorizing and practicing formulas and scheduling. I also obtained an iPhone ITTO app that I could open and practice anytime, anywhere.

Finally, a month prior to my test date goal, I purchased Cornelius Fichtner’s PMP Simulator.  Based on all the free material I found on the internet, I felt that his simulator was the best as far as question content and format but the real gem was in the answer explanations which were detailed and thorough so that I clearly understood the rationale which furthered my learning.  Another outstanding feature of Cornelius’ Simulator was the ITTO specific practice exam which I felt helped me immensely.  I also found great value in the PMP Formula Study Guide.  The last week before my exam,  I spent the time reviewing only the areas I felt weak, reinforced formulas and scheduling, and practiced memorizing ITTOs.  I followed all the advice on what to do to prepare for the exam and passed!

In closing, it was all worth it.  Money was tight so I had to take advantage of any free resources because boot camps etc were beyond my financial means at the time.  But the day I uploaded my revised resume reflecting “PMP” in my title, I was sourced for a PMP opportunity which I successfully obtained. Although I leveraged many resources, I found Cornelius Fichtner’s materials to be comprehensive, easy to follow and understand, and the best resource for passing the PMP exam.


Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®