TMOG loves it when our students succeed, but why should we keep all the good news to ourselves?  We have chosen a great TMOG alumnus to be our Hero Spotlight, Collin M.  Collin shares his journey from the military to finding his footing in civilian life.  Below, he shares advice for those interested in earning their PMP certification.  

Q:  Tell me about yourself and your career before becoming PMP certified.
A:  I live in North Carolina and have two strong boys that help keep me young and a wife that keeps me healthy and on my toes! Our dog Kevin, the family VIP, keeps us comfortable and snuggled at night.

I recently retired after serving 26 years in the Army. I grew up watching and admiring Rambo so I shivered when I earned the black beret, (this was back when the Rangers wore black berets). I’ve done a lot of jobs in the Army, from teaching Special Forces to instructing military Free-Fall to heroes to being an entry specialist.

Now I’m learning how to “civilian,” and I love it. I have two businesses, flexibility, and resources to spend time with family and friends.

Q:  Why did you decide to become PMP certified?

A:  In the Army, I was a capability developer.  I managed a half dozen projects at the time, and my boss recommended Jon’s PMP class in Southern Pines.  I had never heard of PMP, but it sounded like professional development, so I eagerly volunteered for the class…thinking it was a one-week class.  But, boy, was I surprised when I discovered there was a test, and it was HARD.  I’m not ashamed to say my first reaction was to back out. But I looked into the PMP certification process and realized how much I would benefit.

The bottom line is, I fell into it, not realizing at first how relevant PMP was to my previous role.

Q:  How was your experience in Jon’s class? How did it help you prepare for the exam?

A: I joined 14 other students at the Hampton Inn in Southern Pines, North Carolina, for two weeks. We all had different specialties. Jon used a variety of teaching techniques to keep it fresh and entertaining. I think there were more easel pad papers on the wall than wall showing! It’s an interactive class, so don’t expect to hide in the corner and go without contributing, you’re going to contribute something. Oh, and there’s cookies.

I wouldn’t have passed the test without his class. You need to study, a lot, but Jon provides the foundational understanding in digestible pieces so you can launch into your studies. I set the test date for one month after his class and studied every day for at least an hour using flashcards and highlighted portions of the study materials.

Q:  How has your life changed since getting your PMP certification?

A:  Opportunities. Since I’ve retired, I’ve been offered a variety of jobs that I wouldn’t have been considered for previously. The people in my office were so impressed with my PMP certification. I even got teased a little for being a “PMP!”

As a capabilities developer, I was beginning my “capstone” project when I became PMP certified. My biggest challenge of that project was managing stakeholders’ expectations with current technology and the budget allocated, and scope creep! PMP fundamentals helped streamline project efficiencies and provided better tools for my project challenges.

Q:  Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about pursuing their PMP?

A:  Set a date to take the PMP exam NO LONGER than two months from the end of Jon’s class. Make sure to provide expectation management with your family, so they understand you’ll need time to study for the exam. I know a few people who never took the test because they postponed and postponed it, and then POOF, the knowledge is gone. The PMP certification is worth it. Invest in yourself and be accountable to a system that provides you with study time. Then, pull the trigger and take the test. Good luck!