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Gain insider perspectives with our MSc Project Management for Construction Q&A. Meet one of our brilliant current students, accompanied by MSc module tutor, Mohammad El-Mashaleh.

They discuss all-things industry and course-related and how the course can help you fast-track your project management career.

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I think having been on the more practical side of the construction industry for so long, and I kind of got to the top of that game, if you like, I needed to wrap it up with something and almost confirm to myself that I had acquired the skills that I thought I had.

So that's one of the main reasons why I came to Portsmouth. Obviously, Portsmouth's got a great reputation anyway.

And two of my family members have come through Portsmouth as well. So for me, it was natural. And of course, when I read the prospectus as well, the areas that it covered were the right areas for me.

And in this-- the material of the class for the different courses, we have these real case examples, real projects, where they actually apply their understanding to these real projects. And some of the tools, they are extremely useful to use in the industry like the building information modeling software, for example, the contract administration principles, where they can actually use excellently, for example, these suits of contract administration, like [INAUDIBLE] 2016 and AC4, where they apply these standard forms to real construction engineering problems.

So the course is actually prepared with some real case examples from projects that were executed in the past. And it is easily where they can see how they can actually apply these principles in construction projects.

What I found really interesting was the different types of people that were in your class, if you like, your cohort. And then as we went through each unit, there would be different people that were really skilled at that particular thing. I remember when we hit the BIM side of things, there were guys there that had built hospitals in Dubai and stuff using BIM. And then there were others that had never switched it on in their lives.

And so there was a great sharing of information. And there were other guys that were great at JCT.

And there were other guys that had never looked at it before.

And then in the forums, that comes to the fore.

Forums and fore. But there was always someone to go back to so you didn't have to hound the lecturer. And because you were meant to be teaching yourself almost, you're meant to be learning, in that kind of environment, there's a lot of information to be teased out of your other fellow students. It was really interesting kind of seeing what some of these guys know.

Was to trust yourself. When you're at this level, no one's going to tell you that you're doing it right or wrong in your front room or in your office. So you have to just trust your submissions and be prepared to make errors, be prepared for corrections. But what I found very early on is the lecturers, they're there to advise and help.

And I found that really useful for me after. That was one of the first things I learned in the original project management of construction, first project management processes, I think it was. And I learned a lot in that first module, which kind of set me on the path for all the other stuff. So trust what you're writing.

Have faith in what you're learning. And you're at that level. So trust it.

We know that there are different organizations that rank universities globally.

One of them is Times Higher Education. And the University of Portsmouth is one of the top 400 universities worldwide. So it is a respected university. If you are having a degree from University of Portsmouth, that is well respected wherever you actually show that you have a degree from University of Portsmouth.

When I was starting, I was going to do scheduling and what could I do with scheduling to make it better. And then I was thinking about cost analysis. And then I was getting into contracts. And the thing that kind of got me, I suppose, was BIM. But the element that I am very much interested in is why it's not being used?

And until now, I've always worked for SMEs. I had my own small electrical concern.

But having worked on airports and things, I always was aware that at the highest level, if you worked at a nuclear power station, for instance, the guys that designed it, they had BIM pretty well down. They had the models built. They had everything going on.

But the contractor four or five layers down that was actually turning up with the scaffolding and turning up with the concrete, he was still working off of 2D drawings. There were still clashes going on. Even though clash detection was at a higher level, they weren't getting involved in those discussions. And so my dissertation, which I'm actually quite passionate about, is understanding the barriers to BIM adoption for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors, the SMEs in the UK.

And as part of that, I've been interviewing a lot of directors of these firms, their PMs, BIM managers for firms, and trying to get a feel for the whole industry. So that's what I've been doing. And it's been quite interesting.


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