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I Did The PPM And So Can You

Suzaan Pretorius

My path in project management started one morning in an office, doing the same admin work I’ve been doing for years, which felt like an eternity. I was tired, bored and depressed and needed a change, a challenge, something to stimulate me intellectually. I worked at the University of Pretoria and I knew about the Programme in Project Management (PPM). I had a four-year degree which qualified me for the PPM, but I kept pushing the idea of registering for the course to the back of my mind. I was in a comfort zone. Scared to try something new. I’ve heard that the course entails a lot of work and I had a fulltime job, was married and had two small boys. Did I really want to put more pressure on myself? However, I couldn’t continue with my mundane life, so I decided to bite the bullet and register for the course.

After a discussion with my boss, he agreed that I could register for the Project Management Weekender Course. This entailed that the contact time for the modules was Fridays and Saturdays. The first module with Prof Herman Steyn was excellent and it confirmed to me that I made the right decision. Every lecturer after that had extensive knowledge of his or her field, the lectures grabbed my attention and the contact time flew by. Yes, the Saturday lectures and numerous assignments took some (and sometimes a lot of) sacrifices from me, but in the end it was worth it. The group work taught me how to interact with different personalities and how to handle conflict to get the job done. I still have contact with the friends I made during the course.

I started the course with the expectation to only pass the modules, but in the end, I passed with distinction. It took a lot of hard work, working on weekends and late nights, but that was not the only reason why I exceeded my own expectations. As I progressed through the course, I realised that I have a passion for project management and that I want to continue with it as a career.

Although the Programme in Project Management is sufficient for most people to advance in their careers, I wanted to continue learning and I decided to enrol for a Masters in Project Management at the GSTM. This degree consists of course work and a mini-dissertation. The PPM helped me tremendously with the course work as I already had background knowledge which gave me an advantage over the other students. Also, I was used to the sacrifice of doing numerous assignments. Something the PPM taught me. Once again, my expectation was to pass the modules, but I completed the Masters in Project Management Cum Laude.

I took me seven years to build up the courage to register for a PhD in Project Management. Was I good enough to obtain a doctorate? I decided that there was only one way to find out and that is to enrol for the degree, which I did. After four years of blood sweat my title changed to Dr Suzaan Pretorius. My dream has come true. I am currently a researcher at the GSTM. My dream job! I also teach a module in project management to honours students. In my wildest dreams I never could imagine that someday I would teach project management - that person who registered for the Programme in Project Management with the hope to only pass the course.

I have come a long way. From doing admin work to having a doctorate and working as a researcher at the GSTM. It all started with the PPM. I will forever be grateful for my decision to move out of my comfort zone and to register for a course that I knew would be challenging. My advice to anyone would be to reach for your dreams, make the sacrifices, work hard and believe in yourself. In the end it’s worth it.

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Quick Links

The PPM is recognized by the following:

  1. PMI (Project Management Institute) – USA and Globally
  2. ECSA (Engineering Council of SA)
  3. SACPCMP (South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions)
  4. SACNASP (South African Council for Natural Scientific Professionals)
  5. PMSA (Project Management South Africa)

On successful completion of the PPM, suitable candidates may be eligible to apply for the professional designation of Project Manager (PM) conferred by Project Management South Africa (PMSA). PMSA is the SAQA recognized professional body representing the interests of project managers across sectors.

Contact Information

Simbulele Mtshotane

Course Coordinator

All Administrative Matters
+27 (0)12 434 2603
Mobile: +27 (0)73 760 7402
Send an email

Mpolokeng Rammutloa

Programme Manager

Prof Herman Steyn

Course Leader

All Academic Matters
Send an email

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