Some early career advice from a former colleague led Srivaths Parayil to pursue a career he was genuinely passionate about.
“He said, ‘Don’t love your company, love the role’,” he recalls.
“At the time, I was attached to my organisation but there was a new role that I was searching for. Out of the different roles that I'd done, project management was something that I found very exciting.”
Enrolling in RMIT’s Master of Project Management, Srivaths learnt to manage complex projects with a range of stakeholders, on time and on budget.
Initially, finding the right balance between work and study was challenging. Srivaths juggled several different part-time jobs while in his first semester.
“When I started with work and my studies, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, there's an assignment that is coming. What do I do? Should I say I cannot work, and would I be able to complete the assignment?’,” he recalled.
“At the end of the day, I came here to do my course so I'd just say ‘no’ to the employer and get ready to find another job. I think in my first semester, I would've changed a couple of jobs because I was not happy and it put pressure on me.
“In the second semester I got into a comfortable job so things were much more easy and things just fell into place.”
Time management was made easier by knowing all the assignment due dates for the year ahead. Srivaths used an app called MyStudyLife to help him organise class times, assignment due dates and weekly tasks.
“One of the best things about RMIT is they actually tell you the assignments and due dates for the entire course so you know what the dates are,” he said.
“Yes, there are a couple of postponements here and there, but you get to plan your day.”
The future looks bright for graduates like Srivaths. Project management is booming with statistics showing there are more jobs than candidates and plenty of well-paid roles in the market.
“There's a big hype over project management,” Srivaths said.
“Ten or 15 years ago, project management was never a specific thing. Now today, it's big in the market. Project management is something that industries need and the industries have realised that project management is just not about starting from scratch and moving up the career and managing a team.
“I'm really happy with the course that I've done because it's also accredited with the Project Management Institute, which is valid across different nations.”
A focus on soft skills, namely communication and leadership, was to prove practical in the workforce.
“I actually learned from this course that 85 per cent of a project manager's duty is communication,” Srivaths said.
“There's a lot of things that I learned from it like how easy it is to set up a virtual team in order to cut costs, but then communication can become an issue. So communication is one of the key strengths.”
He said RMIT’s strong connection to industry partners was yet another leg up in the world of work.
“One of my courses had about eight guest lecturers with various industry experience related to project management,” Srivaths said.
“(Typically you would have) one or two, but eight guest lectures for a course just indicated the level of importance and the quality of education in the course.”
While studying, Srivaths landed a job in door-to-door sales for a solar power company. From there, he worked up the ranks to become a sales rep and is now a consultant managing three other sales reps.
Story: Kate Jones