At MPS, we take a proactive approach to developing the “complete consultant” – a professional blend of sound consulting experience and technical subject matter expertise. Professional development is an ongoing process, and we are constantly learning from and sharing with each other.
MPS’ PACE training (Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence), which is part of our Professional Readiness and Effectiveness Program (PREP), is a 25-week curriculum that combines client delivery and professional development for individuals eager to learn and apply the knowledge and skills of a management consultant. Besides client delivery, PACE apprentices receive weekly classroom training, along with professional coaching and mentoring. In order to receive a certificate, each apprentice must also complete an independent business case study.
PREP recently passed its fourth annual audit by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with flying colors. According to one ANSI representative, “The culture of continuous improvement remains evident. The incumbent program director has spent quite a bit of time over the past year streamlining policies and procedures. Program management continues to think ahead in terms of where opportunities lie and how the program might grow and expand.”
PREP Program Director, Patti McMullen, came to MPS as a PACE apprentice, and worked her way up through the ranks. Her enthusiasm for PACE and the doors it opens come from personal experience. “I have seen the direct value of coupling client delivery with professional development. Beyond supplementing my skills, knowledge, and experiences to provide value to clients, this program has also helped me identify new areas of interest outside delivery. Identifying these new opportunities…is absolutely invaluable in my personal and professional career.”
As an alternative to the intense PACE program, MPS offers training and experience to part-time hourly employees, Business Development Associates (BDAs). Primarily undergraduate and graduate students, BDAs conduct research that relates to M Powered Strategies’ capability set, analyze contracts on the open market to identify new opportunities, and reach out to customers to learn more about their goals and objectives. Bowen Zhang, who is getting his master’s in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, is currently working as a BDA. “At MPS I am learning a lot about the dynamics of the consulting industry, and getting familiar with the different types of contracts and acquisition processes of the government.” BDAs also have access to the weekly PREP/PACE training sessions.
Further professional development efforts at MPS revolve around the field of Project Management. We encourage and support any staff member who elects to go through the training and certification process to become a Project Management Professional (PMP®). MPS President and CEO Kendall Lott has been very active in the local chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI), including serving as its CEO. For the past four years, he has been producing a monthly podcast, PM Point of View®, which is available on our website, our Facebook page, the projectmangement.com portal, TuneIn, and iTunes, where it is one of the featured podcasts on the Project Management Podcast Network. It is also available on the website of the Washington DC chapter of PMI (PMIWDC). “Project Management is as much an instrument of change as it is an effective delivery method, and I feel compelled to ‘preach the word’ of its value to the largest audience possible. I have been impressed with the wide range of thinking and the varied application of project management that our podcast guests have shared with us,” says Kendall.
Project Management has even taken on a social function at MPS. For the past few months, we have been holding an after-hours Community of Practice for Project Management. “PDUs and Pizza” are monthly forums for staff to gather and discuss PM topics.
MPS was recently certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Registered Education Provider (REP), which means that not only can PMP®s earn professional development units (PDUs) by listening to the PM Point of View® podcasts, we are now able to offer in-house trainings for PDU credits to our staff and apprentices.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.