Anna Handberg - Master of Project Management - 2012

Anna Handberg

Anna Handberg is a glutton for punishment. She’s just devoted 10-15 hours per week for the past two years gaining a Master in Project Management from Charles Sturt University’s IT Masters program. Now she’s embarked on a Master in Landscape Architecture.

If her performance in the Masters in Project Management is any indication, she’ll do well. She gained two High Distinctions, one Distinction and beat over 40 other students to take away the prize for the best overall result with a Grade Point average of 5.57 out of a possible 7.

She achieved her outstanding performance not by having a ‘big hairy ambitious goal’ of achieving excellence but by focussing on each module as it came along. “For much of the degree I was focused on getting through each subject individually rather than the overall degree.” She said. “I felt like I almost didn't have time to come up for air and see how I was going overall. I just took each subject at face value, one at a time and tried not to get overwhelmed by worrying about the degree as a whole.”

Her best result was in the Financial Management subject, one she knew little about when she started. “I was terrified of it,” she told WhaTech. “Having a science background I had not done any in-depth business subjects before. I hit the ground running out of fear and worked the hardest I had for the entire degree. To my surprise the hard work paid off and I ended up enjoying the subject and I did the best out of any of my subjects.”

Anna doesn’t work in IT. She’s in training and development in agri-insurance with Elders, but IT Masters’ Master in Project Management isn’t just for IT project managers. As IT Masters’ CEO Martin Hale explains: “The Master of Project Management started out being specific to IT but we got demand from project managers from other industry sectors so we expanded to cater to project managers from any industry.”

Anna said she had been attracted to the course “because of the distance education options. Also, Charles Sturt University is a well-respected university both within Australia and overseas.”

After a seven-year break from study since obtaining her first degree, Anna found getting back into the study habit quite a challenge. “I had to work hard to remember what it takes. I found I needed to work smarter not harder as I balanced full time work with, often, two subjects,” she said. “This was stressful but actually a blessing as after a few subjects I found I was far more efficient with my time management.”

All her hard work has paid off, and not just in accolades. She has been able to shift into project work smoothly and says she can now legitimately contribute to Elders’ projects from a management perspective. “I have the confidence to back my decisions thanks to my working knowledge of project management fundamentals.”

Now she is looking to apply what she has learnt to her chosen area of landscape architecture. “My project management skills will no doubt be invaluable both during my study and career in this new field, which is really exciting,” she said.