What Is Your Education About?

Peter H Christian
5 min readFeb 5, 2024

Your degree is just a piece of paper. Your education is seen in your behavior.

I have just finished teaching Project Management for the eight time over a four year period. My students are comprised of people in industry who want to improve their Project Management skills and students who are either required to take the class or who want to learn to and become good Project Managers (God knows we need more good PMs).

At the start of each class I ask the students why they are taking the class. Here are two recent answers:

1. I am in this course is to gain more knowledge and expertise on

Project Management.

2. I am taking this course mainly because my adviser told me to and it is part of being a graduate assistant. She told me having a Project Management certificate would be good for my resume and my future career path.

Talk about two different wants from the class. One wants to learn and become proficient at being a PM. The other wants a resume builder because they achieved a certificate, I know lots of people with certificates, some in Project Management taught by other instructors and institutions. They spent big dollars and time and took an exam to get these and are some of the worst Project Managers I have ever seen.

One led a recent IT project that was 6 months late in delivery and was 200% over budget. So much for that vaunted certificate. You can memorize all of the Project Management knowledge and theory that you can, but its application is a totally different thing.

When I started teaching I was asked to develop a program to get people ready for the PMI certification exam. I declined for two reasons. First, there are a million programs already available. Why be one of a million plus? Second and most importantly, I designed my course for experiential learning. I give no quizzes or exams. You can look that stuff up at any time.

My course is to teach the essence of Project Management and then have the learner demonstrate their learnings by successfully developing and completing a project. They are then graded on that.

I am not foolish enough to think that this one class will make each person taking it a good or a great Project Manager. I tell them that this in only the start for them. By doing things over and over again, they will hopefully hone their skills and become good or great. I also realize not all will become so. Some may even stop doing Project Management. It isn’t for everyone. But even as a team member it is important to realize what goes into Project Management to be good team members or managers of Project Managers.

It starts with being accepting of the learnings before you. If you don’t start there, chances are good that you are not destined to be involved in Project Management. And that is ok. Just realize it and move on. Not everyone will become an engineer, doctor, vet or whatever. Find what you are good at and do it. But don’t take something just to get a piece of paper that says you listened to someone for hours, passed a multiple guess test and are now certified. That is wrong, deceiving and a waste of everyone’s time.

I still remember when my daughter went to college. She was a decent high school pole vaulter. She went to a Division 3 school and became the top vaulter on her Track and Field team.

She was also in the school’s Meteorology program and had to take Physics, a subject she struggled with. To help with her understanding she went to additional classes.

In one such instance, a class conflicted with a team practice. She went to the class. Her coach was not happy and chastised her for it. She told him to get real. The school was a D3 program and she was not on an athletic scholarship. She was at school to become a meteorologist and that was her main interest. And her parents were paying for her to be there and she owed it to us to do her best academically.

Wow. I was blown away when she told me what she said and did. I wish all students felt that way about their studies. Unfortunately they do not and hence why I am writing this piece.

I just had a similar issue with one student who had a conflict with some sports practice. He is a second stringer on a D3 team and he is conflicted with that and his studies. I guess we all have priorities, even if they are misplaced.

So where do we go from here? As for current and future students whether mine or anyone else’s, I hope they take their studies seriously. It is not about that piece of paper you earn, but what you do with all of the knowledge you have received.

As for me. It is to keep doing what I am doing. To teach those who want to be taught so they can apply that knowledge for their own as well as the common good.

In my four years of teaching I have offered each student the ability to contact me at any time regarding any questions or concerns they have about the class and what they have covered, at no charge to them. I want them to be the best Project Managers they can be and anything I can do to help, I will, both now and in the future.

That is all that I can do. I cannot make them want to succeed. I can only help them along the way. The good ones will and the others will struggle. But such is their choice.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”



Peter H. Christian was a founding partner and president of espi, a business consulting firm in Northeastern PA. Previously he was an Executive at Crayola Corporation. He has worked with 300+ clients in business development, profit improvement, operations, IS selection and implementation, and Project Management. He has 40+ years of experience in strategic and facility planning, CI, lean, and supply chain. He has helped companies to realize millions of dollars in cost reductions and profit improvements adding and retaining thousands of jobs. He has authored the Amazon bestselling business books, “What About the Vermin Problem?” and “Influences and Influencers” (4 out of 4 star review on Online Bookclub) which are highlighted in his profile. He is also published in a variety of professional magazines. He is most appreciative of Dr. Rodney Ridley, Donald Schalk and Gaetan Gianinni of Alvernia University for their support in allowing him to teach Project Management at the University.



Peter H Christian

Peter played a key role in the 700% growth of Crayola over 17 years. His first book, “What About the Vermin Problem?” is now an Amazon bestseller.