George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

MBA Students Get Creative with Essay Competition

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George Mason MBA students in the MBA 715 Advanced Project and Program Management course had the opportunity to participate in a "Projects in the Mass Media" essay competition sponsored by Hundsun Global Services, the American subsidiary of China's leading provider of IT solutions to Chinese financial institutions. The $500 prize for the competition was split between two Mason MBA student winners, Corianne Pafford and Vince Root.

Pafford's essay "The Ocean's Eleven Project - An Analysis of the Role of Project Management in Criminal Activity" explores the project management tools and techniques used in the well known casino heist. "This paper offers a unique perspective on project management through an analysis of the project undertaken by a group of criminals in the movie Ocean's Eleven," writes Pafford. "People have engaged in projects long before project management was considered a strategic business priority."

In his essay "A Bridge Too Far from a Project Management Perspective," Root applied tools learned in class to a large scale project illustrated in a popular movie. "I chose the movie A Bridge Too Far, which tells the story of an unsuccessful Allied operation in World War II," says Root. "Using framework discussed in class, I analyzed this operation and identified areas where I felt that the Allied leadership could have applied program management principles to help better their chances of success."

The competition judges included Timothy Porter, the information systems and operations management professor instructing the course, and Rick Price, founder and managing director of Enterprise Success Services, PTE, Ltd.Price is a highly accomplished project manager having devoted his entire career to project management. He is also familiar with the MBA 715 class, having served as a guest lecturer earlier in the year.

"One of our goals is to enhance the quality of our course offerings and professional focus on project management," explains Porter. "The essay contest provides opportunities for our students to extend their knowledge through research into the application of project management practices and offers the university the opportunity of cooperation with industry."

Read Corianne Pafford's essay, "The Ocean's Eleven Project - An Analysis of the Role of Project Management in Criminal Activity."

Read Vince Root's essay, "A Bridge Too Far from a Project Management Perspective."