Confident Transition Into Corporate World Possible With PMP® – Sean Stewart, PMP, MS

Transitioning from military to corporate world can be unnerving and PMP helps you manage this better, says Sean Stewart“PMP® helped a smooth and confident transition into corporate world, said Sean after passing PMP® exam.

Sean Stewart has 21 years in the United States Air Force, holding the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt). Sean and his wife, Jamie, who is retired from Air Force, have two boys, ages 19 and 13. He has been in the IT world for the last 15 years and has a Master’s in Organizational Leadership for Columbia Southern University. Sean loves following his youngest around as he plays travel baseball and spending time traveling with his family.

What made you take up PMP® certification?

Sean Stewart talks about how PMP helped him transition from military into corporate worldThe decision to initiate the retirement process in the military is likely the most exciting and terrifying choice a service member will make career-wise.

The next question is, “What will I do after I get out?”.

For me, I wanted something challenging, but that would utilize the leadership and organizational skills I developed during my career.

I did consider obtaining an advanced IT certification like CISSP or CySA, then I looked at going for the a PHR since I was a First Sergeant for four years. Neither seemed liked the right fit.

While talking with a mentor, I noticed he had a PMP® certificate on his wall. He gave me some insight about the certificate and what having it could me for me and my future.

I then did some research, and I felt like the PMP® was the right course of action for me because as you progresses in rank in the military, you get farther away for the actual work and more inline with running projects which is what I’ve been doing for the last ten years.

What was the core benefit you expected from PMP® certification?

The primary benefit is it provides a verified starting point on my knowledge, skills and abilities when interacting with colleagues, customers and peers.

Well, first and foremost, it helped me land a great job with a great company. I also believe it will help open doors where I can keep growing professionally and personally.

Also read: How studying for PMP® exam helped Harpreet earn 2 more certifications!

Which study resources did you use for the exam preparation?

I went through 4-day boot camp hosted by Professional Management Training Institute.

Additionally, I had got Andrew Ramdayal’s book called PMP Exam Prep Simplified: Based on PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition (ad) before I attended the boot camp.

How did you approach the exam and what was your study plan?

I wasn’t quite ready for the exam right after and I still needed to complete my application. As luck would have it I was audited.

And I decided to use the unexpected break productively: so while working that I read through Ramdayal’s book twice.

After that, I would go back through the study materials provided by PMTI.

What were the challenges?

The biggest hurdle was being audited. It puts a break of a couple of weeks and involves the additional work of sending the documents to PMI as well.

Luckily, I had reliable folks who were able to get the required documents back to me quickly.

Along with that, like most people, was finding time to study was a challenge. As it usually happens too, the motivation to study was another. I can tend to procrastinate, but I think I work well under pressure. Thus the pressure of deadline worked in my favor and I was able to pick up the pace of exam preparation.

Also read: How PMP® helped Riley Fleshman transition from US Air Force into Corporate world

What was your approach to study during the week prior?

The week of the exam, I worked the chapter tests in Ramdayal’s book. Next, I completed the online practice test modules on PMTI’s website.

The test modules were awesome because they were timed, helping me learn to manage my time in preparation for the real test.

Just studying for the exam through books and courses isn’t enough. The exam is all about managing time while answering questions quickly and consistently.

Thus it is crucial to take practice tests to practice time management on the exam. Of course the mock tests are useful to identify which processes or concepts need to be brushed up.

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What was your exam experience like?

The test center was located in North Macon at a business office building. The test office was a secured room with cubicles that are monitored by a proctor sitting by a large glass window. The support staff was exceptional, very friendly while being professional.

As for the test, all I can say is that it was a beast.

I felt like I was for sure going to fail by the time I was halfway through!. There was verbiage in the questions I hadn’t seen before in any of the tests I used to prepare, so I was taking extra time to ensure I was reading the questions correctly.

I would say large portion of my questions dealt with risk and communication, which makes sense with the direction the PMBOK 7th edition will be going.

As far as my approach for taking the test, I planned for a break. I took ten-minute break and finished up the rest.

If I remember right, I had about 25-30 minutes left on the clock when I was done.

Also read: Use this ‘FAST-M’ method to confidently prepare for PMP® exam

Any specific study tips for PMP® aspirants?

Yes, I discovered few pointers along the way, which I think will be useful for those preparing for their test.

  • First, if it has been a long time since you studied for anything, take a study and test taking skills class.
  • Then figure out what works for you: flashcards, audio books, reading, online course etc., or even a combination of these.
  • Build a study schedule and stick to it. I know that life happens, when that happens just rework your schedule and go with it.
  • Utilize different sources to learn the same information, each boot camp, program or book will have their own nuances, so using different ones will help expose you to different methodologies, verbiage, etc.

I hope this helps!

Sean Stewart, PMP

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