Assessment of Going Back to School September 29, 2012 INTRODUCTION Risk is anything that can derail plans and keep a goal or mission from being accomplished. “Risk management is a discipline for identifying risks, assessing how serious or severe the risks are, and determining ways to address that uncertain future with a goal of avoiding or minimizing harm and financial losses” (Risk and Risk Management). Project management uses many tools to help with risk management but it’s also important to use risk management when making big life decisions, like making the decision to go back to school.
There are many risks associated with going back to school that need to be considered. The need of further education and the investment of going back to school need to be considered. Not only that, but determining which school to go to and whether or not the degree will be beneficial after graduation need to be assessed. In this paper, we will explore the process of making the decision to go back to school and the risk management process associated with the decision. RISK ASSESSMENT OF GOING BACK TO SCHOOL
The first step to risk management is to determine the risks, or risk identification. There are numerous methods to determining risks associated with any project or decision. The methods can be broken down into researching historical projects, brainstorming, and interviewing others who have been involved in similar projects or decisions. In this particular decision to go back to school, I had a brainstorming session and also interviewed a couple of people who have been in similar situations to get their feedback and what happened for them.
After the research and brainstorming session, I was able to identify four main risks: need, investment, school, and beneficial program (Cooper, D. F. , Grey, S. , Raymond, G. , & Walker, P. , 2005). Risk Analysis The first risk identified in making the decision to go back to school is the need of further education. I made a list of pros and cons of where my career was at this point in my life. I also analyzed the pros and cons of continuing on the same path. After analyzing these lists, I determined that the path I was on was unacceptable and the need for going back to school became the first risk identified.
Analyzing the data further, the need became a high risk. I didn’t want to continue on the path I was on and it was unacceptable to try to start over again in the area of my undergraduate studies. Because I determined the need for a change, the need to go back to school became a high risk because without furthering my education I wouldn’t be able to change careers and advance in a career that I would be satisfied with. The second risk identified was investment. This is looking at the time and financial investment in going back to school.
The financial investment was a low risk because my company has a tuition assistance benefit for all eligible employees. This means that I wouldn’t be paying as much to further my education and made it an affordable option for me. This made the financial investment risk low. The second part of the investment is time. I am not a patient person so I had to determine whether or not the time spent on being in school would be worth it. This was a medium risk mostly because of my lack of patience. I knew that going back to school was going to be time consuming and I haven’t been in school for almost 5 years.
I knew I would not be able to spend as much time doing what I wanted to do and that it would be even more difficult because I would be working full-time. I also know that when I make the decision to do something that I want it that second. The time investment is a medium risk because I have to continuous remind myself the benefits of the education and that it is worth the time I am giving. The third risk was determining the school to attend, which goes along with determining a program of study and a career path. Based on previous experience, I had not been successful in my original choice of career paths.
This made it very difficult to determine a school and program and made this risk a high risk. I didn’t want to make a decision that I would find out wouldn’t make me happy. This made the decision of going back to school the hardest decision because I had to decide what I wanted to do. I used previous experiences and interviewing people in similar situations very important for gathering information to analyze this risk. Based on discussions with other people and researching potential career paths, I made the decision on a program.
I then needed to determine which school would be the best school for me to attend. This was paired up with the financial investment and because of being able to have 100% of my tuition covered to attend Keller; I made the decision that Keller was the school for me and offered a program of study that would help me. The last risk was benefits of going back to school. This was a medium risk because I have already attended school and received my undergraduate degree. This was supposed to help me enter into a career that I would be happy and successful in but that’s not what happened.
I found out that the zoo industry was not the right place for me but I also learned that I enjoyed working on projects and having hands on work with minor supervision. I used my previous experiences and research in potential careers to make the decision that going back to school would be best for me. Risk Monitoring Risk monitoring is a very important aspect of risk management. Monitoring risks ensures that a project is completed successfully. Monitoring risks and being able to make minor changes to prevent risks ensures that a project is completed on time, within budget, and without changing the scope.
The ultimate failure of risk monitoring would be project termination (Cooper, D. F. , Grey, S. , Raymond, G. , & Walker, P. , 2005). I am currently in the continuous monitoring phase of the decision to go back to school. I am monitoring the need of going back to school. I am always researching and reviewing the job boards and prospective entry level careers. I am assessing what is available and how it is changing. I am looking to see if I can enter into a career I would be happy and successful with given my current education and skills.
If I can find an entry position and be hired with my given skill set, the need to go to school would no longer be there and I would end my education advancement before completing the degree. Monitoring the investment risk is a little trickier. I have many other activities that I would rather be doing besides studying. I have responsibilities and then activities for fun. I need to constantly plan and analyze my time and determine which activities I can fit into my schedule and still be successful in school.
This is more difficult because of my lack of patience and wanting to school to be done now. I find myself wanting to spend more time doing things I enjoy rather than investing in school. This is another reason why this is a medium level risk. Selecting the school and program is being monitored through the research and constant review of career prospects. I am monitoring the industry that I will be trying to gain entry and advance in once I have graduated and constantly making sure there is ample opportunity for when I graduate.
If the opportunities available decline, then I would need to make a change in my program to ensure that the education will be beneficial. I am also monitoring the school. The school holds a current and active accreditation but it is also under review to maintain the accreditation. If the school loses accreditation, then I will be forced to find another school that has a similar program that is accredited and will fit into my schedule. Lastly, I am monitoring the benefits of the education. I am constantly networking with individuals that are in the career field that I am looking to advance into.
I am talking about the skills and knowledge I am gaining to make sure that I am learning the necessary skills to enter and advance in the career. I am networking with individuals to ensure that there is opportunity and that the decision of going back to school isn’t a waste of my resources. If I were to find out that the skills and knowledge I am gaining are not applicable to the career field, then I would need to make changes to my decision to do what is going to be most beneficial for me. CONCLUSION Risk management is important, not only to project management, but major life decisions.
It is important to identify and analyze the level of risks associated with the given decision or project. This gives the project manager or decision maker the information needed to make the right steps to completing the decision or project. Monitoring risks throughout the decision process or project is imperative to ensuring that the end results are the expected results. Without risk management, projects and decision would be more chaotic because no one would have any plan in place and decisions would be made without knowledge and be made hastily.
This would result in less successful projects and more poor decisions being made. Risk management is a great tool to use to ensure success. WORKS CITED Cooper, D. F. , Grey, S. , Raymond, G. , & Walker, P. (2005). Project Risk Management Guidelines: Managing Risks in Large Projects and Complex Procurements. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Risk and Risk Management . (2012). In Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Retrieved September 29, 2012, from http://nonprofitrisk. org/advice/faqs/risk-management2. shtml