3 Good Reasons to Consider Higher Education in Product Management

If you are looking to specialize as a product manager during your management master’s degree course, you might just have chosen a highly prospective educational path. To make more sense of that claim, let’s dive straight into the very reasons that always make higher education in product management a good idea to consider first.

You Don’t Have to Take Time Off Work

Ever since Covid-19 broke out, attending fulltime courses has become a dangerous proposition, allowing for online education to truly usher in its new era of dominance. However, Merrimack’s product management program has been online for a long time now, and they were already offering accredited engineering management courses across multiple fields, long before the pandemic broke out. These are strictly online courses, designed specifically for professionals to become experts, so they are flexible enough to easily accommodate busy, full-time engineers and executives. As a result, you do not need to go on an extended study leave and lose out on the job experience in the process.

You Will Become a Highly Sought-After and Better Paid Professional

It is quite possible that you already enjoy such a position, but it’s not unless you complete your graduation in the subject that you truly begin to realize how much more your contributions to the company, and their consequent reparations made to you can be. For example, the average salary of a general product manager is roughly $97,108 per year, according to PayScale. Once you complete your MS in Product Management and assume a befitting role such as that of a senior product manager, the average salary gets a bump up to $125,000+ per year. Then there are even higher paid jobs as you slowly climb the ladder, all of it beginning with your decision to pursue higher education in product management.

Your Chances of Unemployment Will be Lowered Drastically

When an organization is looking for a product manager, they generally have a product in mind, but to the professional itself, the products always vary in degree and/or kind, with each different project. They can freelance, or they can work simultaneously with multiple departments of a large conglomerate. In other words, it’s never not busy when you are a product manager, and that’s a good thing, if secured employment is a priority to you. In a company, you could be handling the software development project, which will be running on the hardware being developed in another one of your projects. Of course, priority will be given to relevant experience, but that still makes the job of a product manager one of the most diverse executive roles in any industry.

It has been found that in comparison to a product which was developed without a product manager to guide it through its various stages of development, products developed with a product manager perform roughly 10 times better on an average! With such a quantifiable metric attributed to good product managers, it’s not even a surprise that highly qualified product managers are indeed some of the most valued management professionals in the industry today.

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3 Tips to Help You Stay on Track with Your Online Degree Program

These days, a great many students are turning away from the more traditional university setting and opting for an online degree program in order to pursue higher education. Among the variety of reasons for this trend is the fact that such a degree tends to be more affordable and that it is possible to earn a degree at your own pace. However, just because there are so many advantages to earning a degree in this manner, that doesn’t mean that doing so is the easiest thing that you will ever do.

Earning your degree online will present several challenges. Most notably will be that of trying to stay motivated throughout your degree program and learning how to be a self-starter in many ways. While the best degree programs offer students plenty of resources and support, it is still ultimately up to you to learn the material and earn the grades that you want.

If you are about to embark on the path to earning a degree online, here are three tips that should help you to stay on track:

1. Choose the Right School

When someone is interested in attending a four-year university in a more traditional capacity, they will take the time to tour university campuses and gather as much information as possible about the schools they are considering. This is because every university is different and unique. This same principle applies to online degree programs as well.

Instead of just signing up for the first online university that you come across, take the time to research your options and find the school that is right for you. Start by looking into the websites of all the schools that you are considering. Schools like Excelsior College (https://www.excelsior.edu/) will offer a great deal of information online to prospective students. Follow up by reaching out to admissions advisors with any questions that you have. By choosing the right school, you can preemptively set yourself up for success in your online education pursuits.

2. Create a Learning Space

One of the disadvantages to online education is that you don’t have the ability to head to the library or be in a classroom in order to get your work completed. The lack of a dedicated learning space can get in the way for many students. Before you start your degree, create the ideal learning space for yourself that is free from distractions. This should be where you seek to complete all of your coursework and listen to lectures without interruption throughout the semester.

3. Know Your Goals

It is crucial that every student who is looking to complete an online degree knows why they are pursuing higher education in the first place. Take some time to evaluate your motivations and lay out your goals. You might even find it helpful to write out your goals by hand so that you can always reference it whenever you feel that your motivation is lacking.

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Remote Work: 7 Tips for Managing a Larger Team

To compare the world today to what it was only a few months ago would be like comparing apples and oranges. It’s not the same place. Fortunately, businesses have found some workarounds in remote workforces, but that presents challenges of its own. Making matters worse, as a workforce grows, the problem is compounded.

What’s a leader to do? Several solutions, ranging from those made possible by technology, such as online notes, to those that are more visceral, such as balancing structure with flexibility are possible. Regardless, the goal is the same. What follows are a few suggestions for better managing a large team remotely.

Make Health and Wellness a Priority

Without a doubt, protecting your employees’ health and welfare must be a leader’s priority right now. After all, if employees aren’t taking care of themselves, they can’t focus on business. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

This is not to say that making sure someone else’s health is taken care of is easy. It can be hard enough to focus on your health, much less someone else’s.

Balance Structure and Flexibility

When people have structure in their lives, it’s easier to balance work and life. The way things are now, however, everything gets shuffled together, with very little structure. Despite this, structure does provide a sense of normalcy, easing anxiety.

While structure is important, business leaders also need to be flexible. For example, if you have employees who are homeschooling their children, you can’t expect them to drop everything so you can have a staff meeting. This isn’t easy, so find a middle ground.

Make Sure Employees Can Do Their Jobs

The pandemic has caught many businesses unprepared. In addition, although a March Gallup survey found that 55 percent of employees believe they are prepared to do their jobs, that leaves many who think they’re not. Employees can rectify this by ensuring employees have access to technology such as Evernote, Dropbox, Zoom, and other programs that create a virtual office anytime and anywhere.

Help Employees Overcome Distractions

It really can be difficult to work from a “virtual office” when there are distractions such as children and other elements of day-to-day life intruding in the background. Fortunately, following many time management tips could help a lot. Remember to automate, delegate, and outsource as much as you can.

Offer Incentives

Offering incentives can be an easy and simple way to make employees more productive and improve their mental health. Offering unexpected gift cards, extra vacation days, and shoutouts can work wonders for morale.

Don’t Let Communication Suffer

If there is anything that has an opportunity to suffer during this pandemic, it’s communications, including everything from meetings to watercooler chit-chats. It’s imperative, however, that employees be able to communicate regardless of the message. This means more than just enabling methods. It also means making sure everyone is available to everyone else.

Plan for a Post-Crisis Assessment

A recent survey showed that 41 percent of all working adults are afraid to go back to work. And, even if they weren’t afraid, they realize that things won’t be the same. There may even be incentives to stick with the new routine.

Regardless of what happens in the near future, employers not only need to adapt to the now, but prepare for life after the pandemic is over. Don’t be afraid to use metrics to gauge performance and ask lots of questions to do things better in the future.

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Cram Sessions Never Work: Do This instead If You Want to Pass Your CPA Exam

When it comes to studying for the CPA exam, nearly every candidate begins the process by promising themselves they will schedule their time and stick with that schedule to avoid having to cram at the last minute. Unfortunately, procrastination often kicks in along with other bad study habits and many people are left with lots to do before the exam date.

It’s no secret that cramming before any exam isn’t a good idea. It’s been tried and tested countless times, and it doesn’t work. As a CPA candidate, however, you have plenty of opportunities to avoid cramming, including cpa review courses that offer individualized help. What follows are a few ideas to help prevent the last-minute cram sessions.

Increase Your Motivation to Study

You would think that as prestigious as adding a designation like “CPA” to the end of your name almost anyone would have ample motivation to study hard, but it often doesn’t. In fact, after several years of college study and months more of exam study, sometimes basic motivation isn’t enough.

It’s kind of like the old saying, “When you have enough reasons, you can do incredible things.” When you find yourself flailing in your desire to study, think of something more like the prestige, money, and so many other benefits to eating your license.

Start Early

Another common cause of last-minute cramming is the lack of time before the exam. Many people wait until they have an actual exam date to start, but this is a mistake. Instead, start studying just as soon as you can.

Don’t Procrastinate

Of all the causes of cramming, procrastination probably ranks at or near the top. Many candidates swear they will study as soon as possible, but getting started is probably the hardest part. If you make it a point to get started, the chances are good the rest will be much easier.

Work on it Every Day

Many candidates believe that working hard on their exam preparations entitles them to a day off from time to time. This isn’t a very good approach. Instead, try to study every day. This approach not only will keep you studying but will make starting every day more natural.

Plan Everything Around Exam Day

Taking the CPA exam is a major event in any candidate’s life. What could be more natural than to schedule your time to reflect that fact? Instead, many candidates study on anything but a regular schedule. It’s little wonder they have to cram as the exam date gets closer.

A lack of planning and organization can leave a candidate very vulnerable to last-minute cramming. Instead, buy a calendar and a planner to schedule your study time, then stick with it like it was the most important thing in your life, because it is.

Don’t Be Busy, Be Productive

A lot of candidates make the mistake of believing that, if they are busy, they are being productive. Unfortunately, busy does not always mean particularly productive. There’s a difference. Anybody can be busy, but productive means you are learning the lessons well and seeing results for yourself.

Ditch the Cram Session

There are many great study techniques that will help anyone pass the CPA exam. The secret is to learn for yourself what works for you and to incorporate those techniques into a regular study schedule. Remember that all of these techniques are intertwined, so try to practice all of them together to get the best results.

Effective study habits will not only pay great results but will help you avoid the last-minute cram sessions. Yes, it is actually possible to pass the CPA exam without cramming.

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How parents can overcome problems they could often face at work

Raising a child when you also have to work can sometimes feel like another full-time job. Some parents fear that the responsibility of having a child and working full-time will lessen their opportunities for progression in the future, leading to financial and mental health issues. Others struggle with their physical wellbeing and are disengaged in the workplace. 

So, what can parents do to overcome the problems they could often face at work? More importantly, what can you (as their boss) do to help? Below, we explore four ways you can help your staff to manage parenthood and a fulfilling career at the same time.

Provide advice on financial and legal topics 

Being a parent is hard – you not only have yourself to look after, you also have one (or more) little people completely dependent on you and your life. As a result of this, financial worries such as budgeting, retirement planning, debts and mortgages may distract your employees from their work. 

Professional financial advice can help alleviate the stress that some parents may feel in regards to not being able to provide for their family. If a staff member is worried, you should arrange some professional advice and guidance – if you’re not in a position to give it yourself. 

Enquire about health and safety concerns 

Health and safety concerns can range from stress, anxiety and depression to substance abuse, gambling and domestic abuse.  Ensuring your employees aren’t in physical danger should be a top priority. If you ever suspect that a staff member is in a position that compromises their health and safety, choose a comfortable and appropriate moment to enquire and lend an open ear.

When you demonstrate that you care for their wellbeing and that you’re serious about how they can overcome their problems, they’ll feel more comfortable about approaching you with any issues they may face in the future. For staff to be happy at work, they need to be happy at home, too. 

Look into the technology that’s available

Problems at work can result in high absenteeism and loss in productivity, both of which have a devastating impact on business. So, what can be done to help tackle the issues parents are facing in and outside of work? Employee wellbeing solutions from LifeWorks could provide you with the answer.

 A modern, proactive Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) tailored to each individual is sure to relieve pressure that many parents are bound to feel. With an EAP based on mobile-first, consumer-based technology, it couldn’t be easier for staff to get in touch with a counsellor or read up on wellbeing information and advice.

Arrange regular teambuilding exercises and staff events 

Everyone needs a break from the stress of the working day! By arranging regular teambuilding exercises and staff events, you’ll be giving your employees opportunities to let their hair down and bond with the rest of the team. 

Just be sure to give enough notice so that childcare arrangements can be made. Parents deserve to have fun and experience some time to themselves, so regular teambuilding exercises and staff events make it easier for you to let this happen. 

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