Masters in Project Management or Masters in Organizational Leadership?

Is one degree generally better than the other?

Background: I’m switching careers and currently working in a program management role within local government.

Pros of Project Management Masters: It’s versatile, widely applicable across sectors, well-recognized, and undeniably a valuable skill set. Cons: The PMP certification can be obtained without needing a master’s degree. Does it really boost advancement opportunities in program management?

Pros of Organizational Leadership Masters: Offers extensive training in leadership skills, applicable in various fields, and focuses on people/leadership/management—areas I’m eager to improve. Cons: It might not be as well-known. Do future employers value this degree?

I’m on the fence and would love insights from those with more experience in these areas…

Nice job listing out the pros and cons!

Unfortunately I don’t think I can tell you which one is better because there are a lot of variables:

what do your org leaders value more? In my experience, the best way to gauge this is to simply look at the leaders in the roles you want. What sort of degrees do the majority of them have? This can be more insightful than asking.

what do you think you’ll enjoy more? Before I got my masters, a friend told me to pick the route I’d enjoy more bc getting a masters while working full time is difficult so you might as enjoy it

how much are you willing to pay / is ROI important to you or do you mainly want to climb the ladder?

On another note, do you think there is any correlation between being a career changer and having trouble finding mentors at work?

No judgment here (I changed careers quite a bit!) but in my experience, local government sometimes values tenure above all else. Also, sometimes I received judgment from others when they perceived that I was a career changer (“oh he’s not staying in here long, he just wants to move up”). I don’t think a masters in either will solve this - in fact it may exacerbate it, but you’ll certainly gain new skills as you mention.

Source: I’m an organizational psychologist (attained my masters in organizational psychology)

Thank you for this reply.

I’ve really thought a lot about your comment since I first read it. Ive written and rewritten a response at least 6 times as I’ve thought thru it.

The leaders I aspire to be like are nurses (and I’m not) but after thinking it all over, I think I would enjoy organizational leadership more.

I think the main reason I struggle to find a mentor is that the managers I admire are all very busy and don’t have the bandwidth to mentor semi-regularly. I also absolutely think the fact that im a career changer plays into some of this. Idk if they think I’m only here for a moment and I’ll be moving on, I think it’s more that I’m not a a traditional governmental employee. I am very open to new ideas and working collaboratively. All of my supervisors have admired and celebrated my creative problem solving and innovation in our program work. I think senior leadership WANTS to change that mentality in my department/branch and I think it’s partly why I got my job. That being said, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to move up.