In January 2020 we undertook the first of two modules in the Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership.

What is the CMI Course?

This course is delivered by Queen’s University in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the only chartered professional body in the field of management and leadership and is an accredited award that recognises significant personal and professional development in strategic leadership. The course is designed to develop the high-level leadership and strategic management skills needed to lead with inspiration and translate organisational strategy into operational performance.

This qualification will open up the opportunity to progress to further qualifications such as the Level 7 Diploma or the Level 8 Certificate and also places us in a good position to progress to a charted manager status, the highest award you can achieve in the management profession. There are also several benefits associated with taking the course. After acceptance onto the course we were all granted membership of the CMI for the duration of the course and for 12 months after qualification. We also gained access to Management Direct during the course, an online service containing resources to help complete the assignment and engage in continuous professional development, and to the Career Development Centre which offers services online including CV building and reviews, interview simulations and self-development tests.

Module 1: Strategic Project Management

The first module that we took was Unit 712 Strategic Project Management. This consisted of a 2-day intensive workshop held in the Graduate School at QUB which the entire cohort attended in person. A further session was held the following week using the Bridge Online Learning Environment at Queen’s. This platform enables both physical and virtual attendance in the classroom which was key for students in Aberdeen to attend the class remotely. There was also an additional webinar, bringing the total guided learning hours for this module to 24hours.

The aim of this module was to undertake a strategic management project of our own choosing. Ideally this would be based on your own work to allow you to undertake study relevant to your own organisation whilst minimising the time spent away from your work. The 2 main learning outcomes were:

  • To know how to develop a strategic management project; and
  • To know how to conduct a strategic management project.

We were each assessed through the completion of a 4500-word report on the chosen project in which we developed a business case, proposed research design to inform the project direction and recommended project management methods and tools to structure the delivery of the project. On completion of the strategic management project we reported the project outcomes and reflected on the skills and behaviours that influenced the success of the strategic management project.

Benefits of the Course

I found various benefits from undertaking this module. It gave me a great opportunity to take an in-depth look at the vision of the QUADRAT DTP and NERC and helped me to define strategic project objectives that were specific, attainable and realistic. The tools and techniques introduced within the module were valuable in refining my project plan, particularly the MoSCoW prioritisation framework. It was also interesting to look at the key skills and behaviours for leaders such as authenticity, motivation, stress management and building relations with stakeholders and the various project management methodologies used to deliver strategic projects, such as the Critical Path Method and the PRiSM methodology. One message from the course facilitators that particularly stuck with me was to put focus on what is important rather than what is urgent, which is key to delivering the overarching strategic benefits of a project instead of just completing the project.

It was great to bring the cohort back together and catch up since we last met at the R-Course in December. I was glad of the opportunity to take the course as part of the cohort since we could work together and support each other. Some of the students based in Belfast were also able to meet up and talk about the assignment to make sure we were all pointing in the right direction which I found useful. It was nice to know that we were all in the same boat in doing the assignment and could bounce questions off one another when we encountered difficulties or got a wee bit confused.

Further information on the qualification is available at the following websites: