It’s difficult to keep going forward in an unpredictable environment without anticipating the future. It’s tough to manage tasks and study at the same time when you’re living in unfavourable conditions. Despite the challenges, Nway Nway became the first person from the Myanmar Project Management Center (MPC) to pass the new format of the Project Management Professional Certification Exam.
Nway Nway’s dream and her academic journey weren’t set out to be where she is right now. Her career goals as a kid were to become either an architect or a civil engineer because she enjoys drawing. However, her matriculation exam results fall right below the standards which led her to pursue industrial chemistry instead.
The journey toward becoming a project manager profession required a willingness to learn and creative thinking. Nway Nway hasn’t stopped learning since she began working. As a first experience, she had an opportunity to work an internship at her sister’s company right after the last examination of the final year. There, she learned how to manage documents, and when the sales admin left, she took part in the sales and marketing department. It was her first exposure to the business world, as her academic degree didn’t match with the work she does.
“Unlike others, I didn’t learn business at university and get to work smoothly. Rather, it was the opposite way. I got exposed to work first and learn academically later. I attended a diploma in business studies [after I started my internship], and I started to understand fundamental basics. Due to the work, I got more familiar with financial terminologies, and it makes my studies easier. I also tried to relate lessons with the works and I understood more business-related concepts.”
Nway Nway was later recruited for the finance department at the partnered company. Although she knew nothing about finance and economics, her willingness to learn helped her adapt to the work environment. After 6 years working in her sisters’ companies, she received an opportunity to work at the B2B department at Ooredoo Telecoms in 2014, and now as a strategic project manager.
Although it was a great opportunity for her, it was also a struggle. A new position means new aspects of business-related content. Seeing her colleagues working proficiently due to their academic background made her ambitious to study more about the department. Therefore, she knew she needed certification or MBA to help her career prospects.
“Honestly, I have never heard of PMP. One of my colleagues was PMP certified, and she told me about PMP programs. Since I am in this project sector, I needed to become at least a PMP. I was not able to attend eMBA in the evening during that time, so I decided to take the program offered at MPC. I wanted to attend something I can apply in the work field and would help me with my career development, so the program was perfect for me. I was able to link the things I learned in the work field and the lessons I was learning in the courses. [As a strategic project manager], I learned that I always have to be in a constant learning environment.”
It’s not simple to study and work at the same time, and it requires a lot of time management skills and the ability to focus. Nway Nway likes to be up to date with the news, so it is often difficult to concentrate on work. However, she finds a quiet place to study and work to stay away from distractions.
“ I give a specific time to study so that my daily activities are proportioned and well balanced. When it is time to study, I drop everything, forget all my tasks, and try my best to focus. I told myself that ‘I have to do it within this time!’ to help me focus. I also reduced my sleeping and leisure time in exchange for studying. But of course, there are exceptions. My work hours sometimes reach 8 to 9 pm and on those days, I didn’t study because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my studies anyway.”
One of Nway Nway’s favorite tips is to incorporate leisure time with studying. She enjoys watching movies, but when she has to study, she substitutes with PMP examination YouTube videos instead. Therefore, she studies a lot in a relaxing atmosphere while keeping her learning mind active.
Changing to a completely new work environment was not easy at all. Nway Nway struggled the first couple of days she joined Ooredoo. In comparison to her past jobs, it was an entirely different working atmosphere, because Ooredoo was still a start-up when she joined.
‘The only experience I had was joining the company that was already up and running, so the moment I sat down, I knew exactly what to do. However, at Ooredoo, since it was a start-up company, I didn’t know where to start or what to do. I am the type of person who likes to be determined and who also needs to have worked at all times.’
Instead of giving up and quitting the job, she seeks help from her colleagues and recruiters. She learned how to think creatively and build up her ideas and plans into actions. Nway Nway’s favourite thing about her work life is thinking creatively and innovatively.
Nway Nway has met mentors that changed her perspective, and because of them, she learned how to think creatively and express them confidently through communication. Being Strategic Project Manager requires thinking outside of the box, and Nway Nway enjoys watching her ideas and creations being implemented in the work field. Even if it is a small part of her contribution, she enjoys seeing her work used in projects. Additionally, she has an interest in innovations and anything that will motivate her to be creative.
“In my free time, I enjoy listening to news and being aware of other countries. Especially with business, technology, and innovation-relatedway news. I believe that our country’s future is bright, and we can learn from other countries as a guide to improve our country. On the other hand, I really like drawing although I am not talented at it. I love watching supernatural movies and taking pictures of the scenery and my friends during my travels”
Nway Nway’s love of innovation influences hopes and dreams of the future as well. She wants to see Myanmar developed along with other countries.
“ I don’t want our country to fall behind other countries and I don’t want future generations to grow up similar to our generation. In a way, I am grateful to help the country through my telecom job. As for myself, I want to volunteer to support children in need one day in the future.”
Nway Nway is always looking forward to improving herself. Whether it’s a habit, knowledge, or skills, she will continue to constantly learn to pass through future barriers.