New PMP® Exam Starting on July 1, 2020

Starting on July 1, 2020, the new PMP® exam will focus on three domains (people, process and business environment) instead of process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing).

As part of the people domain, expect to see questions that will emphasize the skills and activities that project managers must perform to effectively manage projects. The process domain will reinforce the technical elements of managing projects. The business environment will highlight the connection between projects and organization strategy.

Questions will not just cover predictive (traditional) project management approaches but adaptive (agile) and hybrid techniques as well. Expect to see roughly 50% predictive and 50% adaptive questions.

Brain Sensei’s materials and practice questions have been updated to align with these new changes.

Is it better to get an MBA degree or a PMP® credential?

PayScale (2019) reported that those with an MBA earn an average annual salary of $87K.

Neuvoo (2019) listed that experienced MBAs earn $84K.

Similarly, the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicted that the average starting salary for MBA Class of 2019 at $85K.

Obviously, there are several factors that can impact the average salary. MBAs working in HR are on the low end and those in strategy are on the high end.

Gender, industry, location and the school also play a factor. In general, for comparison purposes, let’s peg the average annual salary between $84K and $87K.

Interestingly enough, the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® Salary Survey (2017) listed the median annual salary for project managers in the US at $112K. Those with 3-5 years of experience make $85K.

One Key Distinction

From that perspective, an MBA degree and a Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential are roughly equal, EXCEPT for one key distinction.

Consider the huge discrepancy for the time and financial commitment (tuition, board and lost income) of earning an MBA which can run almost a quarter of a million dollars (yes, you read that correctly) vs. $1K+ and couple of weeks to prepare and earn the PMP credential.

MBA = $40K tuition + $20K room, board and textbooks + $60K of lost income = $120K, multiply that by two years = $240K

PMP = $500 to $1,000 for a PMP exam prep course + $550 exam fee = $1K+

Which one has a better ROI?

Even for project managers without the PMP credential, the average income is $92K. With a PMP credential, it’s $115K.

The PMP credential requires three years of experience working in projects. Given that the average age for those starting an MBA is 28, they likely have at least three years of work experience.

So, what gives?


An MBA is a degree and a PMP is professional certification. So, it’s really hard to compare them. Also, an MBA can open doors for specialized areas such as investment banking where one can earn up to $1M or more. It can also break the invisible executive ceiling.

On the other hand, project managers get to manage key initiatives and strategic projects. Deliver them on time and within budget, and one can expect guaranteed visibility across the organization. Plus, they get the opportunity to work on the “entire” business because projects require integration with scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement and stakeholders.

For those who are thinking about getting an MBA, have they considered these factors?

If someone already has an MBA, why not add a PMP credential to it? Why can’t they have both?

Thoughts? Pros and cons? Agree or disagree?

Let’s have an honest, open and respectful conversation.

Oh, and check out our Complete PMP® Exam Prep Course. It’s unique, entertaining and highly effective … and you can do it anytime, anywhere.

PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition

As an online course innovator in helping our clients prepare for the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential, Brain Sensei is the first and only PMI Registered Education Provider (REP) to use the story of a samurai in ancient Japan to teach project management concepts.

Aligned with our tradition of leading edge innovation, we are also the first training provider to include two important topics as part of our updated Complete PMP® Exam Prep Course (PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition): Project Management for Sponsors and Stakeholders, and Agile Practice Guide.

Here are the list of updates from the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition to the Sixth Edition. The general concepts of process groups and knowledge areas stayed the same.

  • Added new modules
    • Project Management for Sponsors and Stakeholders
    • Agile Practice Guide
  • Added new processes
    • Manage Project Knowledge as part of Project Integration Management
    • Control Resources as part of Project Resource Management
    • Implement Risk Responses as part of Project Risk Management
  • Renamed knowledge areas
    • Project Time Management to Project Schedule Management
    • Project Human Resource Management to Project Resource Management
  • Renamed processes
    • Perform Quality Assurance process to Manage Quality
    • Plan Human Resource Management to Plan Resource Management
    • Acquire Project Team to Acquire Resources
    • Develop Project Team to Develop Team
    • Manage Project Team to Manage Team
    • Control Communications to Monitor Communications
    • Control Risks to Monitor Risks
    • Control Stakeholder Engagement to Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
  • Moved a process
    • Estimate Activity Resources from Project Time Management to Project Resource Management knowledge area
  • Removed a process
    • Close Procurements