How to become Project Manager

I’m a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering student and I’m on my way to get my bachelor degree. The role that I hope to cover is the figure of the project manager and the yacht consultant and this is the reason of my post, I hope to find someone with more experience than me and maybe that had my similar doubts and path that can clear my mind. I know that those are roles in which is requested so much experience, so based on that I have some doubts to how reach my goal. My main question is about what I have to looking for as a recent graduate, in particular of what kind of job offers I have to consider in terms of usefulness for my career. Then I want to know how the training process works, because as a fresh graduate without experience I suppose that I don’t have all the knowledge for cover the PM role at the beginning. The last thing is about the fact if the bachelor degree is enough or not to start this journey. Thanks.

It sounds like you are more interested in the yacht sector rather than commercial shipping so I would suggest contacting the larger shipyards that work on megayachts. Rybovich in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Derecktor in Fort Lauderdale are best bet on east coast.

You might contact Delta (yacht builder and yard) in Seattle, or Marine Group in San Diego.

Good luck, it is interesting and rewarding work.

What country and nav arch school? I think you’ll find commercial is better then yacht sector, but follow what you like. Look into getting your CAPM or PMP certification from PMI. I’ve worked as a PM in the commercial small passenger vessel industry if you have any questions. Similar to yachts, but surprisingly very different in the way things are done.

I’m studying at the University of Genoa in Italy at the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering faculty. I like both sector but my passion is about the yacht field. I’d like to know how you started your path after the degree and how you reached the knowledge for cover the PM role. Thanks for your time!!

I’ll message you about it in a bit.

Thank you so much! I’ll wait

You are in the heart of the large yacht industry. There are large yards all the way from La Ciotat to Livorno that specialize in yacht work along with the many builders. Amico in Genoa is just down the street from you, have you talked to them?

Another route is to apply to the larger yacht management firms for a position in their technical department.

Without yacht industry specific experience such as master or chief engineer on a large yacht plus a great deal of refit experience the barrier is high.

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Talk to Giorgio Campini in Viareggio. He does a lot of projects. His brother runs the family yacht winch factory in Genoa.

What Steamer writes is absolutely correct. To be a project manager for yachts or ships you will need relevant experience but it never hurts to get started someplace.

There’s a good bunch over in Trieste too.

Thing is Italy is doing great on yacht orders but the cruise shipbuilding sector is screwed. Alternative can be a class society … plenty of options internationally

Two of them:

I think you better try small builders in Liguria and Tuscany
there are many and of top level.
Sadly the pandemic will shrank the leisure market - just my guess -
Or you can try the market:

Ironically my local newspaper had an article today, talking about Barcelona becoming a hub for the repair and maintenance of super yachts. It mentioned a facility, MB92 as being one of the major players.

Megayacht yard business has been booming in the Med and there are no signs of it slowing down. Existing yards in places like Palma, La Ciotat, Barcelona and the Italian Riviera are doing great business and have expanded like crazy.

My company has done projects at beautiful yards in Palma, Marseille, La Ciotat, Livorno, Viareggio, Carrara, and Genoa. All of them specialize in refits of very large yachts and have facilities that make most American yards look like 1950s steel mills.

This is so true, with a few exceptions so many look like they haven’t had any investment for new equipment or processes in decades.

Take a look at what an Italian yard provides: Crew Services - Village - The Italian Sea Group- Luxury Super Yacht

Rybovich in West Palm Beach is close but lacks the European elegance.

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Italian Sea Group = lavanderia

While I have no experience with project management in the Marine Industry I have 35+ years with a Fortune 20 telecom firm which heavily adopted the “you need a project manager for everything” school of thought in my final half dozen years.

In that time I worked with good, bad and mediocre project managers.

  • The good ones shared what they expected to accomplish on a conference call in advance so all parties were prepared for the call.

  • Attempted to schedule calls at times that worked for the majority of those involved when people hopefully are at their best, not getting them out of bed because they were scheduling for a time zone 6 hours away, or at the end of the day expecting people to stay beyond even the extended hours that many jobs call for today.

  • Be consistent in call scheduling, same day, time and duration (30 minutes, hour. whatever) for the duration of the project so people can plug it into their schedules and be prepared for the meetings.

  • They limited the call attendees to the ones that really needed to be there and can contribute effectively to the project.

  • They were familiar with the technology involved and how it needed to interact to meet the final goal on the big picture level. The nitty gritty details are what you have the meeting attendees for.

  • After each call provide a summary with contact information for the different piece parts.

  • The bad project managers lacked knowledge of the project.

  • Were often late themselves for meetings, usually on the pretense that a previous call ran over…give yourself breather time (16 minutes) between calls.

  • Made no effort to control who joined the call.

  • Essentially acted as a traffic cop working their way thru the call roster with few if any questions to the participants.

  • If your comm system allows it password project the call in process (secure password, not the last 4 digits of the call in number). Unprotected access is a great way to have proprietary information get loose in the wild.

  • Did not provide post call summary and contact info.

The mediocre Project Managers fell in between the good and the bad. Maybe handled some items I list as good points but mixed in enough bad points to confuse the scenario.

Wrote this on the fly, but as I read it I’m thinking it can be expanded and probably cleaned up a bit. Hopefully folks can find some reasonable ideas in the mix.

Hope everyone has a calmer and more productive year than the craziness of the last two.

In my experience the best project managers had some hands on experience, were great at logistics, contract negotiations and were very clear communicators. They also were on the project site once it commenced as much as possible. It is not an 8 hour day job. Lot of stress but very rewarding personally and financially if performed properly.