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Developing the resilient project professional: examining the student experience

Michelle Turner (PCPM, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Christina Scott-Young (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Sarah Holdsworth (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 8 November 2018

Issue publication date: 8 October 2019




Resilience development during university can increase the likelihood of positive employment outcomes for project management graduates in what is known as a stressful profession where the prevalence of project failure, job insecurity, and burnout is high. However, a focus on student resilience in project management education is scarce. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by establishing a baseline profile of resilience for project management students, identifying priority areas of resilience development and exploring the relationship between resilience and well-being.


In total, 292 Australian students undertaking project management studies completed a survey comprising of the Resilience at University scale, the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and an item assessing sleep adequacy.


A resilience profile for undergraduate, postgraduate, male and female project management students was calculated. The resilience profile identified differences according to gender, and between undergraduate and postgraduate students. Mental well-being and adequate sleep were found to be significantly related to resilience.

Practical implications

Findings support the call for a greater emphasis on resilience development in the project management curriculum for undergraduates and postgraduates. One priority area likely to facilitate resilience is the ability to maintain perspective. As well as supporting academic achievement, it will assist graduates to navigate through complex, uncertain and challenging project environments.


This is the first known study of resilience for students undertaking project management studies in higher education.



Turner, M., Scott-Young, C. and Holdsworth, S. (2019), "Developing the resilient project professional: examining the student experience", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 716-729.



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