Is Project Management Experience Important for Designers?

I’m looking for some advice – a little what would you do in this situation……

I’m taking 3 classes/semester in the ID program at the local art college and I also work 40 hours/week as a design engineer/project manager at a big car company. It’s crazy enough being a full-time design engineer at my company, but to add ID school to that is driving me insane. I love each one of my classes, and I want to go to school full-time, but I have this little voice in my head saying that I’m being irresponsible and immature for wanting to go on educational leave from my job.

Every time I even think about my job I get this pit in my stomach. Everyone at work tells me that the experience I gain as an engineer will only help me as a designer and that’s why I have stayed at my job. But I am doubting if it’s really worth it. Most of my job is administrative. My parts are all designed and engineered by the supplier, so I’m responsible for managing the project – making sure everything is on time and done correctly. I really doubt if it’s worth the sacrifice I’m paying to my design education.

I know I could get so much more out of school if I could just focus on it like most of my classmates. I don’t want to fall behind. I’m worried that I’ll be tagged as the engineer who wants to be a designer rather than the stellar designer with engineering experience.

I guess I’m trying to figure out how much project management and administration do industrial designers do? Is project management experience important enough to sacrifice falling behind in an ID program?

Project management experience certainly can’t hurt, but to get the fullest out of your education, it might help to focus. You might see if you could cut your hour to part time.

Are you going to CCS?

Sorry for the slow response - been a bit busy lately.

Yep, I’m at CCS.

is it difficult to go to CCS part time?

2 of my guys are from CCS and I’ve worked with many CCS grads in the past and visited the school. It seems like a pretty rigorous program.