12 January 2011

How to become an Event Manager: WHAT UNIVERSITY?

In the last post 'How to be an event manager' I explained how I wanted to set out and write about the events industry due to my interest and chosen course, today I start by explaining the key thing you should remember:

It isn't easy.

What I have learnt most through studying my course is that there is a lot to do and a lot to take into account. So many little things that need to be done before the next step is able to go ahead. There is one piece of advice that you will get from anyone who works in the industry, and bare in mind that I have been told this countless times, it that it isn't all fun.

If you are thinking of studying this at University or (if you can) at college ask yourself this simple question:

Can you give up your weekends?

Such a stupid question you may be saying, but most events are held during the summer period and at weekends when most people are not working. Obviously that depends on what area of the event industry you decide to go into, but this isn't a 9 to 5 job and you have to be ready to embrace that.

The event industry is now gaining in experience and standing out on its own, away from the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry. It is making money and people are seeing its value grow. There are more people looking to work in it, hence there are many universities that provide a degree in it, therefore experience is vital for you to stand out (this will be explained in a more detailed post in the future).

Now where should you apply to do event management?

This is a very important question and really in depends what you are looking for. I would firstly reccomend one that offers a sandwich course (usually 4 years) becuase this gives you a years work placement working for a company in the industy which not only provides great contact as well as developing your skills but in many cases people who do these get a job afterwards when they graduate.

I go to the University of Gloucestershire and the course is very practical, I can't not suggest it as a place to study. I find that as Event management is a practical job it is stupid to have to take lots of exams that test your ability to remember not you ability to do. This university is based in and around Cheltenham (split into four campuses), where there is the Cheltenham Lit Festival along with the Jazz, Science and Music festivals. The horse raceing at the Racecourse and then Greenbelt festival. There are lots of other stuff that happen throughout the year as well but these are the ones that made me pick this University. It is good to be in a place where events happen on a regular basis as it fantastic to volunteer and gain experience and keep updated with the event industry.

I thought that Bournemouth University had a fantastic event course, however their entry requirments are very high. I know a few people who study here and find it to be a fanatstic location as well as the teaching to be first rate. For obvious reasons I am unable to comment on the course but when I went to the open day they were very passionate about what they were taching andthe lecturers had a lot of experience on the industry. They were also very keen on getting their students out doing work experience.

Buckinghamshire New University was another one that I really likes, maybe not one of the most highly recognised Universities but the course seemed to be very practical. However you can't just do event management you have to specialise in one of three different areas: Event and Festival Management, Corporate Events and Conference Management, Music and Live Event Management . This means that you need to know what area you want to work in before you take the course.

The University of Greenwich is also a good university, however their course is much more buisness related and has a lot more exams and essays than the three above. Thats not to say it isn't very practical, London is a fantastic place to be for Event Management as there are a lot of companies based here and there are always events being held. I'm lucky as I live just outside London and for me it is easy to travel in from home therefore I didn't want to study so close to home.

I would say that picking a University isn't easy or a quick process. Don't pay to much attention to the list of University that the Times print or where each university sits in the leaderboard. Go to lots of open days and here each university talk about the course and what you will be doing. Think of what YOU are LOOKING FOR, do you want lectures who have a lot of practical experience, a location that holds plenty of events for you to get involved in.

It helps to talk to student who are currently at the university and studying the course. They will give you an honest opinion. UCAS tell you all of the universitys that provide Event Management as a course.

If you have any questions please either leave a comment below or email me @ caitlinkobrak@gmail.com

There will be a few more posts like these in the up and coming weeks. It has taken me longer to plan these than I though it would.


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