How to Build a Career in Event Management

Akriti AroraEvent Management

Trends witnessed in event management

Event management industry, growing at 12% CAGR globally for the last two years is expected to continue causing disruption in the coming times. While few argue that the industry is now stagnated, trends indicate otherwise with all the technological innovations in event management. For instance, studies show that global event management software market will touch $14 billion by 2022. The opportunity yet to be explored is humongous and offers high returns. While the struggle to earn a good name in the industry is real, you must not forget that if you’ve got a knack for it then, sky is the limit!

Reflecting on things that matter

While a career in event management seems lucrative, it is important to step back and understand the factors that play an important role to succeed in this field. The three most crucial things to consider before jumping right in are:

  1. Personality traits – The nature of the work is such that it requires regular client interactions with an emphasis on understanding the client needs to be able to deliver quality output. Suggested personality traits include being an extrovert, a go-getter, a problem solver, a good listener and offering creative insights. It should also be noted that event management requires managing different stakeholders and various aspects of an event, and hence you need to be a good manager to pursue this field. These traits don’t come naturally to everyone, but the good news is that these can be learnt with practice!                                                                                                                                                                               
  2. Team – Team plays a significant role in any organisation, as the outcome of work reflects the effort that went into it. Event management can be stressful at times as awareness amongst enthusiasts is high and they have an expectation of the experience they are willing to be a part of. Therefore, it is important that the team organising events is highly organised, complements the skills of the team members, can think of last minute creative solutions to fix a problem, and works as a whole.                                                                                                                                                                                  
  3. Scope of Work – Event management is a vast field and as a starting point, it is very critical for a person to define the scope of work. Answering these questions should be helpful – What is the long term plan? Do I want to be involved in managing the event end-to-end? Do I want to outsource bits of it or keep everything in-house? Do I want it to be tech heavy or should everything be offline? What segment do I want to target – wedding, art enthusiasts, marathon runners, conferences etc.? The segments vary in the nature of work involved, for instance, some events may require registrations while others may just involve a family get-together. Depending on your interest, you should begin with one segment and then diversify over a period of time. This will help you to be the experts in your field and to earn goodwill in the industry!

It is essential for anyone entering this field to have these steps charted out. This will not only help a person to know his/her end goal but also give an idea of how much work needs to be done before getting started.

Getting started

Once the scope of the work is clear, next step is to figure out the best way to get started. Whether it makes more sense to enter this career as a student (to know the industry inside out) or to jump right in and either work for an existing event management company or start one of your own. While this is a personal choice, one should always consider both options before settling for one!

  1. Education: With the rise in the demand for a career in event management, increasing number of colleges are now offering degree courses in event management and planning globally. While the size of the events market is the largest in North America, emerging markets have portrayed a high growth trend as well. And thus, there are different event management courses being offered all over the world such as Diploma in Event Management, Post Grad in Event Management and Public Relations etc. For those who want to keep their options open can also opt for Msc in Management or International Management as it will give an overall understanding of running a business. Other good option is to enrol for an online course as it will give you the time to learn at your own pace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  2. Experience: While some prefer to know the theory before practice, few dive right in the field and learn while doing. One way could be to intern with an event management company to get an understanding of managing events from different perspectives. Volunteering for event planning and management for social causes is another idea to get end to end understanding of managing events. Having an experience with an event management company prior to starting your own will give you insights of the industry and help you build a network. According to a report by Reuters, the Asia Pacific market (specifically China, India and Indonesia) is forecasted to grow at 18% CAGR meaning that even emerging markets will continue to offer numerous event management job opportunities if you are interested in pursuing a career in this field.  

While both the options have their own pros and cons, it isn’t necessary to settle with only one. If you want the best of both worlds, you can enrol for a course (online or physical) and intern/volunteer with an event management company simultaneously. This will help you put your knowledge in practice and prepare you to start your own company!

Putting it all together

There is no better feeling than being your own boss! Once you know you are prepared to start your own event management company and have defined your scope of work, start with budgeting and then raising the required investment; choosing the right team members with a focus on marketing and PR experts along with individuals good at business development and relationship building; choose the right events because the work you do will speak for your capabilities and will be the best way to get more clients in the future; decide if you’d like to organise everything in-house or if you’d outsource some of your work; and finally partner with a reputed event registration and ticketing partner if you are organising a ticketed event because you want the end users to have a seamless experience by participating in your event.