When embarking on my adventure at University as an 18-year-old student, I often questioned … Will this degree prepare me for the real world working in the events industry? Even today, people ask if I required a degree qualification to get to where I am, and the simple answer is…it has definitely helped! However, I am the first to admit that although my university degree in Events Management laid the foundations for my career, there is so much more I have learnt on the job and so many skills I have developed from literally being thrown into the deep end!
Of course, much of university study is about the theory and my studies certainly covered a wide range of useful and relevant topics. Event operations was one topic that pops to mind, and I developed an event proposal for The Body Shop to host a high-profile product launch, including a contingency plan. This was a great theory-based assignment but of course there was no contact with the client, venue or suppliers. When I think now about how important it is to keep our clients’ objectives at the centre of everything we plan and how closely we have to work with suppliers, it makes me reflect on how restricted my practical knowledge was when joining Ulterior Events.
When taking on my first UK conference event with Ulterior, I found myself picking up the phone not once, not twice but several times a day on the lead up to the event to ensure I was gathering all of the relevant information from the venue and suppliers, in order to meet my clients requirements. Although my number was becoming familiar to my contacts, Ulterior has taught me that no question is ever too small or invalid to ask, it is better to be certain!
Another aspect of operating in the real world of events that I hadn’t quite realised before joining Ulterior is just how stressful and fast changing events and the lead up to them can be. Studying the Project Management module at university was very interesting and logical but we all know that arrangements don’t always go according to plan and the first time I had to deal with such a scenario I understood that although I could draw on some of the theoretical aspects of my learning, for the most part, I had to simply roll up my sleeves, keep a calm head and just get on with the job! This was something I experienced at an event we organised and managed in Berlin.
Due to adverse weather conditions and cancelled flights, the guests were unable to travel until the next day. With tight time restrictions and budget, we were able to find accommodation for all guests very late in the evening as well as coach transfers from the airport. I loved the buzz of our teamwork whilst we managed this mini crisis effectively, the most important element being that the client was continually updated and happy with the changes implemented.
After almost 3 years of working at Ulterior I now know that to be part of a successful events team you have to be a total professional with the clients’ needs at the centre of everything you do but to also have a great sense of humour and a positive approach to every aspect of your events . Working with our small and very close team at Ulterior really motivates me to do an outstanding job and the experience I have gained from this is immeasurable. In fact, there are so many dimensions to the events industry that on reflection I really don’t think it is possible to learn about it all in a university lecture or classroom. I really did love studying for my Events Management degree and I am so pleased that it gave me a springboard from which to start my career, but experience is definitely the best teacher!
Written by Ellie Frowd