Why Events Management is more than just a party planning degree

What do Paris Fashion Week, the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, Glastonbury Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival all have in common? They all require a large amount of planning, organisation, and event management. Despite this, there is a common misconception that Events Management is a party planning degree and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.  But this is far from the truth.

Any event, whether it is a small-scale community festival or a large-scale mega event, needs an adequate amount of planning in order for it to be successful. While many of the attributes of a good events manager – such as organisation and attention to detail – are transferable skills which can be learned and developed through any degree course and on the job itself, the core foundations need to be in place before you embark on your event, otherwise it’s likely to fail. Although most event managers will have a team of people in different roles, they need to be flexible and adapt to any role and situation at any given time, and an Events Management degree will help you develop the skills to be able to do this.

So what can you expect to learn in an Events Management programme? These are some of the more common modules most universities will offer for the course:

Event Operations Management

To be a successful event manager, you must have an understanding of the operations which will be ongoing throughout your event. During the planning stages, it is imperative that you have an understanding of licensing and legislative compliance with regards to your venue, health and safety regulations, and potential risks and hazards – failure to comply with these can lead to cancellation of your event before it even begins! Additionally, you need an awareness of the supply chain and different people and organisations involved in your event, so that you know who and where to go to in the event of any potential issues.

Strategic Financial Management

As an events manager, it is vital for you to have an understanding of the financial and budgetary requirements and implications of your event. An aptitude for numbers is not required, however; in most events you will have a person responsible for looking after the accounts. But you do need to know how to implement strategies which will be cost-effective, so knowledge and understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the internal and external environment is essential in order to be able to do this effectively.

Human Resource and Volunteer Management

Events managers are responsible for teams of both permanent and temporary employees. Human Resource Management will equip you with the specific qualities you need to manage a successful and enthusiastic team, and will show you ways in which your employment strategies can be aligned with the company’s overall strategy in order to create a competitive advantage. Volunteers and temporary staff make up a huge part of the event industry, therefore you will also learn about volunteer motivation and retention to ensure your event is a success.

Marketing and Communications

Knowing how to market your event is crucial if you want it to be successful. You must be able to devise and implement a strategic communications plan which identifies all stakeholders and the different messages they should be receiving, including the format and frequency of these messages. You will learn how to monitor these messages to ensure that they are all spoken using the same ‘voice’ and are aligned with the overall event brand.

Work Experience and Research Methods

If you study an undergraduate degree you will have the opportunity to take a year’s work placement, while for postgraduate students it is likely that a professional practice module will be incorporated into your course. You will be also encouraged by your tutors to take part in voluntary opportunities to expose yourself to as much of the events industry as possible. In your final semester you will write a dissertation focusing on a specific area of the industry. This combination of theoretical and practical knowledge, in addition to first-hand experience, will give you a global outlook and help you on your way to find opportunities to work on and manage festivals and events around the world.

Images via Shutterstock

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