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Want a career in event management?

If you are a great organiser with excellent people skills, you are bound to make your mark in event management. Read on to know more about this profession.

education Updated: Dec 16, 2009 10:14 IST
Syed Amir Ali Hashmi

At 26, Charu Kataria is a contented woman. After stints in public relations and the electronic media, she moved to a company that manages both events and PR because she thought she “needed to give vent” to her artistic and creative skills.

Event management, a form of marketing and advertising, is a glamorous and thrilling field. It gives you ample opportunities for unleashing your creative potential. Event managers should have a flair for conducting events, a passion for doing it creatively, very good organising skills as well as the willingness and ability to work long hours.

Kataria, vice-president, Genie Events and PR, says, “This work involves visualisation, creativity, meticulous planning and venue management. It is gaining momentum because of the demand for socialising. Now, most events are organised by an event management company, with experts taking care of each little detail — right from the colour scheme at the venue to the food and drinks to the amusements and contests lined up for guests. So what’s left? For people, it’s like making a wish and having it granted by an event manager.”

The work, however, can be tough. Recalling a recent launch event she did for a news channel in Mumbai, Kataria says, “The event was challenging as I had to work in a new place, Mumbai. I had to look for vendors, sound technicians, set designers, florists, etc. Everything is expensive in Mumbai, so I decided to get it transported from our in-house godown in New Delhi. Cost-utilisation is one of the responsibilities of an event manager. Then I had to suggest celebrities and stage performers to the client. Finally, we shortlisted 15 celebrities and a few stage performers, including those from the TV show, India’s Got Talent.”

It’s definitely not easy contacting people, including managers of celebrities, and discussing money matters with them. “All your communication skills are used and at the end of the day, you feel drained, but when you see that the event has been a success, you feel satisfied. However, we hardly get time to celebrate as another event is lined up and we are on our toes again,” she says.

Event managers have to conceptualise an occasion, keeping in mind the objectives of the client, plan the event, co-ordinate with different agencies to organise it, seek permission from government authorities, visualise the stage design and arrange for performers and media promoters for the event, etc.

“You have to learn new things as well, to climb up the ladder. I am learning sketching so that I’m able to make set designs, with special focus on 3-D designing,” adds Kataria.

Today, event management companies have vacancies for various profiles, including marketing, 3-D designing, production, public relations, promotions, brand development, printing, exhibitions, telemarketing, administration, etc.

How does one discover one’s potential as an event manager? Nikhil Mathur, head of events, Zee Network, says, “In schools and colleges, we participate in fests and organise various events. People do not realise that these skills can be worked upon and used later in their careers.”

One has to be adept at handling every kind of show — be it related to sports, entertainment or to the corporate world. Besides, “you have to be good at audience acquisition”, says Mathur.

He suggests that aspiring event managers should do courses like DTP operations with designing, and some course on sound and light. “Moreover, leadership quality is important as you have to command an army of people,” he says.

What's it about?
Event management is about organising a professional and focused event for a target audience. It involves visualising concepts and planning, budgeting, organising and executing events such as fashion shows, musical concerts, corporate seminars, exhibitions, wedding celebrations, theme parties, product launches, among others. This career does not require much investment and offers a huge canvas for creative expression

Clock Work
9 am: Reach office
10 am: Get busy with client meetings
Noon: Fix up meetings for the next day
1.30 pm: Lunch
3 pm: Brief team on the event
4 pm: Finalise every detail regarding the event
7 pm: Leave for home

However, timings are erratic when an event is near

The payoff
Remuneration in this field varies according to the type of event managed. A trainee can get around Rs 15,000 a month. From here, salaries depend on the company one is working for. A freelancer’s income depends on the event s/he handles. The head of an event management company can earn in lakhs, depending on the scale of the events handled and whether s/he has a stake in the company

Skills
.
Leadership qualities
. Public relations skills
. Marketing and business acumen
. Budgeting skills
. Risk management ability
. Mastery over conceptualising and planning events and implementing the plans

How do i get there?
No certification course or specific qualification is required for becoming an event manager. Graduates with good public relations and networking skills can join this field. Some institutes offer specialised diplomas and advanced diplomas in event management. However, some of the biggest event management firms may prefer candidates who have an MBA degree, along with good PR skills. Another possible combination of qualifications is a public relations course along with a Master’s degree in marketing. This gives you an edge over others with the same years of experience in the field

Institutes & urls
.
Event Management Development Institute, IES Management College, Mumbai,
www.emdiworld.com
. Indian Institute of Event Management, Mumbai,
www.niemindia.com
. Amity Institute of Event Management, Noida,
www.amity.edu/aiem
. International Center for Event Marketing, New Delhi,
www.eventmanagementindia.com

Pros & Cons
. Great sense of satisfaction on successful completion of an event
. Very creative work
. Offers one a chance to move around with celebrities and top shots of the corporate
world
. Immense work pressure and long hours, quite often outside regular business
timings

Be confident of what you are selling

An expert in event management talks about the work

What is the best way to enter this profession?
Event management is an exciting and growing industry, a unique career for people who have a passion for planning and organising events. A good social network and the zeal to do something unusual are key to this industry. Event management companies nowadays hire lots of young people.

In terms of educational qualifications, graduation should be ideal. But a host of other skills are essential for people in this field.

These include:
. Analytical/ critical thinking and problem solving: A must in this field. You should
be able to acknowledge a problem, recognise that it has to be solved then and there,
and always think on how the situation could be avoided in future.
. Client/customer service orientation: This is the ability to be client-focused and
committed to meeting the needs of your customers. n Negotiation skills: You need
lots of it, to deal both with clients and with the managers of the celebs you want for
the event.
. Ability to work under pressure: One should remain calm and cool and work as
though everything is under control, so that others are not adversely affected.
. Teamwork: One of the most important things here is the ability to work as a team.
You should not only know how to lead a team but also work with everyone and get
the job done on time.
. Planning, co-ordination and organisation: This involves the ability to effectively
co-ordinate and organise oneself, others, information and/ or situations at a
personal and/ or organisational level.
. Good networking skills: An event manager needs to build his network. And the
more contacts he has, the more successful he will be. Any kind of business can be
only expanded through contacts. One must, therefore, be able go out and talk to
people, and maintain that acquaintance.

Why should someone choose event management as a career?
An event manager is responsible for managing an event from conception to staging. The responsibilities in brief are venue selection, logistics, budgeting, design, negotiation, marketing, ticket sales, customer service and managing people.

Managing events successfully requires careful planning, attention to detail and patience. It requires creativity, the ability to think out of the box and a strong personality for leading a team.

Time management, resourcefulness, communication and passion are the basic requisites for this line.

If you have an appetite for challenges and would love to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment where no two projects are the same, a career in event management will suit you.

What do you need to reach the top rung in this field?
One needs confidence with clear goals and knowledge of what one is selling. Only then can one inspire one’s staff and win the confidence of clients. To be successful, avoid “comfort zones”.

Amit Rathore, director, Genie Events & PR Interviewed by Syed Amir Ali Hashmi