A Career as an Event Manager

Overview

The role of an Event Manager is to plan, organize and run a function or event in accordance with client requirements.  These can range from corporate events, such as conferences, exhibitions and product launches, to fundraising events, festivals, weddings and parties.  Indeed, some Event Managers prefer to specialize in one particular area and will establish a dedicated service such as wedding planning.

An Event Manager will be responsible for the entire event including selecting an appropriate venue, organizing promotional activities, booking entertainment and catering, and arranging the design and layout of the premises.  They are accountable for managing the budget and for negotiating contracts with suppliers and service providers.  They are also responsible for ensuring strict adherence to health, safety and security regulations.  Many Event Managers will also attend the function to ensure that it runs smoothly and to resolve any issues that may arise on the day.

The role is extremely client focused, requiring a combination of creativity, innovation and problem-solving ability.  Excellent communication skills are important to enable effective interaction with clients, suppliers and contractors.  It is also essential to be able to demonstrate strong organizational and time management skills to ensure that budgets, deadlines and objectives are achieved. 

Entry requirements

Event management is a highly competitive industry sector and, as such, although there are no formal entry requirements, a good standard of education is recommended.  Degrees and HND qualifications are available in Event Management, and other relevant subjects include Business Administration, Marketing and Tourism Management.  Previous experience in client-facing roles, such as sales and marketing, and strong administration skills will also be useful.  There are NVQ and City & Guilds qualifications available as well as various professional bodies who offer accredited training programmes including the Association of Exhibition Organizers, the Association of British Professional Conference Organizers, the Association for Conferences and Events, and the Society of Event Organizers.

A successful Event Manager will have an extensive network of contacts who they can call upon as and when necessary.  These can include preferred suppliers and contractors or the owners/managers of key venues.  The ability to network is therefore an important quality in an Event Manager.  It may even be advantageous to undertake voluntary work at local events in order to gain experience and establish new contacts.

Progression opportunities

Due to the different requirements and budgets for each project, a career in event management can be extremely interesting and varied.  Progression within the industry comes with experience and more senior roles are achieved according to the number and size of the projects managed.  There are specialist events companies as well as opportunities available with hotels, leisure centres and within the marketing departments of larger organizations.  Some Event Managers also work in a freelance or consultancy capacity where they are able to dictate their own fees so the earning potential can be good.

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