David Michel

Foto von David Michel

Event Manager

at the University Sports Center in Potsdam

Photo: Thomas Roese

What do you do for a living?

I am an event manager at the University Sports Center in Potsdam.

 

What did you study and how did you get into your job?

I studied sports management in my bachelor's degree and sports science-competitive sports in my master's degree at the University of Potsdam. During and before my studies, I already did a number of sideline jobs in the construction industry, at trade fairs, in radio, in retail, in gastronomy, in young athletes competitive sports, and in the event industry. In addition, there were occupations at a football boarding school, in a start-up and at the university itself. I think that this contrast in particular has led me to dedicate myself to the events industry, both directly and indirectly. Directly because I liked the activities at events more and more, and indirectly, because at the same time I discovered that I was an all-rounder. I just tried it out to get to know myself better.

 

In your opinion, which professional or social skills are particularly important in your job?

At the beginning it is helpful to have a basic understanding of project management and some knowledge of event management. In my experience, however, the most important thing in my job is always to be open to new things. You shouldn't close yourself off to new ideas or the effort of learning. There is a beautiful saying in sports science: "Runners are made, sprinters are born". In the event industry, it is important to be a runner and to grow with every positive and negative experience. In the end, if there is an end to development at all, you live mainly from your network, your own experiences and the will to always realize new event projects.

 

In which points does a sports science degree prepare you for your job? What do you learn only by doing it?

My studies helped me personally to establish contacts for my later career and to get to know the first tools of business administration or project management. At the same time, my master’s degree taught me to question critically and to argue based on facts. In practice, you also learn to work in a goal-oriented manner. The mirror is kept in front of you all the time, you learn above all to correctly assess characters and use them according to their abilities.

 

Is it advisable for your job to specialize in sports or to get enthusiastic about certain sports?

Lawyers would say: “It depends.” An event manager is basically a project manager. You can count on excellent project managers on almost any project. Nonetheless, specialization can help. To make a long story short: specialization / enthusiasm helps. But don’t just stick to one field.

 

What were the last three things you did at work?

I have written work instructions for a research assistant, submitted a business trip application, and prepared a presentation for my area of work.

 

What kind of sporting events do you organize? And how many events do you organize each year?

The portfolio ranges from a boulder cup with 60 people to a jumping party for up to 160 people, and a ‘Klitschnass’ festival of up to 550 people to a campus festival with an estimated 1500 participants. At the same time, I am allowed to participate in the University Ball at the University of Potsdam. In a typical year, I am involved in up to 15 events.

 

What is important when planning a sports event?

I don't think that a sports event is any different than a health conference, for example. The only difference is the target group and content. The planning always revolves around the “W-questions”, which are described in more and more detail as time goes on. At the same time, a lot of attention must be paid to controlling different tasks.

 

Do you work in a team or on your own?

Absolutely in a team. Nobody has organized a major event on their own.

 

Do you have the opportunity to be physically active in your job?

As much as I would like to be a participant at the Klitschnass Festival, I never manage to be. I always have other things to do during an event. However, outside of my job I also find time to do sports - be it in a club, in the fitness studio or in university sports courses.

 

What challenges do you face in your job?

To ensure that everything stays in motion and that everyone in the team is aware of their task.

 

Your tips for young professionals?

Try it out. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses. Be authentic, honest and completely yourself when writing applications and doing interviews. Ask yourself every time you read and respond to a job advertisement what is important to you in your job, and whether the position can give you that. In the end, the employer should take care of you - not the other way around.