From weddings to scientific conventions – sooner or later, events will take place wherever people meet. Anyone who’s ever organized a larger celebration knows how much work is necessary beforehand. The bigger the event, the more complex the organizational effort becomes and the more time is required in order to properly plan it – which is nearly impossible for those with other private or professional commitments on the side. This is where event managers come in: They conceptualize, plan and organize events. These include, for example, conventions, exhibitions, trade fairs, concerts, private parties, business events, meetings, anniversary celebrations, product launches, kick-off events and many more.
Specific positions within the field of event management are as diverse as the range of formats that can be organized. Therefore, it is advised to consider what specific type of events you would like to plan and what targets groups you would like to reach before making your start in this field, considering that the organization of a trade fair requires a different focus in comparison to a wedding, scientific convention or classical concert, for example. Specific protocols and industry characteristics also play a big part. Managing academic events, for example, demands a certain amount of scientific expertise, the monitoring of current trends and debates and an understanding of the scientific system within that topic, as well as proficiency in the English language. Someone organizing a row of concerts, on the other hand, needs to know how to transport certain instruments or how certain weather conditions can affect the quality of a performance, etc.
Also, clients, service providers and their communicative skills vary depending on the specific field. Since working in event management goes hand in hand with networking, industry specifics and establishing your own brand, it is helpful to gain experience in your field of interest through internships and part-time jobs early on.
As a rule, event managers take on conceptual and planning tasks, e.g. designing an event's program in terms of content, drawing up schedules, calculating costs, dealing with the legal framework and permits for the event, marketing, managing external service providers (such as event technicians and caterers), tailoring the event to the client's wishes, coordinating the execution of the event on site, taking on set-up activities, briefing event staff, reacting to problems during the event, evaluating the overall process, etc. A successful event is only possible with thorough preparation. That is why event managers put a lot of time and effort into the planning and conception phase. The event itself can be considered the fruit of their labor.
Event managers can be employed in event and convention agencies, in the cultural sector, in city marketing, in the food service industry, in the leisure and tourism sector, in public administrations and companies/organizations in various other sectors. Event managers also have the possibility to be self-employed and start their own agency. Tasks can vary depending on the position and the area of activity. Business Administration can offer basic qualifications for the field of event management in general, although the specific degree is usually less important, since certain degrees are more useful for certain fields. Sport majors are more likely to organize sport events, whilst art historians are more suited for planning cultural happenings and so on. Especially for the management of academic or scientific events, which often involves program planning and inviting key speakers, it is advisable to find a field close to one's own degree. However, there are also opportunities for a lateral entry from various other disciplines for all other areas of event management than are primarily focused on organizing. Since administrative knowledge is of great benefit in many areas of activity, lateral entrants are often given the chance to acquire the corresponding knowledge through in-service training.
In the event management sector, there is a need for organizational talents who can keep their cool and keep track of things in stressful situations. Anyone who feels comfortable as a host/hostess when entertaining guests will be a good fit for this occupational field. Event management also is not a one (wo)man show. Teamwork is key, which is why event managers should be able to delegate, but also to lend a hand. Irregular working hours are not unusual in this field. Depending on the project/event, some phases will be more and some less intense. When dealing with external service providers and clients, it is also important to have strong communication skills and an engaging demeanor.
Working in various areas will also allow you to get to know different event formats. In addition, you can experience typical event management procedures and practice dealing with stress.
Event management is often a subtask of jobs in other occupational fields that fall into the field of communication, such as PR work, Marketing and Corporate Communications.