Industry events

The importance of international experience

Recently I had the big honour to speak to students studying for Diploma in Leisure & Events Management from Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore. They were in the UK from 25th September – 5th October and when in London they asked me to speak about social media and technology, so I decided to share my blogging experience with them.

The reason I was so happy to meet them and speak about my experience is because not too long ago I was a student myself and during my event management studies at Regent’s University London we also had study trips each semester and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of international experience. We went to Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and two semesters I spent abroad in Germany, which greatly contributed to my personal development and understanding of the industry.

Other speakers at the event were Deborah Kelly, Business Development Manager and Sarah Neill, Project Manager – Major Events at London & Partners and Jason Chan, Area Director – Northern and Western Europe and Maria Pangoli, Manager Northern & Western Europe at Singapore Tourism Board. 31 students from Diploma in Leisure & Events Management were on this trip with more than 80% of them in the 2nd year of studies, and the rest in the 3rd, final year.

Deborah and Sarah spoke about the role of London & Partners, how they work, past and future events, the Olympic Legacy and gave a great overview of the different career paths students can pursue in the events industry. Jason and Maria spoke about targeting and segmentation, their positioning as a long haul destination, key aspects they promote to leisure and business tourists and how they represent destination Singapore in London.

I was curious to know group’s itinerary and the choice of venues and activities. They flew from Singapore to Dubai and from Dubai to Manchester and started their tour in Manchester, visiting Manchester United Museum, Stadium Tour and a tour of the BBC.

From Manchester they travelled to Birmingham to visit Cadbury World and continued to Bath where they visited the Thermae Bath Spa before leaving to Swindon for an overnight stay there and kicked off the day with a visit of the Warner Brothers Tour and the Making of Harry Potter. From there they departed to London and first stop was a backstage of The Phantom’s Liar followed by The Phantom of the Opera musical.

On the following day they visited University of Surrey campus and in the afternoon we had our session at The Strand Palace Hotel, followed by dinner at the Carvery & Grill in the hotel. Next day they started with Shrek’s Adventure, exploration of Covent Garden and dinner in China Town.

On the next day they headed to Wimbledon to learn about their operations and from there to the Natural History Museum and concluded the day with the Mamma Mia musical.

Last day before departure they did a London City Tour and visited the Museum of London before heading to the airport, travelling to Singapore via Dubai.

Recently I was asked “what one piece of advice would you give to people looking to get into this industry?” My answer is to get international work experience! Do an internship, volunteer, go on a study trip like this, do a language course abroad, but just go out there, see other cultures and learn how they work, study and live.

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While I stayed in Europe they took a long haul flight to the UK and I’m sure in couple of years, when the students graduate and start their jobs in the industry, they will remember this experience more than any other course at university, they will meet me and others at IMEX, IBTM or any other international industry event and can leverage these connection for future business opportunities.

I was very honoured to be part of their programme and wish them all the best finishing their studies and starting a career in the event industry.

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