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Alumni Jemma Smith gives her Top 3 Tips on becoming an event manager

Last updated January 17th, 2017

Prior to enrolling on the Postgraduate Diploma Course I had been involved in event management, and in the service sector for a few years, but without guidance or any formal training. The latter aspects led me to be frustrated and whilst I knew it was the industry I wanted to be involved in, I needed to learn fundamentals that would propel my career in the direction I wanted.
Ashdown Academy listened to me and understood what I wanted and I enrolled on the next available course; I haven’t looked back since. What surprised me most was that I started out really enthused by events, but completed the first phase consumed more by marketing than events.
It appeared that very shortly after starting the course, with a head filled with budgets, planning and pitching, I was sending my CV to companies I could only dream of working for. Fortnum & Mason, Jack Morton, GSP, ER London and a company I knew nothing about before starting at Ashdown, NetJets. Given I already knew I enjoy working at the high end of the market I felt I had a good selection of companies in my wish list.
I was very fortunate that my tutors, knowing I really wanted a position at NetJets, happily I got my offer and took the unpaid internship with them and started as soon as the final parts of the academic course were complete.
The placement suits me well and I was made very welcome; more importantly though, I was presented with meaningful and challenging responsibilities straight away, rather than being left to undertake menial roles. I was also given realistic research tasks for real event planning which made me feel involved in the company.
Overall, I feel the course prepared me well for my new role and I am delighted that I have been offered a full time appointment with NetJets. The course is not easy and presents real-world challenges immersing you into the world of events within one of the most diverse cities in the world. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put in to your tasks, the impact of those who don’t have the same ethic or visions is tangible and frustrating, but it is realistic.
Lecturers clearly know their topic well but prior to the course, I had underestimated how invaluable their links within the industry, their expertise and advice would be. If I were to offer advice to someone who wanted to get into the events industry I would say:
1.Be open-minded – Do not set your heart on one particular area of events. So many of my peers thought they knew what they wanted to do before embarking on the course but very few are doing those things now.
2. Listen – be considerate of your teammates and listen to their ideas – there’s no such thing as a bad idea! Work out a strategy, what you need to achieve and how, or if, any of the ideas are relevant. Equally, do not be disappointed if your ideas are not the ones that are used, they will certainly come in useful another time.
3. Network – take time to attend events and speak with people. You never know who you are talking to and who might be able to offer your next great opportunity!

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