Opinions Wanted - Now that You Know Now

So here I find myself again, mid-semester teaching an event management class to community college students and wondering if I selected the correct topics for my lesson plan. Twenty eager students are looking for guidance and basic information on the event management industry, how to potentially enter the industry and if this career is right for them. It is my daunting job to get them ready to potentially begin a career in this industry or inspire them to enter the field.

I use the word "daunting" as this is how I feel each semester when I begin to put my lesson plan together. This is my third year teaching this course and each semester I always try to improve upon what is provided as education for the industry. Then smack in the middle of the semester self-doubt creeps in and I start to get exasperated with all we need to know to be successful in this career – project management, contract knowledge, organization, time management, knowledge of learning cognition, food and beverage knowledge, writing an RFP, financial management, and the list goes on and on.

In 16 weeks, I am to provide the basis for what it takes to be an event planner as well as sharing knowledge on the other aspects of the industry. With only 3.5 hours per week to do this within. However, after 20 years in the industry there are things I have learned that you can never learn in a classroom – only through experience. To this day I continue to learn with each event I plan.

So, I am somewhat besieged each semester when I have to pick and choose which areas I will focus on – goals and objectives, budgets/billing, site selection, food and beverage, contracts. I mean, how much logistical should be provided versus financial versus administrative, while possibly adding in a dash of strategic leadership planning? How much should I focus on planner-side versus supplier-side?

There are some great templates out there that help to fine-tune and compact the knowledge base – EMBOK, Event Management Cycle, APEX, and the recently created MBECS. But many of this has been written for current planners in the industry; students are still exploring, being inquisitive, finding their path, looking for inspiration and direction as they stand at the crossroads of potential career paths.

So I am curious—for those experienced in the industry after all these years—what are the top 10 main industry knowledge areas that should be taught to these students? These potential future leaders who know nothing about the industry. The top 10 areas that are crucial to learning for a soon-to-be entry level planner?

What do you think are the first 10 topics that should be studied to take to step up to the next level of learning in the hospitality industry?

Posted by Larissa J. Schultz, CMP, MHA

Larissa is a writer, author, and professional speaker in the hospitality industry. She is also an adjunct professor at Glendale Community College teaching in the Hospitality and Tourism program.

Follow Larissa on Twitter: @LarissaJSchultz
Visit Larissa's Website: www.ljsmeetingstrategies.com/

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