MPI Connects panel advises students on starting a career in events

An expert panel of event industry employers advised students to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the industry at the inaugural MPI Connects event.

Around 50 event management students from all over the UK attended the event, hosted by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) at The University of Westminster on 27th April. Representatives from Banks Sadler, Absolute Corporate Events and TFI Group urged the students to do thorough research on the ‘complexities’ of the industry and the company their job application is directed to when applying for a job.

The panel debate was followed by a number of one-to-one appointments between students and event professionals from high-profile agencies including drp, Ashfield Meetings & Events, Grass Roots, First Protocol and CWT Meetings & Events.

Graduates were warned that CVs fired-off without being tailored to the specific role were easily spotted, and in this competitive sector, where 200 CVs can be received for each job, applicants must prove a point of difference.

Andy Selway, the HR manager at Banks Sadler, commented during the debate: “The biggest red flag for me across the board is if I ask questions in the job advert and they are ignored.

“Make sure you know the company. There is no reason not to do background research. When I get 200 applications for a role, I am going to start whittling them down early. Are you telling me why you should be employed by Banks Sadler?”

TFI Group HR director Grania Sweeting explained: “I look for qualifications, an aptitude for learning and problem solving. To have the academia is great, but I want someone who has done their research, who knows about the company, who has done some reading around us and can give me salient facts.”

Angie Mason, director at Absolute Corporate Events, said: “We want to see a CV that will represent you, we want to know your story. We really need you to know what you want from the events industry and that you understand what the event industry is about.”

Richard Parker, director of healthcare at American Express Global Business Travel and president elect at MPI UK & Ireland, was taking part in the one-to-one meetings with students and was impressed with the calibre at the event. He commented: "I think we’re pioneering something; the buzz in the room is superb. I’ve met some very talented young people and I’ve been very impressed by the standard. I feel really proud to be here."

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