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How to become an event manager?

EHL Insights
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Becoming an event manager is the professional dream of many. But what does the job in event management entail and how do you start your career in this field? Our alumnae Irena Aeschlimann reports on her journey.

What is event management?

An event refers to events of all kinds. The term event, in turn, refers to an event that is organized, limited in time, and serves a specific purpose. A group of people take part in this event.

Event management subsequently stands for the planning, organization and execution of just such events. An event can be, for example, a trade fair, a sports event, a concert or an event. The more guests are expected for the event, the more important in event management is a well thought-out and targeted organization as well as an associated strategy. The ultimate goal is a smooth execution of the event.

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How do you become an event manager?

A field report: How did Irena Aeschlimann come to event management?

After graduating from the EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality in Passugg (EHL SSTH), I gained my first experience as an event coordinator at a catering company in Bad Ragaz. After almost two years, I was drawn to Zurich and started working for MCH Group, Messe Zürich. Here I stayed for seven years. I started as Product Manager for the exhibitions Züspa and Giardina. Later, I was allowed to take over as Deputy Exhibition Manager and at the end of my time at MCH, I worked as Business Development Manager in the New Business department. Since March 2020, I have now been working as Head of Event & Sales for MAAG Music & Arts AG in Zurich.

Learn more: What does a career in events management looks like?

We EHL SSTH graduates are welcome all-rounders, Irena Aeschlimann tells us. We are said to be very flexible, service-oriented, resilient and know what hard work means. These qualities are highly sought after in today's job market and, for me, the most valuable thing I took away from my education at EHL SSTH.

What does an event manager do in their job?

Event managers organize and plan events either for their company or a client.

At the beginning there is the concept and the strategy. Based on this, the "how" is planned, which includes, among other things, researching locations, setting budgets and coordinating professionals and service providers who contribute significantly to the success of the event.

The following main tasks belong to the job of an event manager:

  • Development of strategy and event concept
  • Budgeting / cost calculation
  • Determination of the event location
  • Definition of the target group
  • Marketing, communication and sales
  • Coordination with service providers
  • Personnel planning and deployment
  • Evaluation and optimization

Irena Aeschlimann is head of the Events, Concerts and Sales department. Her main tasks include the management of projects, the definition of the sales strategy and its implementation as well as the management of the project managers.

She reports: The event environment is insanely dynamic. I like that because it never gets boring. At MAAG, there are flat hierarchies and so you have many opportunities to be directly involved in the future of the company, which I think is very rewarding. What I like most is working with my team, setting goals together and providing support where it is needed.

With the highest quality of service, a personal touch and a lot of flexibility for individual wishes and requests, I inspire my customers as an event manager.

One event that Irena Aeschlimann will always remember: "We had a special exhibition of old bicycles at one of the last Züspa fairs and a social worker wrote to me asking for discounted tickets for asylum seekers working in a bicycle workshop. We then gave them the tickets and had them deposited on site. After the show, I received a beautiful thank you card with a short report of everyone's experience. That was great and unforgettable."

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