Mel Coller, Australia
Event Management Graduate 2011
Event Manager, cievents
Q: Where did you do your industry training, and how has that helped you in your career?
I completed my industry training at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney where I spent nine months working in their Banquets Department. The role allowed me to utilise the skills I had been learning at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) in the ‘real world’ and learn about five star standards. It gave me a strong insight on how events are run and it was great to see the variety of ways a hotel ballroom can be transformed to suit any event, whether it be an awards night, wedding or conference.
Q: What is your current role, and with what company?
I am an Event Manager at the Australian branch of cievents, a global strategic corporate event management agency with offices in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and South Africa.
Q: What career achievements are you especially proud of?
When I am on site for my events I am extremely proud of what I have brought to life, to be given someone’s vision and to be able to create that is a big achievement. It’s especially rewarding when you receive positive feedback from your clients and delegates too.
Q: How has your ICMS degree contributed to you achieving your professional goals?
The degree helped me get my foot in the door, I think half the operations staff at cievents come from ICMS; the college is highly respected within my organisation.
Q: What were the major contributing factors to your decision to study at ICMS?
Honestly the biggest drawcard was the location. Who doesn’t want to study at the beach? I knew I wanted to get into events but at the time there were not too many universities offering a degree in Event Management. An ICMS representative came and spoke at my high school career day and everything he said drew me in, including the location, the nine months of practical experience, the smaller class sizes and the degree structure.
Q: What were your highlights during your time at ICMS?
The friends I made during my studies were a big highlight for me. It’s also nice to now have so many contacts in the industry. As part of one of the subjects we had to organise our own event in teams. I am a practical learner so for me, personally, this gave me a great insight into what being an Event Manager would truly be like.
Q: What would be your advice to someone considering studying at ICMS?
First and foremost, ensure you do your research and make sure the degree is right for you. The events industry is not for everyone; it is extremely fast-paced, hard work and there are long hours, but it is incredibly rewarding when you see your event come to life.
ICMS gives you many opportunities to grow your skills and knowledge but you also have to be willing to take them. Join the committees that ICMS has and volunteer to work at events; the more practical experience you have the better. This will put you ahead of the competition when you graduate and start applying for jobs.
Take every opportunity you can to make contacts in the industry, this will build up your event network. It was through one of my contacts that I got my current job.
Q: What is the best thing about working in your industry?
The perks! I have been incredibly lucky and have travelled all over the world, staying at 5 star properties and experiencing different cultures. There are so many experiences I would have never had without my role which I am forever grateful for.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
This is a tough one as it changes every day. The events industry is constantly evolving, creating new opportunities and different career pathways. I would love to one day work in New York so it’s a possibility that in 10 years I will be working in events over there.