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All the world’s a stage

For music lovers this has undoubtedly been one of the best years. From Roger Waters to Shakira and now Aerosmith — some of the big names in the international music industry have performed in India in the past few months. And much of the credit for putting India on the tour map of these artists goes to DNA Networks, a Bangalore-based event management company.

Organising such large-scale live events is no mean task. It involves months of meticulous planning, infrastructure worth crores of rupees and extensive publicity. In fact, preparations at DNA begin almost six to eight months before any international event. From contract negotiations to obtaining necessary permits, from set designing to ticket sales, every aspect of an event is painstakingly planned.

“In event management, they say you are only as good as your last event. Regardless of what you have done before, every new project requires the same amount of dedication. You can never compromise on quality,” says T. Venkat Vardhan, the managing director of DNA Networks.

So, behind those live concerts and well-planned fashion shows there are event managers who work tirelessly to make the event a grand success. Today, with the increasing number of brand promotions, book launches, celebrity events, talent shows, live concerts, exhibitions and stage shows, these professionals are much in demand. Also, the annual growth potential of this industry is being projected at more than cent per cent in India.

Corporate organisations today spend 30 to 40 per cent of their marketing budget on below-the-line marketing that includes events, seminars, conferences and exhibitions,” says Deepak Chaudhary, director, Event Management Development Institute (EMDI), Mumbai.

To cater to this burgeoning demand, numerous big and small event management companies have sprung up in the last few years. Employment opportunities for a young entrant are therefore limitless. You can either work for an event management company or as an in-house event manager with a hotel or a corporate firm or even set up your own event management firm.

In an event management company, there are essentially three departments — creative, production, and marketing and client servicing. The creative department is where ideas about the set décor, lights, sounds are conceptualised; the production department deals with logistics of the event, including back-stage tasks such as stage fabrication, sound and lights, and projections, while the client servicing and marketing department sells the concept to clients and markets the event to the media, sponsors and the public.

Multitasking is essential in event management companies. “Even if you are in a creative or marketing department, you may sometimes have to be at the production site or vice versa,” says Vardhan adding, “And time and again do odd jobs.” Parikshit Roy, event specialist in George P. Johnson, an event management company in Gurgaon, recalls, “As a new entrant, when my client was dissatisfied with the exhibition display I was in charge of, I took a hammer and made the changes on my own.”

The popular adage –– come what may, the show must go on –– is one of the undying principles of event management. So be ready to battle last-minute cancellations, goof-ups and glitches. “Nothing goes off perfectly but you learn to do damage control,” says well-known Delhi-based event manager Tania Lefebvre.

Roy did just that when instead of arriving at Taj Palace hotel in south Delhi, guests for one of the events landed up in Taj Mahal hotel a few kilometres away. “We quickly sent a few cars and a person with a placard to Taj Mahal hotel, directing the guests to the right address.”

The industry values individuals who can work under tight schedules, are good organisers with a creative streak and extroverts with a positive outlook. “You need to be street-smart rather than be an academic genius to be a successful event manager,” points out Hoshi Bhiwandiwala, who founded the National Institute of Event Management (NIEM) in Mumbai.

Though event management is best learnt through practical experience, you can still hone your skills by doing a course. NIEM offers part-time and full-time courses in event management at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. EMDI, with branches in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, offers a postgraduate diploma in events and public relations.

Mumbai-based International Institute of Event Management offers a one-year diploma in event management at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Delhi-based School of Business Communication and Studies offers a public relations and event management programme in collaboration with Cavendish College, London. Event management is also taught as part of public relation and mass communication courses.

A major part of any good event management course should be based on practical training. Institutes such as NIEM and EMDI send their students to several events round the year including biggies like those organised by Filmfare, Gladrags and the Qatar Asian Games. NIEM even organises College Idol and Mr & Miss University contests in Mumbai which are entirely managed by their students. Such practical training gives students hands-on experience and leads to attractive careers with starting salaries of Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 per month.

So how about having a go at it'

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