While music festivals, concerts, and sports are the most common type of events attended by different groups of people, there is another type of event that does not focus on fulfilling the entertainment context: conventions and meetings. This type of event focuses more on the business event in general and certain concerts or themes selected by the organizer. To have exposure to the story behind the scenes for the conventions and meetings industry, students who registered for Conventions and Meetings Management had a chance to virtually meet Ms. Gracie Geikie, the Director of Place Borneo.
She has more than 20 years of experience in conventions and meetings, and a certified Professional Conference Management (PCM) trainer for the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (MACEOS). Students learned about some interesting topics such as the Role of a Professional Conference Organizer (PCO), the bidding process, reasons why conferences failed, and terminology used in the event industry. Apart from that, Ms. Gracie also shared her experiences when doing the bidding for the 11th Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) 2017.
Interestingly, although there are students who are not from the event management programme, they managed to adapt the learning outcome and have good communication with Ms. Gracie throughout the session. These can be seen when there are students who are competent at answering questions posed by Gracie and are able to link the discussions to the topic being discussed. With a total of 100 students attending this speaker series, the lecturer believes that the students have been able to understand the bidding process and able to source for bid opportunities and leads.
This is one of the important learning outcomes that is also related to the student’s assessment task where the students are required to prepare a comprehensive event proposal that is related to conventions and meetings and it is compulsory for the students to do bidding for their event idea at the end of the semester. There are a few important points that have been highlighted by Ms. Gracie throughout the session, such as her encouragement to students to take the opportunity to be volunteers in any event, as she believes that the academic framework and perspective with industry is different.
Besides, she urges students to have an enthusiasm and passion for working in a team, as it will help students to be more responsible when researching conventions and extricate all pertinent information needed in the preparation of the bid document. The session was well received, and the students provided positive feedback for more sessions from the industry in the future semesters.