The great debate of event degrees with Kirstie Allsopp

Have just discovered you can study Events Management over 4 years at uni? WTF?! Go and work for an events company and they’ll pay you #Daft
— Kirstie Mary Allsopp (@KirstieMAllsopp) September 18, 2014

I’m going to assume that most of you have seen the above ‘infamous’ tweet from the TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp last week about event management degrees. It’s spawned a lot of debate from fellow #EventStudents and event professionals with Event Magazine’s postEvent’s Northern post & numerous tweets!

Good companies want young people with strong CVs which show they can pull their weight, muck in and learn fast – Not degrees.
— Kirstie Mary Allsopp (@KirstieMAllsopp) September 18, 2014

The sad reality is that to gain any job you need experience, but to first gain the experience you need a job! The idea that you can walk up to an event company at 18 years old with no previous experience within the industry and gain a job is pretty naive.

Whilst overall I am extremely grateful for my degree, I didn’t enjoy it during the first term & I do think there needs to be a stronger link between event academics and event professionals but I know I learnt an inaudible amount from my lectures and it is the main reason I managed to gain work experience and my placement when starting out. I also 100% feel that university is a fantastic way to learn other skills such as research, building relationships & learning to work both independently and with others.

My issue with Kirstie’s tweet is the simple fact that she does not work in the industry but also the fact that whilst this has allowed for an interesting debate she is only re-tweeting people who agree with her. If you have a certain viewpoint on something & you decided to share that view, I think it is only right to engage with everyone!

I asked other #EventStudents about what they thought & have decided to share a few of my favourites with you today!

@Alis70s @EventStudents1 @blogbykobrak @KirstieMAllsopp agencies just don’t have the time to do 100% on-the-job training. #eventprofs
— Kait Kirwan (@kaitkirwan) September 19, 2014

@kaitkirwan @EventStudents1 @blogbykobrak @KirstieMAllsopp if you even applied for a job without experience or a degree they would laugh!
— Ali Swindell (@Alis70s) September 19, 2014
@blogbykobrak @EventStudents1 @KirstieMAllsopp I completely disagree that studying an events degree is “daft” #eventprofs
— Annie Byrne (@Annie_Squirrel) September 19, 2014
@EventStudents1 @Imdamnstudent @KirstieMAllsopp think she should come and talk to the unis that do it before jumping to conclusions.
— Jenny Bullock (@JennyWren214) September 19, 2014

I understand that University is not for everyone & I also agree that a 4 year course should not be the only path to become an event professional, but the fundamental issue is that this is another point where the hard work and focus that event students have put in to their career choices is being questioned.

Rather than saying what is ‘wrong‘ with event degrees we need to be discussing how to develop the courses so students are getting the BEST education and event professionals gain graduates with the BEST skills, abilities and knowledge! The crazy thing is that this can happen, these debates allow for all people in the event industry to talk with each other and share their opinions and viewpoints.

I don’t agree with Kirstie’s point because it is ignorant and de-values our hard work BUT i’m glad to see it bringing another discussion where everyone is talking!

What do you think of Kirstie’s tweet? 

Remember to follow the #EventStudents twitter account @eventstudents1

  • Great post and insights as always Caitlin! I found the tweets by Kirstie and many others that joined the debate very frustrating.
    I particularly agree with your point that industry and universities should be working together to make event management degree courses even stronger….

  • Thanks Becky! It has been great seeing everyone’s opinions on the topic & glad to see that i’m not the only one who thinks industry & courses could connect better!

  • Holly Houghton

    I think Kirstie’s view point and those that were on her side about paying to study an Event Management degree as being ‘Daft’ is indeed [as you said] ‘ignorant’ and well a very aristocratically manner of thinking. It is rather frustrating that she and many others feel that it is just a “Mickey Mouse” degree without understanding the hard work that goes into helping students learn and develop the necessary skills required to become event professionals.

    As an Event Management graduate, I feel that my degree offered me a chance to gain a deeper insight into the events industry through my lectures coupled with industry experience. Before University I worked for almost 3 years as a Receptionist & Events Coordinator in a small hotel that had a limited amount of facilities to host larger events and room for progression. So therefore getting a degree was worth more than just working my way up in the industry.

    I agree with you on that Universities and the industry should be working together to improve the event management course, allowing students to learn not just the basics but incorporating modules that follow current trends in the events industry and more engagement with event professionals.

    Whilst I enjoyed my degree, I do feel that 4 years was a very long time! especially as I had transitioned from full-time work to full-time education. Albeit the third year of my degree was in the industry,which enabled me to apply my knowledge, develop and enhance my skills, but the degree could be done in a shorter length of time with more opportunities for experience and engagement with the events industry…..

  • Its great reading your opinion on the matter, I think there are quite a lot of students who feel 4 years is very long to be studying – partially because each academic year is only around 9 months! And I agree that there should be an opportunity whilst looking at the basics of events to study trends as well as engage more with event professionals and what they do! Thanks for your contribution!

  • Katie Newton
  • HI Katie, that is a really great post – thanks so much for sharing it! I think you managed to articulate everything most students & grads feel in regards to this topic!