Last week I had the pleasure of meeting this years Eventice 2015 candidates, which was both fantastic & slightly weird as it feels a lot longer than a year since I competed! I’ve written multiple times about why I think the Eventice is an experience not to be missed by final year event management students and I’ve not doubt I will continue to say the same each time it comes around! Back in February 2014 I wrote about my own experience (Part 1, Part 2), and this year it seems rude to not have a post talking about the 2015 experience.
I know what you might be thinking – how can a past contestant and graduate write about something she was only witnessing, I’m not, instead this post comes from the lovely Jenny Homer – who was not only one of this years 15 finalists but she is also one of the winners!
Jenny will be starting her Events Career out in Dubai with DMG Events, alongside her flatmate and fellow Eventice winner Joanna Thomas! So all that is left for me to say is a massive thank you to Jenny for writing & sharing this post and I hope the rest of your final year at Leeds Beckett goes great! (Plus CONGRATULATIONS!)
The Eventice 2015
I thought I would write a little bit about my Eventice experience, as I hope other applicants will find it helpful to read in the lead up to the finals.
After being shortlisted to the final 15, I was both nervous and excited about what the three days would entail, and as fantastic as it would be to land a job at the end, I was going in with the mind-set of enjoying and learning from the experience, whilst putting my name out in the industry. Nobody loses in a competition like this, everyone gains so much from it, everyone comes out a winner in the end.
At first glance, two five-minute presentations and three days out of University in final year, so close to dissertation hand in seems CRAZY! But I cannot praise this competition enough; I have 14 new like-minded friends who I will no doubt have the pleasure to work with again in my career. So, my first piece of advice is preparing your presentations beforehand, think of it as a nice break from University work!
We arrived at Tobacco dock at Midday on Tuesday for the first day of the competition, I arrived at the tube station almost an hour too early and waited in the coffee shop where I met a few other applicants who had the same idea, you don’t want to be late on the first day!
After introduction presentations from both employers and a quick ice breaker it was time for task 1, 4 minute speed interviews with both companies. As daunting as this sounded as I had nothing prepared for interviews at this stage , the employers asked questions based on your CV, so it wasn’t too bad.
Time for task 2 – smoothie making! The group was split in to two teams, each to create their own smoothie company and smoothies to sell at a pop up stand in tobacco dock. We were required to make a logo, marketing campaign, advertisement, budget, actual smoothies and finally to pitch the idea to panelists and the employers, all in TWO HOURS! Throughout the process employers from both organisations and ESP recruitment observed and interacted with us, a bit like Karen and Nick from The Apprentice!
DMG Events kindly put on a networking evening at one of Gordon Ramsey’s Pubs where we ate delicious food and were able to informally network with both organisations. I was STARVING by this point and probably ate about 10 macaroons! The evening finished at around 9.30 so we made our way to the hotel, checked in and took an early night before our early start and day 2 of the competition!
Destination, Confex, Time 07.50 am! That was a shock to the system, considering 9am lectures are normally tough! Each team for every single task was different, the first a pitch for a viral marketing campaign developed for the smoothies created yesterday, the second a scavenger hunt around London with 20 items, including a cassette player (who even uses these anymore) an empty gin bottle, an autograph from a famous person and galangal (FYI this is similar to ginger and found in Thai green curry!).
The next task, to get as many people to have their photo taken by our eventice stand as possible, and then LUNCH! The afternoon tasks consisted of building a dinosaur, dismantling it, and rebuilding it in a faster time. I was convinced it was a trick and that the dinosaur didn’t actually fit together, the other team proved me wrong!
Using an app created for the eventice, we had to network with suppliers at their stands in the exhibition, gaining points as you go which unveil sponsors. Pick a sponsor and create a cultural event, to be held in Dubai, at the World Expo 2020 and pitch. Industry professionals were able to drop in and watch our pitches for this task.
Finally, a short group debate and the hardest task of them all! We were required to write who we think should go through to the final 5 and why, easy, and then who shouldn’t and why, tough!
After 30 minutes of anxiously waiting the final 5 were announced! My name was read out; I was shocked and overwhelmed with excitement! Thankfully, I had prepared my presentations already so a group of us went for celebratory dinner at Pizza Express!
This final day consisted of two interviews and finally our two five-minute presentations. I thought great, not much to do time wise today, perhaps I will get a lay in, oh no, interview one, 8am!! It was so great to be interviewed by people who you had spent the past 2 days getting to know, they already knew you, your personality, so there was no pressure to make that good first impression like with most other interviews, as this first impression happened two days ago!
My advice, have questions ready to ask, I found a particularly useful article on LinkedIn about the best questions interviewees can ask employers. If you have evidence from previous work experience, such as employer reviews take them with you!
The presentations were by far the most nerve-racking thing I had ever done, to a room full of such important people, it was so fantastic having the friendly faces of the final 15 there to support us, and of course tutors from my University. My advice, speak slower than you think you need to, as I can assure you it will always come out faster than you think. Point two, use your time wisely between interviews and practice, take note cards just in case, and of course be confident and enthusiastic.
After THE LONGEST 45 minutes of my life, we all congregated around the keynote stage for the winners to be announced! I cried like I had won the lottery when my name was read out for the job in Dubai, and then they through a spanner in the works and announced my house mate (who was also in the competition) was coming too, we screamed like little girls and posed for photos like we had just got engaged! I burst the final release of all the pressure and nerves that had built up throughout the competition, it was over and I had a job!!
The Eventice is a fantastic opportunity to put your name out in the industry, I would recommend printing business cards to give out when networking with people, even if you don’t win, a job offer will come along from someone else you meet along the way!
All 15 of this years finalists were great and this experience will put each and everyone into a fantastic position once you graduate!