Every student’s dream — Oxford — gave us a rainy reception, but it still looked like a very warm welcome to us. One of the most famous university towns in the world with a centuries-old history has everything a student could dream of to succeed in education, creativity, sports and spiritual development. You might have heard of a pub Eagle and Child here in Oxford, which was a favourite place for two English classics — Clive Lewis and John Tolkien — where they loved to sit by a fireplace and have a heart-to-heart talk. It was this local ale that witnessed the birth of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings plots. The University of Oxford includes plenty of faculties and colleges located separately one from another. And every one of them looks like a little palace or a church. There is no way these unique masterpieces of architecture could be called campus buildings.
Event Business Academy (EBA) was kindly hosted by one of the Lincoln College buildings, since the founders of EBA are all Oxford alumni, they were delighted to be based again in that unique city. We were lucky to get to the last (sixth) EBA course with 20 other event-specialists from Nigeria, Italy, Spain, Egypt, India, Russia, Pakistan, Romania, who came craving for new knowledge, new friends, and new experiences. Cultural and worldview differences were pushed to the background very quickly, leaving only what really mattered — our passion for events and professional principles.
«People may forget what you have said or done, but they will always remember how you made them feel,» — was the thesis of one of the lectures that defined all modern event-industry.
Our teachers did live what they preached: in preparation of our training process they applied every single principle of event planning they taught us. Every detail matters in any event’s organization. Such a small thing as a label with your name on the files/hand-outs folder could really warm your heart and make you feel cosy in the unfamiliar surroundings of the extraordinary rainy (especially this summer) Albion. According to English event professionals, there are three things that make your event a success: studying, motivation and communication. And this is exactly what we’ve been doing.
The first day was full of theory on: Designing your event experience, Best practice event planning, Managing your event budget, and Managing suppliers & stakeholders.
I especially enjoyed the module on budget forming, cash flow in long-term projects, and how to identify the break-even point.
These aspects are crucial in events organization. For example, a few events were cancelled in Great Britain this year because of inaccurate financial management or bad weather. The last one, of course, cannot be managed even by an event-manager. At least, yet :)
Virtual projects were immediately corroborated by practical tasks. We were split into small groups, each of them consisting of different countries representatives, where we were developing concepts and ideas, calculating budgets and cash flow.
In Great Britain events preparation processes are slightly different from what we are used to here in Ukraine. Thus, all events have longer preparation periods in order to take into account every detail. As they say: «the devil is in the details». London Olympics preparation took 7 years; a big corporate event or a wedding would take from 6 to 24 months of preparation.
The second day was dedicated to visiting the Olympic Park, which will be covered in the next post by my colleague Maria Velichko, Mainstream events director.