Expectations of the MICE industry prior to graduation and what it actually entails are often worlds apart, as these two generation Y students from Singapore tell us.
Noorezzati bte Abdullah (Ezza)
Final year polytechnic student
What lessons have you gained after working as an intern in the MICE industry?
I realised that everything taught in school is clearly related and can be applied in the work I do. I also felt that failure is not really an option at work, because you are given the responsibility to perform your task and there are expectations set, therefore I am under pressure not to let everyone down, especially when working in a small team. However, I am reminded that with error comes experience and overall it was still a learning journey for me.
What have you learnt about MICE and working in events?
I learnt the importance of networking – people want to make as many contacts as possible because this industry is almost entirely contacts-based. Serious work has to be put in as well; it is not just about talking to people and getting to know others, it is also about getting to know the foundation of the work itself, especially in events.
What was your initial perception of working in MICE and how do you feel about it now?
I thought that I could go straight into execution of an event, but I learnt that there are those little important details to look into before an event takes place.
What are your plans upon graduation?
I want to explore my options further. This internship has provided me with the invaluable experience of truly experiencing what work life is, and all the aspects of coordinating an event. Although I have so much more to learn, i know that I want to be part of something events-related.
First year polytechnic student
Having heard what Ezza described about her internship, how do you feel it’s different from your impression of internships?
Ezza shared that she expected her internship to involve working on lots of events, but she had spent a lot of time on administrative tasks instead. I think her expectations of an internship weren’t so different from mine, because I expected to be doing things such as site inspections.
Interns need to have realistic expectations of their internships to be prepared for it and avoid disappointment. I had the impression that interns are given minor/mundane tasks because we lack experience and we are only temporary staff – I believe that this impression is quite common among students as well.
I realise it is important that all employees, including interns, know the importance of their responsibilities and understand how the tasks they are entrusted with benefits the company.
You once felt some modules in your course weren’t relevant in the future – has that perception changed?
Some modules were not directly related to my course of study (I chose a MICE specialisation), hence I thought they weren’t important because I would not be using the knowledge in the future.
I have to admit this thinking is quite shallow. I realise that while I may not be doing accounting, statistics or marketing in the future, they are needed for a company to function and grow. The modules I have taken were also good as I have learnt many new things, although I probably will not fully appreciate statistics.
What are some internship ideas you have in mind?
I have met a few incentive trip planners or tour leaders and I want to experience what it’s like. This would allow me to travel a lot, learn about other cultures and of course, enjoy their cuisine! Alternatively, I would like to attempt an operations role in a destination or events management company.