Conference and Incentive Travel reported a new study conducted by George Lancaster, a student at Leeds Met University. The study revealed that almost 80% of first-year event management students envisioned a career in the industry after graduation but after a year-long internship, this figure dropped to just over half.
As a recent graduate, statistics like this always strike a chord with me. I still share the pain of recent graduates /college students as they search for their first job /internship as I experienced my fair share of internships and various career-aspirations since beginning college. After a year as Peace and Conflict Studies major, I somehow ended up interning at a global investment firm. In typical Millennial fashion, I left unsatisfied and fully convinced the industry wasn’t for me. The next summer I interned in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and with fierce disposition decided to pursue a career in the non-profit industry. Quite the dramatic shift for a few indecisive years pondering the question, what do I want to do with my life? I imagine the 30% of event management students who switched career-goals after an internship asked themselves the same question as me.
During senior year I applied relentlessly to various non-profits, spending many nights skipping over homework assignments to craft a one page representation of my experiences and expertise, aching for a chance to enter the industry. I experienced a few interviews, a lot of rejections, and even more response-less applications.
Hopping from private equity to non-profit in just one year, I laugh as I look back at my naivety in beginning my first professional experience. As I reflect upon my path that led me to a career in event management, I find that I acted eerily stereotypical of our generation. I was closed-minded, stubborn, and most importantly—unwilling to expose myself to various career options. I tried it out once and it wasn’t for me just as a toddler would toss away a brand new shiny toy after becoming bored after few moments.
In defense of Millennials, no one can trump the determination and ambition of our generation and I attribute these characteristics to how I landed my first job. The summer after graduation I interned at a non-profit and albeit my hard work, I was not offered a job. Unsure of where to go next, I stumbled upon an opportunity to take part in an innovative hiring method, eCruit.
eCruit was borne out of the need to identify exceptionally talented individuals to work at etouches while growing jobs in the state of Connecticut. Envisioned by Leonora Valvo, CEO of etouches, eCruit identifies top talent and provides real-world scenarios to allow both the candidate and etouches to understand if the individual will thrive in the etouches’ climate. Through eCruit, I fell in love with etouches and was offered.
Although I did not end up in the industry I envisioned myself in, I channeled my ambition into pursuing all opportunities available for career development. I jumped on the chance to participate in eCruit, eager to I know this characteristic is inherent in all Millennials. We crave opportunities to advance our careers and turn weaknesses into strengths. Perhaps the event management students who changed their minds about the industry after an internship were right, the industry isn’t for them. But the one thing I know for certain is Millennial determination will ultimately lead us in the right direction.
Written by: Colleen Donnelly