Greetings from Macao! My name is Annina but please call me Anni. Since July 2016 I have had the pleasure to be part of the MPI Finland board as the Director of Student Relations. I study Tourism in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and I’m specialising in Event Planning and Management. I am a third-year student and since mid-August I’ve been doing my exchange studies in Macao, China. I will return to Finland just before Christmas and hopefully graduate in December 2017.
Why did I join MPI?
A year ago our event management teacher in Haaga-Helia told us about MPI and the opportunities from the MPIF scholarship to attend the European Meetings and Events Conference in Copenhagen, EMEC is one of the two annual conferences organised by MPI. She told me how MPI is a great community and could help me on my path to become an event professional. I joined MPI in December 2015 and to my great joy I received the scholarship to attend EMEC along with three of my classmates.
EMEC and Future Leaders Forum
EMEC 2016 was held in Copenhagen in the beginning of February. My expectations were high and I was extremely excited to attend my first event industry conference. At that time I had only been studying event management for one semester, since we start our specialisation studies during our second year of studies. I was very nervous because I knew that most people attending the conference were obviously industry professionals, whereas I was “just a student”, an expression I later learned not to use. I started by attending the Future Leaders Forum, which was a half-day event prior EMEC. FLF is jointly run by MPI, IMEX and MCI and is packed with educational sessions where the students are introduced to the world of meetings and events. In the forum inspiring industry professionals share their knowledge and the students get to network and make valuable connections with each other as well as the industry professionals. We got excellent advice about how to make the most out of the conference and a lot of tips on how to network.
EMEC was a life-changing experience for me, and I’m not exaggerating. MPI together with the Danish Host Commitee truly did a good job with organising an amazing conference! I was amazed with the warm and welcoming atmosphere, I immediately felt at home with the attendees. I had never been surrounded by people who were so easy to approach, friendly, warm and easy to talk with. We Finns tend to be shy and reserved but I have never been the typical Finn. At EMEC I realised I have finally found my people! I truly made valuable connections and learned so much about the industry in just a few days. My problem was, how to choose which educational sessions to attend since as a student, everything was new to me. At EMEC I realised I was definitely on the right path with my career dreams and the world of meetings and events is the world where I belong. Mark your calendars for: EMEC 2017 in Granada, Spain 5 to 7 March.
At EMEC I learned about the World Education Congress (WEC) and again I was introduced to the opportunity to apply for a MPI Foundation scholarship to attend the conference and got the scholarship! So in June I packed my bags and travelled to US for the first time in my life, accompanied by my classmate who had also received the scholarship. WEC was huge compared to EMEC. Again the atmosphere was extremely warm and I was happy to be reunited with an American friend I made at the FLF in Copenhagen. The content of the conference was more focused on the event industry in North America and it was very interesting to see how things differ between US and Europe. Again, I started my conference by attending the Future Leaders Forum. One of our speakers told us a lesson I will never forget. Never introduce yourself as “just a student” but rather call yourself “a professional in training”. She made us students realise we are the future professionals and we are the future of the event industry. WEC 2017 will be in Las Vegas from 19 to 22 June.
MPI Finland Chapter
After my amazing experiences at EMEC and WEC I wanted to get involved with MPI in Finland. I’ve been active in the student union of my university and the student association of my campus. MPI does important work in promoting the interests of the event industry and getting active in MPI felt like a natural step to me.
I have been a MPI student member for almost a year and what a year it has been! MPI helped me realise I want to work in the event industry and got me truly excited about my future career. I have travelled to Copenhagen and US, made new friends, learned so much in the two conferences I attended, found a work placement and made connections that will help me with my future career. And first and foremost, I have found my people, my community.
Written by Annina Taimio, Member MPI Finland Chapter