Media & Communication BA (Hons)
Daniel’s love for events started when he visited the NEC for The Gadget Show Live in his teens, leading him to choose BCU to build on that passion, benefitting from our strong links within his chosen industry and ultimately leading him to work as an Account Manager at the very place where his journey began.
“After being on an episode of The Gadget Show and seeing the production of it and all the work that goes into it really gave me a passion for TV. So, I started to research courses that I could study at university, and that’s when I found BCU.
I already knew Birmingham pretty well, despite being from Peterborough, and I liked how BCU let you pick a choose what modules you did on the course. Every other university I’d looked at would give you the choice of two routes, whereas BCU would let you take modules from both routes and combine them. So, I could do TV in one module, events in another, and build up a varied knowledge of the media.
I needed that flexibility to give me time to figure out what I wanted to do after graduating. The variety helped me build up a skill set which I could use going out into the world of work. BCU also had contacts everywhere that you could work with or network with later on.
Growing up in Peterborough, it wasn’t very media centric. When I got onto the course and started chatting to other students, they came from London, Manchester and Birmingham, all media hotspots. I kind of felt like I was going to be left behind, because the only media experience I’d had was this one-day filming The Gadget show. But being in a culture hub such as Birmingham, I was able to build my knowledge of the media both inside and outside of my lectures.
My course gave me first-hand experience in the industry I wanted to work in, as well as allowing me to build up a professional portfolio that I can showcase off the potential employers. The University has a very close relationship with the NEC Group so within my first few months of being a student, I was part of the NEC Events Week live scheme, which entailed myself and other students spending three days looking at the behind the scenes of the Exhibition Centre in the build-up to AutoSport International.
This, in-turn, led to me being accepted onto the Elite Scheme, which included further mentorships throughout my university years to strengthen my knowledge and industry relations. I got an insight as to how a venue of this size and scale works to put on world-class events.
I also did a work placement at Celebrity Juice on ITV2, where I stood in as one of the main guests on the show during the technical rehearsals. This included sound checking, script reading and working the with floor manager, director and producers to be able to effectively mark out the shots needed for the taping of the show.
As well as developing my skills and knowledge, BCU also helped me develop professionally. The Careers+ team helped me build a CV that would be attractive to employers, and the work experience I did during my studies showcased that variety of skills I’d been learning on the course.
But after I graduated, it felt like it was job rejection after job rejection, which was really tough. I was trying to break into the events industry at the height of COVID. I had to remember to not give up, persevere and keep trying to find a job. My advice, if you’re in that position, is to keep up the job search, keep applying, take the time to check your applications over and do your research with every application. By the time I was invited to interview, I knew everything about the company.
Since graduating, I have worked in a few different roles. I worked as part of a NHS Primary Care Training Hub for a year during COVID, assisting with facilitating online and in person training events for the Training Hub, which tied in nicely to my degree as I had experience in Events Management. I then worked as part of the Customer Contact Team for the NEC, answering any incoming queries about the exhibitions and shows hosted in the exhibition spaces, dealing with any complaints and resolving issues and assisting the wider group with customer relations. Throughout, I have stayed close to Birmingham, I found that a lot of the jobs in the industry were more consistent in this city compared to others.
Nowadays, I’m working as an Account Manager in the Commercial Partnerships Division at The NEC Group; the company who own the Exhibition Centre, two arenas and two conference venues in Birmingham, as well as the upcoming Bradford Live venue in Yorkshire. Our department looks after the brand partnerships we have; a good example of one of our major clients is Utilita Energy, who own the naming rights for the Arena Birmingham in the city centre.
We bring on new clients, manage the relationships with existing clients, as well as seek out new opportunities to grow the business within the city and the wider events industry. I’m loving every minute! The role also came with the opportunity to study a Level 7 Apprenticeship, something I am currently looking into.
At our company, we spend three days in the office and two days working from home, but the reality is you could be on-site any day of the week meeting with clients, doing show rounds and having in-person meetings.
First thing I do after getting into work is check my emails for any event updates that have come in overnight, as one part of my role is to collate various pieces of information about the events we host and distribute it out to our partners for them to absorb. One of our partners does activations, such as pop-up stands, during Arena events, so I’m often sending out emails with show times, expected attendance and anything that could be unusual about the show.
Every week, we have a whole team catch up where we can use this a forum to discuss any issues we are having and find solutions together, as well as shout about our work and achievements within the team.
I also have regular catch ups with our clients to discuss what aspects of their partnerships are working well and what they can utilise further. We offer them new ideas to maximise their brand presence across our venues and discuss anything that we can work on to make the partnership stronger.
My days can really vary, one day I could be in the office doing admin, the next I could be on-site at the Arena facilitating the construction of a new bar. Every day brings new challenges and the opportunity to connect with new people across the industry and business. One thing about our campus is the no end of weird and whacky events we host, and my job works across all of them. I could be leaving the office one day and see teenagers gathering at the arena ready for a pop concert, fighting through the crowd of businesspeople who have just attended a conference in one of our Halls.
If I didn’t go to BCU, I wouldn’t be where I am now. To me, I AM BCU means community. I’ve built up a network of contacts through BCU, of my former classmates, tutors and external clients. And support; everyone supports each other in whatever they do, and they push you in the right direction. “