Wasted Time a Saving Grace?

I have wasted at least six months of my life. Time I will never get back. Time I spent trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

As an educator of students in event management, for years I have been looking for a quality curriculum to support and substantiate what it is we do in this industry from whence a student could learn.

As mentioned in a previous blog, colleges and universities are now offering certificates and degrees in hospitality and event management–but what is the curriculum and what is it based on? How consistent is the curriculum?

For my master's degree I was required to conduct a literature review on a topic for which I would complete my professional paper to achieve my degree. I chose to conduct my review on current meeting management training manuals and guides.

At the time, Fall of 2008, I read and reviewed 12 different manuals and guides ranging from, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meeting & Event Planning (2nd Edition), (I read the "For Dummies" version also to ensure no bias between idiots and dummies) all the way through to the illustrious Convention Industry Council's A Working Guide for Effective Meetings and Conventions (8th Edition).

The results? Well in my conclusion I determined, "... much of the material was either too convoluted, provided too much detail, or did not present the information in a manner conducive for an individual who is not [already] a full-time meeting professional to learn. Consequently, it can be concluded that a new reference tool...would be a useful and relevant..."  Essentially, I was Goldilocks and wanted to find something "just right."

So I created it. And self-published it. Claimed my degree and went on to incorporate my creation into my classes where I found, in practice, my "just right" wasn't right enough. However, that is not the time I wasted.

No, the time I wasted began three years later (2011) when I came across MBECS. MBECS stands for the Meetings and Business Event Competency Standards and was created as a collaboration between the MPI Foundation and the Canadian Tourism Council. It defines the core of the meeting industry and created the foundation on which we could base our career standards.

I knew this could be the basis on which I could finally create a curriculum for my event management classes–and potentially the industry. So I began to work on one designed around MBECS.

I even asked and received lessons from those with master's degrees in education content creation–how do I create a curriculum that is viable? And so I began to spend copious amounts of hours going through each content section of MBECS to design the curriculum. And I got frustrated, and distracted, and more frustrated by my distractibility, but I continued to work on this project over a long time period.

That is until I received an email, generated by MPI, stating the MPI Foundation was proud to announce the MBECS Curriculum Guide. A guide created "...to provide ideas and tools that allow educators to incorporate the MBECS in their curriculums, helping them provide relevant and quality programming to benefit of their students and institutions and the meeting profession."

Everything I had spent a distracted six months working on had been created by a group of professional content creators, planners, and educators. And it looks really good.

In reality, am I disappointed? No, I am thankful as it is a saving grace. The spring 2015 semester will be the first time I put this curriculum into practice and I am looking forward to it. More than that, I am hoping this does become the standard curriculum offered throughout schools and universities to ensure a strong foundation on which event management education can be consistently based. 

Do you think our industry requires standardization of materials and education in order to be successful?

Posted by Larissa J. Schultz, CMP, MHA

Larissa is a writer, author, and professional speaker in the hospitality industry. She is also an adjunct professor at Glendale Community College teaching in the Hospitality and Tourism program.

Follow Larissa on Twitter: @LarissaJSchultz
Visit Larissa's Website: www.ljsmeetingstrategies.com/

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