Events expert Emma returns to UCB to share her experience organising Birmingham's famous Christmas market

December 2019

A former events student from University College Birmingham has revealed her role in organising Birmingham's famous German Christmas market – one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.

Emma Rankin returned to UCB last month to talk with current first year BA Events Management students about her job as an events officer for Birmingham City Council, which has seen her work on a string of major events in the city.

Emma, who also studied BA Events Management at the University, spoke about her work overseeing day-to-day operations at the annual Frankfurt Christmas Market, a familiar sight for any UCB students passing through Birmingham's New Street and Victoria Square during November and December.

The event is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, bringing in more than five million visitors to the city every year.

As well as working on issues such as public safety, security, crowd control and assisting stallholders at the market, Emma explained how she and the City Council's events team undertake meticulous planning for the market long before the festive season begins.

"We start planning at the end of January or beginning of February, so it's all year round," she said.

"It's a small team and the Frankfurt Christmas Market is probably the largest event we work on. It's a really big job but it is a major event for the city."

Along with the Christmas market, Emma's career has seen her get involved in some of the world's biggest sporting events. Having impressed as a volunteer for British Gymnastics during her studies, she quickly secured a job supporting the team at the 2012 Olympics in London.

She also worked on the World Indoor Athletics Championships held in Birmingham in 2018, as well as other major events in the city including Birmingham Pride and St Patrick's Festival.

"What gives me the satisfaction is when you put together events and you can say 'we did this'," she said. "You see crowds enjoying the atmosphere, or athletes performing to the best of their abilities – having everybody enjoying all the hard work you put in is so worth it."

And Emma revealed how her time at UCB played a pivotal role in starting her career – and continues to influence her work today.

"The connections I made while at university enabled me to make a lasting impression," she said.

"One thing I'd say to anyone studying events management is it's really important to get those experiences, make connections and good impressions. If it wasn't for those, I wouldn't be where I am today.

"There are things I learned here that I use every day in my job when it comes to project management, planning and organisational structures," she added. "It gives you the theory that you need to support any work you do – I would definitely recommend it."

UCB offers a variety of specialist courses for anyone looking to pursue a career in the events management sector as well as related areas such as tourism.

Find out more about our range of courses at The Business School here. You can also follow the latest updates from the school on Twitter.

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