From law to event planning
Roaring crowds, jaw dropping sound and light, an out of body experience as your idol walks on, a once in a lifetime event.
A chandelier ballroom, tables elegantly laid out with fine crystal, centrepieces of red and white carnations, gift boxes tied up in gold ribbon, elegance that remains etched in one’s mind.
Okay, so if you have been to a rock concert or that wedding and have come away feeling like you were transported to a different world, it’s most likely the handiwork of some hard working, creative and dedicated event planner! Event planners are those genies who magically appear and give life to fantasies and dreams! So, if all along you have been thinking that the birthday party you attended (that made you want to be a kid again) was just the handiwork of a creative over zealous friend of the host or the silver wedding anniversary of your friend’s parents (which renewed your faith in marriage) was done by an efficient and artistic aunt- then think again!
So, who are these magicians, these whizzes who appear to effortlessly put together these memorable events and shows?
Meet Machaiah Kalengada, a professional who – yes you read the title right – switched from a career in law to Event Management. While the two professions are poles apart, Machaiah says that it was actually while he was studying to be a lawyer that he found his true calling.
“At 18, when I had just finished boarding school, I so wanted to be a lawyer. However, once I started studying law, I did not have the same interest that I had at 18. Over a period of time, my interests in studies took a back seat. Instead, I spent most of my college time organizing Fests, Moot Court Competitions etc. In a way, these experiences helped me pursue my true calling.”
He had a sort of epiphany just as he was finishing his education in law – when his friends were going out looking for jobs or moving on to study further.
“When I turned 23, I was in my final year of college and all my friends were either getting placed or looking out for jobs or applying for higher studies. It’s then that Life hit me and I decided that I needed to do something with my life. I weighed my options and after speaking to a few close friends and family, decided to get into the Events Industry. I got hired in my very first interview!”
Machaiah has never regretted his decision to change track, though being introspective and a perfectionist to boot, he does sometimes think about the road not taken.
“I am a big self critic and always wonder how life would have been if I was a lawyer. I sometimes feel that it would have been a lot more organised than it is now. My family still can’t understand as to how I manage my professional life and stay organised when my personal life is so unplanned and disorganised. “
But whatever the questions lingering in his head, the thrill of being associated with this industry far outweighs any doubts!
He says that what he loves most about being in event management is
“…the very fact that I get to plan and be a part of those events that everybody looks forward to attending. I like conceptualising and ideating on a brief and when you see that idea being executed, its kind of orgasmic! And I get up every morning wanting to go to work which I don’t think I would have done if I was a lawyer! I also get to meet the most influential people in the industry and when they are at my venue, I am the Boss and that feels good for the Ego. This industry gives you recognition if you are good at your work.”
What keeps Machaiah focused and motivated is the pursuit of fame! In fact he feels that finding the motivation to keep surging ahead is not difficult for him because there is a “constant urge to raise the bar” (no pun intended!)
“…..the desire to do bigger and better events is a huge motivation. In other words, the desire to be famous keeps me going.”
So, what words of advice does Machaiah have for others aspiring to be a part of the Event Management industry. Well, firstly he says it wouldn’t hurt to have a good head on one’s shoulders.
“You have to be outgoing, smart and the one thing that you need to have more than anything else is basic COMMON SENSE. A lot of the skills for this profession is picked up with experience. Every event that you do is a learning experience. I started off as a Production Executive. That really helped me understand the basics. Today, I head the Business Development Division” (in his current job)
It isn’t necessary to have a formal degree in Event Planning/Management because nothing teaches you better than actual hands on experience.
“I don’t think a course will really help. There are courses being offered in Event Management but from what I have seen, most of these courses offer no actual industry input & technical expertise.”
One aspect though which he found invaluable is having a mentor/s to turn to for timely advice and to act as a sounding board.
“My biggest inspiration to join the industry has been my brother, Nikhil Chinapa. In fact, when I decided that I wanted to be a part of this industry, the only person I called for advice was him. He has been my biggest inspiration and mentor. I have always asked him for his views on other career choices that I have done after that. Once I started working, I have looked up to so many seniors and peers whose work ethics and inputs have really helped me shape my career.”
So, is there any drawback to being a part of this industry? Hmmm, well for Machaiah it is not being able to spend as much time as he wants with near and dear ones.
“In this industry, you do miss a lot of your personal life. Balancing between personal and professional life is a huge task especially since you end up working when everybody else is holidaying.”
Though that is a difficult price to pay, Machaiah cannot think of doing anything else professionally. But then again…
“I see my self as an event organizer in some form or the other for the rest of my life. However, at some point of time within the next 3 years, I see myself taking a leap into political and social activism especially in my home town.”
If Machaiah had to start over again, what advice would he give himself today?
“I would make sure that I at least specialized in 1 aspect of law while pursuing Event Management for I know for a fact that people tend to take you more seriously especially when you have a degree to flaunt. With the growth in the industry and things being streamlined, law is going to play a big role in shaping this industry.”
The Event Management industry is a multi million dollar industry – plus its exciting and cool. So, if this is where you want to be then Machaiah should have inspired you to just take the plunge.Even if you are considering another industry, you definitely can take a page or two out of his book!
If you want to talk more to Machaiah or have some questions for him, then do get in touch with us – we will let him know! Scouts Honour!
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