Jessica Caverzasi, Meetings Operations Assistant, ESMO
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Jessica Caverzasi, Meetings Operations Assistant for ESMO in Lugano. USI Degree: Master in International Tourism, 2014
How did you start your career?
I started my first experience in event management with an internship at USI, at the Institute for Economic Research, assisting the planning of an academic conference. Thanks to the study programme’s connection with ACTE, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, I had the chance to develop my Master thesis on the topic of business travel. I was afterwards hired by ACTE as EMEA Regional Coordinator. My job was to plan corporate travel forums all over Europe and taking care of various marketing activities. Two years later, I started working for ESMO, the European Society for Medical Oncology, in the Congress and Meetings Operations Departments.
Why did you choose a career in ESMO?
I was looking for a new challenge that could extend my knowledge in event management. ESMO is an international organisation with a wide and interesting portfolio of events.
What is your current role/duties?
I work for the Meetings Operations Department, which is responsible for the planning, management and delivery of several ESMO and partnership meetings. When the strategic concept of the event is created, we need to assess potential locations, draft the initial budget, select the right suppliers. Once a venue is selected, we plan the layout according to the programme, society and delegates’ needs. This requires us to work with several suppliers, sponsors, colleagues and on different items including catering, AV and IT equipment, construction of an exhibition area, venue decoration and signage, social activities, local staff, etc. My role is to support with the logistical organisation, managing some sub-projects independently and assisting Meetings Coordinators with others.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career in ESMO?
You need to be collaborative and flexible. Being able to work in team is essential. Considering that ESMO is an international reality, it is important to respect cultural differences when interacting with colleagues, suppliers, delegates attending the events. In event planning jobs, more specifically, it is required to be precise, reliable and have problem-solving skills.
What positive aspects and qualities meant most to you during the study programme you attended?
At USI it is easy to create good connections with professors and students coming from all over the world. The atmosphere is informal, the size of the campus and of the classes are perfect for learning and interact with classmates. The study programme offers a great mix of theoretical classes and practical experience. Lessons cover a wide range of subjects related to the tourism industry, and they are combined with study tours, groupworks, attendance to industry events, internships. These are all opportunities to build a professional network and get hands-on experience.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
The Master in International Tourism makes you realize how broad this industry is and that a multidisciplinary approach is needed when it comes to tourism. You can learn from different disciplines that are all connected to the tourism industry. Coming to soft skills, I learned how to work in multi-cultural teams, respect deadlines, juggle multiple projects and think out-of-the-box.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
As students, exploit all the possibilities that the university gives you to grow personally and professionally: make connections, join the extracurricular activities, choose an internship that interests you. The Master’s thesis can also be a great opportunity to establish a first contact with companies and deepen your knowledge in a specific field. Once graduated, don’t lose motivation if you don’t immediately find the right job, keep trying different things to understand what suits you best.