Moraine Valley Community College || Business || Meeting Planner || Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Web teleconferencing eliminate the need for meeting planners?
Whether the meeting is for a new product launch, an educational training event, a convention or symposium, there is no substitute for "face-to-face" human contact. Email or phone calls work in a pinch and the new technology can save companies money on travel and entertainment expenses. But the loss of new ideas generated, and relationships established in live meetings are immeasurable to any company. A savvy meeting planner will work with clients and help the companies to realize the best return on their investment. In certain instances, the best investment of company money is a meeting; in another situation it is a web conference. That will be the meeting planner's role to work with the organization as a consultant, helping them realize their maximum potential. Business boils down to people working with people. In Moraine Valley's curriculum, our students will learn the proper use of web conferencing as an added feature, incorporating this knowledge into the "whole meeting mix."

Will the Internet replace meeting/special event planners?
The Internet is a highly informative, irreplaceable "research tool" and one of the many tools planners use to make an event successful. The Internet is a planner's ally not enemy. In the Moraine Valley Meeting Planner Program our students learn to fill the toolbox with many tools rather than just one. Our graduates learn to use the right solution to solve client needs.

Do Meeting/Special Events Planners need a four-year degree?
No, a four-year degree is not required for entry-level positions in the meetings industry. Like most professions, a four-year degree is highly recommended. Our program is designed to get your "foot in the door." Education above and beyond the certificate enhances your advancement opportunities and your personal satisfaction.

What if I already have a four-year degree?
Make an appointment with the program coordinator to discuss your options. Often, prior credit can be used to reduce the necessary number of hours you will need to complete certificate requirements.

What if one becomes a meeting/special event planner and decides it's not for him or her? What other career options are available?
The best thing about working in the travel industry is that the skills are transferable. One could easily find work in the hotel industry, catering industry, state and city tourism offices, as well as in the sales offices of every facet of the tourism industry.

What about nontraditional benefits?
The Meeting Planning/Events industry gives the opportunity to travel the world and stay at some of the finest destinations, hotels and resorts in the world.

What about travel?
Travel depends on your position. Most of the time you will be doing the research and the planning in the office, but there will be travel before, during and many times after the conference. Again the scope of the responsibility of your position determines just how much traveling you will be doing.

What are some of the most important skills required of a meeting planner?

  • Networking
  • Selling, negotiating and bargaining
  • Translating client preferences into actual events
  • Keeping up with products, trends, and client tastes
  • Forecasting trends
  • Working as a team player
  • Understanding Return on Investment
  • Developing a budget and monitoring costs
  • Communicating clearly
  • Competitiveness
  • Handling unexpected and stressful situations calmly
  • Working well with clients
  • Attention to detail
  • Projecting an image of integrity, enthusiasm, and self-confidence
  • Working with minimal supervision
  • Keeping track of numerous responsibilities at once
  • General office skills
  • Organizing, directing, and coordinating large-scale activities

Does the program include an internship experience?
Though not required of students, Moraine Valley's Meeting Planner program provides an internship component, which allows students to gain valuable experience through a first-hand view of the industry. Students will work 200 hours during the semester at approved sites, as well as meet in a weekly seminar to discuss experiences and research issues in the field. By participating in an internship, students will make strong professional contacts and form concrete career goals. To qualify for an internship, students must :

  • Complete at least 75 percent of the certificate requirements
  • Possess a GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Submit an application
  • Seek the internship coordinator's consent

For applications and information contact Mary Beth Walsh, Professor and Internship Coordinator at (708) 974-5569 or walsh@morainevalley.edu.