Do you know what happened at Samsung-dong last year? The third ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) was held. Do you know how, and by whom this conference was prepared? The PCO organized and presented this international meeting. This article will explain what the PCO is.
PCO (Professional Convention Organizer) is a professional enterprise or person that plans, prepares, and manages international conferences from beginning to end.
The PCO is responsible for gathering information from governments and other sources, creating schedules, handling all facility reservations, (including conference rooms and hotels), providing interpreters, and then publicizing the event. Moreover, when the conference has ended, the PCO also organizes interesting sight seeing excursions. Sometimes PCO is called a conference planner.
The Korean government will give a certificate within this year... As for America, the American government issues a license-CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) to those who fulfill certain requirements and have some experiences in this area. Until now, Korea had no such certificate available.
Luckily, the Korean government will grant such certification within this year. You can get practical education through graduate schools in Hallym University, and the School of Continuing Education at Ehwa Womans University. You might also want to work for a company that is involved in PCO. Most companies hire employees irregularly so sending your resume in advance will be helpful.
Fluent English and persistence... If you want to be a PCO, you must be fluent in English. While preparing for international conferences, the majority of your communication will be in English.
You will need to write business letters and e-mails in English, as well as talk regularly to foreigners, making it imperative that you speak English comfortably.
Fluent English does not necessarily mean getting high TOEIC scores, but rather, speaking in a natural and rhythmic way. You can determine your English fluency by reading weekly magazines and noting how quickly you understand the content. Speaking other languages would also be helpful.
You must also have strong computer skills. Excel and Power Point are basic for PCO to write documents and make accountings. Moreover, you must have creativity and persistence. International conferences require constant planning, designing, and managing. Patience is an important factor for PCO work. Because for a single event, it might take from six months to one year, or even up to a maximum of 2-3 years to prepare.
According to the statistics from The Union of International Associations, there have been 109 international conferences in Korea, ranking Korea 24th in the world in 2000. Until now, many people did not know about PCO and the scale of companies were mainly small or medium-sized enterprises, (about 30 enterprises and 400 people in Korea.)
As globalization increases, international meetings will be held more often and the need for PCO will rise to about 40 thousand. Government also has plans for supporting a sollution free convention industry by building five new convention centers. Therefore, it will certainly be a promising career in the future.
For more information, you can contact to KNTO (Korea National Tourism Organization)Ñhttp://www.knto.or.kr
Koo Sun-mo Desk of International and Social Affair firstname.lastname@example.org