Attending conferences is a serious investment in time, energy and personal costs. So why do students make the decision to dedicate time to travel, attend the conference, and pay for it? Below is a list of reasons, based on the experiences of MES Planning students, for why conferences are important for students attend.

  1. Networking

    The dreaded word that implies awkward conversation! Not to fear – choosing a conference that aligns with your own research means that you and those also in attendance inherently have common interests. This makes introductions and conversation easier and more meaningful. More importantly putting yourself in situations where you are able to discuss you own research interests allows you to establish relationships with people in your field of interest. These contacts could help shape your future research.

  2. londonoppiconfEstablishing Key Issues and Discussions

    Conferences help establish a discourse in planning topics. They also discuss current topics that have yet to be published. This allows participants to grasp the newest information academics are researching.

  3. Meeting Practitioners

    Meeting leading practitioners in person rather than re-tweeting them on social media allows both persons to put faces to names- nothing can really replace in person conversation. Attending conferences shows your knowledge, interest and enthusiasm which are three important traits that leading practitioners for example, look for in research assistants or interns.

  4. Internship or Job Opportunities

    Attending conferences once again portrays your interest and enthusiasm but also shows a serious commitment to the organization or profession. Conferences are an important part of experience and professional development on a resume especially if you do not have direct work experience. The people you meet at these events will become important contacts in your search for future academic research and job opportunities.

The events section of this website is an excellent resource for one stop conference shopping and the links to the associated conference page are also provided. Go ahead get involved and happy conference hunting!

Kaitlyn Blake