Trade fairs are the perfect opportunity for personal exchange. But what does the trade fair management do when precisely these encounters are no longer possible due to the corona pandemic? Our bachelor’s graduate Matthias Pollmann, Vice President of Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse, was able to give us an immediate answer to this question: Of course, he is working in home office and hopes to return to normality soon. In our interview, Matthias Pollmann told us how his international team is dealing with the current challenge and how his CBS studies prepared him for his current position.
CBS: Why did you decide on the “European Business Administration” study course at our Cologne campus?
Matthias Pollmann: I wanted to study in English. I was also attracted by the opportunity to learn another foreign language. At that time, I decided to study Spanish. The small learning groups were a further argument for studying at the CBS.
CBS: What did you like best about your studies at the CBS?
Matthias Pollmann: Small learning groups, an international environment, and the great practical relevance of the study programme!
CBS: What does a typical working day look like for you today?
Matthias Pollmann: I don’t have a typical working day. My team and I organise trade fairs both in Cologne and worldwide. Often a working day develops completely differently than I had imagined in the morning – on the way to the office. But this is what makes my work so varied!
CBS: What do you like about your work?
Matthias Pollmann: I am happy that I get to meet so many different and great people – whether as a company partner, exhibitor or among the employees. I am also excited by the international field of activity.
CBS: Which typical cliché about your current position doesn’t apply?
Matthias Pollmann: I don’t really know a typical cliché in my job. However, many of my friends wonder how much preparation time it takes to organize and launch a complete trade fair.
CBS: What professional challenges does the Covid 19 pandemic present you with?
Matthias Pollmann: The corona crisis has moved my team and me to working increasingly from home. From a technical point of view, most meetings can be held digitally, but there is also a lack of personal exchange with the various trade fair teams. The biggest challenge at the moment, however, is surely still the planning of our exhibitions under the new conditions with Covid 19. The reactions of our customers and partners show me that people are looking forward to the personal exchange again after the crisis and trade fairs offer the perfect opportunity for this.
CBS: Does the crisis possibly also open up new opportunities and perspectives for you and your work area?
Matthias Pollmann: Trade fairs will also change after the crisis and digital offers will play a greater role. Koelnmesse has been maintaining an online business network for the global furnishing industry for some time now. Basically, I believe that trade fairs as a marketing tool will emerge stronger from the crisis. Only trade fairs create an encounter that cannot be portrayed virtually in this way. The concentrated energy that unfolds when a large number of people come together for a short time and the direct, personal, emotional exchange – that’s what trade fairs are for me. I hope that I can experience this feeling again soon in Cologne.
CBS: What are your career plans for the next few years?
Matthias Pollmann: I would like to design and implement many more new events at home and abroad for my employer.
CBS: How did studying at the CBS prepare you for your current position?
Matthias Pollmann: In my position communication is of utmost importance. The rhetoric courses and presentation seminars have helped me a great deal in ensuring that I enjoy speaking to large audiences today.
CBS: What would you give prospective students as advice?
Matthias Pollmann: Be curious, make use of the many offers at the CBS – also outside the curriculum – and invest a lot of time in internships and stays abroad. And don’t forget: Enjoy Cologne – a great city for studying!
CBS: Thank you very much for the interview!