Is it possible to change careers after studying engineering?

unhappy engineering graduate
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Dilemma:

I am a Nigerian engineering graduate, but I also have a strong passion for entertainment. I often get young entertainers, aspiring artist and singers asking for my advice because they think I can give them useful tips on how to develop their talent. I recently partnered with a friend to host a music concert in the streets that was quite successful. But, I think it is time to take it to the next level.

The problem is that I don’t know what course to follow. Is there a short course available - any alternative than going to school? I want to manage talent and organise concerts. What career advice do you have for me?

Kyriaki says:

It’s great that you are passionate about entertainment, but you have to be sure that this is what you want to do instead of working as an engineer. Perhaps it would help if you remember why you chose to study engineering in the first place. There are many different opportunities in this industry, and it might be worth checking out what is available before changing careers.


But, if you are interested in talent management and event management or combining the two, you should know that it’s never too late. And to answer your question, you can skip school entirely. But you may need to take additional steps to help you equip yourself with the kind of knowledge you need.

If you want to work in the entertainment industry and manage talent, then you want to become a talent/entertainment agent. In this role, you can work with actors, authors, film directors, musicians, models, professional athletes, writers, screenwriters, broadcast journalists or other people in the business to help them find jobs, connect them with the right people and organise tours and book events. There is no specific path for this career. In fact, many start as talent themselves and then move into agent positions regardless their educational backgrounds.

The secret of becoming a successful talent agent is having a big circle of contacts. Once you manage to build a healthy network, you can start promoting people and their work. Apart from that, you will need to learn and understand the industry, get to know all the negotiating secrets, be business-savvy and have excellent communication, organisational and decision-making skills to make the right decisions for yourself and clients.

Event management is an entirely different beast to talent management, and it might be hard to combine the two. It would be better to specialise in either one or the other. But, depending on who you work with e.g. musicians, dancers, actors or even your talented friends; you can learn what it takes to organise a concert or any other form of public appearance.

Again, you don’t need a degree for it, but knowledge in business administration, marketing, media, performing arts, communications or public relations can give you a head start. Both in the UK and the US there are many programmes available that can help you improve your skills in these areas.

Nobody said that changing careers is easy, but if you are serious about it, you need to be prepared to go the extra mile. You need to make calls, manage calendars and databases, organise and schedule meetings and run errands.

If you want to get some experience in the role or get a taste of it before you fully commit to it, you can find an already established agent or event manager and work as an intern or assistant by his/her side. This should help you learn how the industry works.

When you have acquired enough experience in the field, you can choose to work for an agency or artist management company, become self-employed or set up your own agency. Strong reputation and attracting top performers should help you stand out from the competition, no matter where you are based geographically.

Hopefully, this answers your question, but in case you have any other queries don’t hesitate to contact us!