Ricardo Simoes learned his craft setting up for concerts, such as one attracting up to 78,000 Madonna fans in Portugal.
The 27-year-old dealt with stage builders, hospitality workers, security officers, cleaners and box office staff members while working for a Lisbon event management company.
But Mr Simoes has learnt a lot more since starting Master of Business Administration (MBA) studies at The University of Queensland's Business School.
Now living in West End and studying fulltime for a year, Mr Simoes is part of the MBA's leadership enhancement program.
He joined students at Suncorp Stadium on May 15 and heard from AEG Ogden director Rod Pilbeam about leadership challenges in operating venues such as Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
When he mentioned his work history to Mr Pilbeam, an invitation was offered for Mr Simoes to see preparations for a professional bull-riding event at the Entertainment Centre.
"I spent so much time talking to Rod and venue general manager Trish McNamara. They had so many stories and I had so many stories," Mr Simoes said.
"I really wanted to learn as much as possible from them at that moment.
"It added so much to what I had learned in my work and in the classes at UQ. You can learn so much about how to do things differently," he said.
Mr Simoes worked for Portugal's biggest show promoters on events such as Cirque du Soleil productions, festivals, and concerts for Madonna, Metallica and Katy Perry.
"Those promotion companies are usually small, so everybody does everything. You do the marketing, production, sales and supervise at the venues.
"I have leadership experience from that. You have 3000-plus people working for you at the venues when festivals are held.
"There, you really have to open the gates on time, or the fans get upset, so everybody does what they are required to do on time."
When it came time to return to studies, Mr Simoes decided to come to UQ because he had heard good reports about the uni, the MBA course and about Brisbane.
"I wanted to learn more about management and managing people. In every type of business you deal with people.
"I found the MBA at UQ last year. It had great references and the uni is well-ranked. I am enjoying it and learning a lot."
Mr Simoes said he was unsure what he would do following the completion of his MBA, but expected to hone his skills in show management or consultancy.
"I would like to develop the skill I am learning in the MBA program, so I could continue in show management or start my own business in environmental sustainability and new technologies."