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Comprehensive Exam
Candidate Portfolio
NOTE: The format for submitting portfolios has changed.
No hardcopy portfolios will be accepted after October 1, 2019.

Every CTSM candidate must complete a portfolio of work in order to receive CTSM certification. Portfolios may be submitted only after the 28 session requirements have been completed. The first step is to register online. Once your registration has been accepted, you will be assigned a CTSM graduate advisor to work with. It is important to note that once you register for your portfolio, you must complete and submit your document to the CTSM office within ONE YEAR from your registration date. If not submitted within the one-year timeframe, you will have to re-register and repay the fee.

For Candidates desiring to be recognized as a new graduate at EXHIBITORLIVE, they must have passed the Comprehensive Exam and submitted their portfolio for review on or before November 1st of the previous year. Do not wait until the last minute. The review committee is only able to review a limited number during the months of November and December; additional submissions will be reviewed after EXHIBITORLIVE in March. Begin now and submit as soon as you have your portfolio ready. The Review Committee holds monthly reviews as needed. Portfolios received by the 15th of one month will be reviewed the beginning of the following month.

Portfolio Registration Form
This is the first step to get started on your portfolio.

Portfolio Requirements

Submission Instructions
When you have completed your portfolio, the following are required:
  • Request a username and password from wlewis@ctsm.com for the online portal
  • Save portfolio as a PDF – Last Name, First Name, CTSM Portfolio (e.g. Stewart, Martha, CTSM Portfolio)
  • Maximum file size 20 MB.
  • Log in to the portal using provided username and password and upload portfolio
  • Email wlewis@ctsm.com when you are finished uploading so we can assign reviewers.
  • Send digital headshot to wlewis@ctsm.com
  • Your image should reflect your professionalism. Here are the required guidelines and some tips to create a successful image for submission: Photo Requirements

Tools to Help Get Started

Getting Started
Download this document to get started on your outlining:
  • Outline Template for Portfolio Development
Download these documents as examples of methods used to organize and outline in preparation for writing:
  • Hope Arnold, CTSM candidate
  • Jason Thomas, CTSM

Portfolio Checklist for Candidates
Download this document to use as a checklist to be sure that you have included everything that is expected in each section of your portfolio.

Portfolio Pre-Submission Checklist for Candidates
Download this document to use as a pre-submission checklist so you have properly prepared your portfolio.

Portfolio Evaluation Form
Download this document to use as a checklist before submitting your portfolio to be sure you have included everything that the Review Committee looks for.

710: Preparing, Developing, and Submitting a Quality CTSM Portfolio
This online session will help you get started on your portfolio.

Building a Portfolio

Your portfolio is a collection of materials which showcase your tradeshow marketing abilities and your application
of essential learning components gained through your attendance at EXHIBITOR conference seminars.
Your portfolio will include your educational and career background; company background; introductory
remarks about your program; overall corporate objectives for tradeshow/event marketing; management of
exhibit design/production; a demonstration of how key messages were integrated into your program; successes and
areas of improvement for trade show activities and what you have learned from your EXHIBITOR education.
Here are some sample portfolios:

Wendy Wallman
Good Example of Online
Portal Format
Kirsten Perry
Good example from a medical technology company perspective
Hallie Zacharczuk
Good section III show background & measurable goals
Gina Patzer
Portfolio based upon a non-profit association's event
Tammy Straw
Overall good portfolio
Heidi Benedum
Overall good portfolio with an inline booth presence
Jennifer Cheatham
Well written from beginning to end
Tammy McLean
A very unique & complex event
James Loveridge
Very good overall trade show management portfolio

Support From Advisors
You will be assigned an advisor to assist you through the development of the portfolio. It is your responsibility
to keep regular communication flowing between the two of you and commit to a time schedule for submitting
portions of your portfolio for review. Your advisor will review your final document before it is submitted
to the CTSM office and then notify the CTSM executive director that your portfolio is ready for submission.

Your portfolio will be evaluated by a review committee, made up of the CTSM Executive Director, the
Academic Advisor, and EXHIBITOR's Conference Strategist. Each section will be judged on the basis of
"acceptable" or "revise/add." Receiving all "acceptable" comments results in portfolio approval. "Revise/add"
comments mean that the section needs further development in order to be approved for certification. You
will be asked to resubmit with further evidence of mastery in that category in order to meet the portfolio
requirement for the CTSM program.

Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the portfolio registration cost?
The fee for portfolio registration is $245.

How long do I have to complete my portfolio?
You have one year from the date that you register without having to repay your registration fee. If you fail to complete your portfolio within one year, you will have to re-register and repay the fee. Depending upon how much time has lapsed, you may need to be assigned to a different advisor also.

When should I register for my portfolio?
Register when you have completed your 28 (23 required and 5 elective) sessions.

Do I have to pass my exam before I can register for my portfolio?
No. You must have your 28 sessions taken prior to registering; however, after completing your sessions, you may either study for your exam or work on your portfolio, whichever best fits your schedule.

Is it required to take the 710 portfolio class?
No, it is not required. It is highly recommended though because it gets you off to a great start. The class covers everything that should be included in each section of your portfolio. It greatly raises the likelihood of having your portfolio accepted on its first submission.

When is the best time to take the 710 portfolio class?
Many candidates like to take it after they have attended their first conference because it helps them know what type of ?evidence? to be collecting in folders for each portfolio section. Others like to take it right before they are ready to start writing their portfolio so that all requirements are fresh in their minds as they begin developing their document. This is really up to each individual.

Our company does not measure our trade show participation. How will I be able to complete the measurements and results sections?
Having measurable goals/objectives, tracking them and reporting results is critical to a CTSM portfolio. Even if this is not required by your company, you must determine some components of your trade show and/or event program that you could measure and begin doing so on your own.

I don't have responsibility for the marketing communications at our company. How will I be able to complete the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) section of the portfolio?
Be sure to connect with the individuals at your company who are responsible for IMC. Let them know what you are doing, how it is important to tie their responsibilities to yours, and ask them if they will share their goals/objectives, strategies, tactics, and results with you so that a well-unified program can be presented.

Does the portfolio have to be written about my management of only 1 show, or can I refer to several shows or my annual schedule?
The preferable way is to focus on only 1 show or event, and candidates find that this is the easiest way also to demonstrate a well-managed program. However, in some instances this doesn?t always work well for an individual. If you feel you need to vary from the 1 show focus, be sure to discuss your situation with your advisor and/or the CTSM program director.

I am on the supplier side of the industry and I don?t manage trade shows or events like a corporate trade show manager does. How will I be able to meet the current requirements and complete my portfolio?
If you are not responsible for the management of your own company's presence at an industry event, then partner with one of your clients with whom you have an excellent relationship. Ask if you can use your partnership as a case study in a portfolio you are writing for certification in trade show and/or event marketing.

How long should the portfolio be?
The average length of portfolios is 25-45 pages for the document itself, with additional pages added as appendices if individuals wish to add supporting documents. However, the real issue is not length, but rather have you included all of the required details necessary to meet the criteria as concisely as possible.


Contact CTSM

Program Administrator
Wendy Lewis
310 S. Broadway, Suite 101
Rochester, MN 55904

Telephone: 507.424.4881
Fax: 507.289.5253

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