A placement year in America and work experience in sales convinced Edward's employers he was right for the job...
I chose my international business studies degree at Sheffield Hallam University because it covered all aspects of business that I found extremely appealing. I also thought it would provide me with good experience for a career once I’d graduated.
The subjects I studied were varied and included international marketing, e-business, accounting and international financial markets.
I also really liked the fact that this course offered a placement year with the possibility of going abroad. I was lucky enough to secure a placement in the US and worked in a trainee management position in the hospitality industry. I really enjoyed my time there and it was good to get some practical experience to back up the theory from the course. I think this part in particular and the fact that my degree was international appealed to my current employers as their head office is in America.
I also had some previous sales experience, which I think also helped to secure my job. My first job after leaving university was with a broadband provider, working in their call centre. Although not specifically related to what I do now, it did provide me with some essential skills that employers look for, such as communication, IT and customer service skills.
I think my degree has definitely helped in my role as a business development manager as many of the specific modules have given me an understanding of the way certain things work in the business world. For example, part of my job is to sell e-commerce solutions and finance systems and the e-business and accounting subjects from my degree have been invaluable for understanding this. I also produce a lot of marketing material and organise events and the marketing component of my course has been helpful with this.
My actual day to day activities vary and may range from cold calling and arranging meetings with potential clients to responding to tenders, preparing proposals and demos, and attending conferences and training events. I feel my degree has given me a good understanding of business and this allows me to have confidence when speaking to potential clients. This in return gives them confidence in me and the company I work for and helps to lead to successful deals.
For anyone wanting to enter this career, I would say that a business degree will definitely help. But having some sort of sales experience, even if it’s just working in a call centre, will also be useful. Make sure you know what is going on in the industry and be enthusiastic.
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