Case study

Business development executive — Chris Bush

Chris's knowledge of his university town paid off when he seized an opportunity as an intern in destination management

What degree did you study and where?

I attended York St John University studying BA Music Performance (graduating in 2010) and MA Music Composition (graduating in 2012).

How did you get your job?

I applied for an internship opportunity via York St John University just over a year after completing my postgraduate degree. Subsequently, Make It York offered me a position after completing the internship.

What's a typical working day like?

I work as part of a team dedicated to supporting York-based businesses and developing the city's economy. This often involves interacting with local business owners, offering information and signposting to other available support services and service providers where they can find what they need to start up and grow their business.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I feel that the work I am involved in makes a positive impact on the city. I enjoy and gain most satisfaction from situations where I, or a member of my team, are able to assist a business owner in starting-up, expanding, accessing funding, recovering from hardship or seizing an opportunity.

The decision to apply for an internship has been a substantial catalyst in my personal development

What are the challenges?

The business 'world' in the UK, as it is across the globe, is closely tied to the political one. As such this landscape is forever changing; opportunities come and go and there are many highs and lows. With this in mind, each member of our team focuses on a specific area. My specialism is supporting start-up businesses, which I thoroughly enjoy.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I imagine many would argue that my degree is not relevant to my current role. However, I believe that I am still honing skills that began developing while at university. Many of these skills are directly transferable to my current career path, the most pertinent being organisation, communication and information technology skills. Furthermore, my degree subject is still very relevant to my life. I am still an avid musician/composer in my leisure time.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Looking back, the decision to apply for an internship has been a substantial catalyst in my personal development. My knowledge and confidence has increased dramatically and I am keen to maintain that pace until reaching a new milestone in my life. I have learned that challenging myself can be very rewarding and I make the most of every opportunity that comes along. In short the sky is the limit.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

Destination management is all about places, people and information, so it is important to have a keen interest in the place you live/work and make an effort to absorb as much about it as you can.

Communication is key: my role involves regular correspondence with clients and stakeholders on behalf of the business team via email and telephone. I am also personally meeting and connecting with people from a variety of different backgrounds. With this in mind, having good verbal and written communication skills is essential.

I believe that a portion of my success has come from a willingness to seize opportunities as they arise. This behaviour led to my role at Make It York and is how I will approach my career in the future.

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