The Business and Management sector is huge - there were more than 5.7 million businesses in the UK in 2017*, and this number is set to increase even further over the coming years. If you can see yourself being part of this exciting sector, here’s how you can gain some valuable skills and experience that will look fab on future applications…
Who works in the Business and Management sector?
Roles in the business sector generally fall into two main categories: business management and business consultancy.
Who works in business management?
Business managers can work in general management (overseeing the work of other employees) or hold specific responsibilities for a particular area of an organisation.
Take a look at these business management roles in Unifrog’s Careers library:
- Human resources manager
- Marketing manager
- Network manager
- Credit manager
- Business development manager
Who works in business consultancy?
Consultants offer advice to organisations to help them solve problems and enhance performance. They either work in large companies or consultancy firms.
Our Careers library has a wide range of consultancy roles for you to explore, but here are a few to start with:
- Business analyst
- Environmental consultant
- Management consultant
It’s worth keeping in mind that you don’t necessarily need to work in the business sector to have one of these roles - many organisations across all industries require mangers and consultants. Because of this, you should have plenty of opportunities to choose from if you have the right skills and experience.
What skills will you need to demonstrate?
- Problem solving. No matter which area of business you go into, you will encounter problems. This means you’ll need to be able to think creatively in order to overcome issues, sometimes under pressure.
- Analysis. With the rapid increase of technology, the need for analytical thinking in businesses is also increasing. You’ll need to be able to objectively assess the present state of a business, where it should be in the future, and what to do in order to make that happen.
- Communication. You will need to communicate and negotiate with suppliers, customers, potential investors and employees. Having effective verbal and aural communication skills will help you to understand other people’s priorities and build good working relationships.
Useful tip: Use Unifrog’s Competencies tool to record examples of you demonstrating analysis skills - it will make future applications far easier!
How can you get experience?
Finding experience through school, college or university
- If you’re based in the UK, see if your school can get involved with Young Enterprise or Young Money. These organisations provide school students with hands-on education and training in business and finance. Click here to find out more.
- The Careers Advisor or Careers Service at your college or university might have access to industry links. If that’s the case, it’s worth making the most of them so that you can pursue work experience and work placement opportunities.
- Once you’re at uni, get involved with student societies. There are usually plenty to choose from, specialising in areas such as management, entrepreneurial projects, international business and finance. These societies will give you the opportunity to network with likeminded students and professionals in the industry, gain valuable careers advice, meet alumni and enter competitions.
- Many qualifications related to business include an element of hands-on experience. If you’re considering a Level 3 qualifications, look out for vocational ones (such as BTECs, Cambridge Technicals and NVQs in the UK); if you’re considering university, look for degrees that include a year in industry or internship.
Finding experience elsewhere
- Start a business. You don’t have to be an adult to start your business, and there’s really no better way to get your head around key business concepts such as profit, loss and turnover. It will also give you the opportunity to plan a budget, create branding, advertise and brainstorm ideas for business growth. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
- Social media consultancy. As a young adult growing up in the internet age, you have a serious advantage over many adults. There are books and websites that will teach you the ins and outs of how to effectively use social networking as a promotional tool, and you could even search for a course on Unifrog’s MOOC tool. Learn how to apply these skills to small businesses in your area and offer your services creating, managing and maintaining a blog and social media accounts for a monthly fee.
- Etsy retail. Do you have a craft? Whether your thing is painting, knitting, jewelry or photography, selling your products on Etsy is a great way to make money. Take a look at the other things being sold on Etsy and decide whether or not your products are competitive. Then use this book to get started.
- Dog walking. Once you’ve built up a clientele, dog walking can be a very profitable business. It might be worth volunteering at a dog shelter to begin to make sure it’s for you. You can read more about how to set up a dog-walking business here.
- Grow a network of contacts. Search for networking events on social media and, if you’re 16 or older, reach out to people on LinkedIn. Focus on finding hiring managers and people who have the job you’re interested in, and then send them a connection request with a short message. Mention that you’re interested in what it takes to be in the industry and see if they’re willing to meet up for a coffee to talk about it. Take along a copy of your CV, but don’t ask them for a job at this stage - simply ask them to keep you in the loop if they hear of anything. If you’re lucky, they might allow you to shadow them at work. Use our 'Curating a LinkedIn profile' guide to build up your LinkedIn profile first, and make sure you exercise precaution when meeting up with anyone you don’t know.
- Get MOOCing. Use Unifrog’s MOOC tool to search for ‘Business and development’ or ‘Management and leadership’ courses. A quick search at the time of writing throws up a bunch of useful courses covering topics such as ‘Marketing management’, ‘Global business strategy’ and ‘Leadership theory: the basics’.
- Read. See if your local library holds a copy of ‘Business insider’ and get reading! It’s also worth using Feedly to subscribe to business-related blogs. Knowing what’s happening in the industry will help you both during job interviews and throughout your career.
- Work experience. Nearly all offices have someone who works in business, and nearly all of us know someone who works in an office. If you do, as them to pass on your CV/resume and cover letter to someone who can arrange a work experience placement for you, and then chase this up with a phone call a week later. If that fails, speak with your school’s careers advisor to see if they know anyone in the industry who could help, or reach out to business professionals through social media (see above).
- Apprenticeships. If you live in the UK, there are many apprenticeships within the business sector that you can get in to straight from school or college. You don’t have to go to university and, often, on-the-job learning can be more relevant. Use Unifrog’s Apprenticeships tool to start your search.
- Graduate schemes. Many large graduate recruiters have a general management training scheme which allows graduates to experience several placements in different management areas of the business, typically over two years, in areas such as sales, marketing, finance, human resources and retail. This enables a rounded understanding of the business, after which graduates can specialise when an opportunity is available in their preferred department. Some organisations offer specialised management training schemes for which you apply directly to one of the above areas from the start.
- UK graduate schemes in business management. The majority of large companies across all sectors recruit graduates to business management roles. In this capacity you can work within the public sector, for employers such as the Civil Service, the National Health Service (NHS), which recruits candidates for its Graduate Management Training Scheme, and local government, which operates the National Graduate Development Programme.
- UK graduate schemes in consultancy. When it comes to consultancy, large companies, particularly those in the financial sector, offer a variety of opportunities. In fact, the 'big four' accountancy firms - Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC - are among some of the most well-known organisations offering graduate consultancy roles. The Guardian UK 300: Top consulting employers 2017/18 also lists companies such as McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, IBM, Accenture, Bain & Company and PA Consulting Group as some of the best consultancy organisations to work for.
Other useful links
From the Know-how library:
- Example personal statement: international business and management (UK universities)
- How to stick to a budget (Useful stuff)
- Business, administration and management apprenticeships (UK apprenticeships)
- Volunteering: why it matters and how to start (World of work)
- A guide to work experience (World of work)
- How to get an internship (World of work)
*Source: House of Commons Library Business Statistics Briefing Paper