|Economics and Related Studies|
|Business Development Manager (International Development)|
|Politics and public affairs|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Business Development Manager (International Development) in the United Kingdom
There often aren't traditional graduate schemes, but there are lots of entry level jobs out there so consider following organisations, themes and people of interest on LinkedIn to expand your network and awareness of where to look and what to look for.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I work for a large US based engineering and consultancy firm. I sit in the International Development office in London, where our focus is on delivering projects in Africa and Asia in the areas of Economic Growth; Governance, Security and Justice; and Evaluation and Research.
What do you do?
As a Business Development Manager, I work specifically with the Evaluation and Research practice to identify new multi-million pound opportunities for donors including the UK government (DFID, FCO, BEIS etc), and the European Commission. Winning new work is crucial for the success of the business so I manage the pipeline, lead partnership strategies with other organisations, identify teams to deliver the work, and lead winning technical proposals for submission to the client.
I also sit on Gender and Sustainability Working Groups to ensure our business practices are always inclusive, responsible and up-to-date.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
Studying economics at undergraduate level, I quickly realised that I was most interested in people, poverty and social impact. In my second and third years, I diversified my module choices and studied poverty and development specific modules wherever possible. This gave me the grounding in economic growth patterns and constraints throughout the developing world and opened my eyes to the possibility of international development as an industry of interest.
From here, I undertook an MSc in International Development at the University of Bath where I focused on gender, social development and sustainable growth.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Yes - even whilst studying my MSc in International Development I didn't know about the extent of the private sector of the industry. I expected to enter the civil service with the Department for International Development (DFID) or work in the third sector in a charity setting. My first job was in a small development consultancy firm which really opened my eyes to the scale of the industry and the career options open to me.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Winning a huge bid that my team had worked on solidly for months! We rang a large cow bell in the office to signify the win to everyone and celebrated with prosecco and pizza!
What’s your work environment and culture like?
The work culture at my current organisation is great - there's a very diverse workforce and a sociable environment so you get to know every one quickly despite the size.
I have previously traveled to Brussels and Washington for client meetings and workshops, and although my work load is determined by bidding priorities, I have a good work/life balance.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I was a Head STYC and then elected onto the Halifax College Committee in second and third year to help deliver Fresher's week for the 1000 new students. This was a fantastic experience and developed my public speaking, organisational and problem solving skills. I would recommend this to all second and third years looking for practical experience of leadership, as I managed and trained a team of 200 STYCs.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I only recently started this new role so I'm enjoying settling into it, and managing exciting new large-scale bids which we will hopefully win!
I hope to take on line-management duties in the not-so-distant future and eventually manage a larger team of people.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
There is no one way into the international development sector - everyone's journey is different. There often aren't traditional graduate schemes, but there are lots of entry level jobs out there so consider following organisations, themes and people of interest on LinkedIn to expand your network and awareness of where to look and what to look for. I started my career in a small consultancy where I very quickly gained a lot of responsibility that I wouldn't necessarily have been able to do in a larger company. This has ultimately led me to where I am now.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Anything! The sector itself, good places to look for jobs and tailoring applications.
If you like the look of Rebecca’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Rebecca a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Rebecca to be your mentor.