James F.

Commercial Graduate
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

James F.
United Kingdom

My employment

Commercial Graduate
United Kingdom
Engineering and manufacturing / Legal services
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Commercial Graduate in the United Kingdom

There is no such thing as failure

What I do

As a commercial function our role is to ensure the business is commercially viable. We're involved right from the early stages of any potential bids through to completion and we also have an important role in contract management. Day to day tasks involve processing bids, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory demands (export control, taxation, etc.), drafting and negotiating contracts, protecting the companies interests through ensuring adequate measures such as non-disclosure agreements are in place, etc.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Communication, time/resource-management, stakeholder-management and a thorough understanding of commercial, contract and regulatory law.

What I like most

The variety and scale of the contracts we work on. From huge defence contracts which run into the billions down to the smaller but vitally important research and technology contracts which we can use to develop our intellectual property portfolio and hopefully exploit at a later stage!

What I like least

As with any large organisation, process and policies can sometimes slow down and impede what I see as my role within the company - which can, at times, be frustrating.

What surprised me most

The amount of responsibility that I've been given, including ensuring that bespoke contracts adequately protect our interests and managing bids and contracts which run into the millions.

Additionally, exposure to a wide number of people within the Company and the willingness of those people to sit down and discuss different aspects of the job with you and help you on your journey.

How I looked for work

Going to careers events which were run by the university and researching areas which I thought I'd be interested in on the Internet.

How I found out about the job

Already worked there

The recruitment process

1) Online application,
2) Online verbal and numerical reasoning tests,
3) 2 day assessment centre involving interviews, budgetary exercises, and team-work events.

My career goals when I graduated

Enjoy the work I do!

My career history

Apprenticeship as an aircraft fitter, reserve firefighter and now commercial graduate.

What has helped my career to progress

Appreciating that nothing is free, the more you put into life (be that studying or work) the more you will get out.

There is no such thing as failure (provided you have done you level best) only learning points from which you can use to improve yourself.

Courses taken since graduation

Professional courses.

How my studies have helped my career

Massively, law is a really good subject for critical thinking and analysis. I use the things I learned from studying law every day, and my colleagues often rely on my knowledge and experience when they have law-related queries. Moreover, the confidence and knowledge I have gained through studying law has definitely been reflected in my feedback from colleagues and managers.

What surprised me about my career so far

The level of responsibility and the large scope which the Company is involved with, especially from a research and technology perspective. Also the wide number of partners and different countries which the business works with.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

In-house counsel.

My advice to students considering work

Always aim to do a job which challenges you and rewards you in equal measure. We all want different things from work - some want money, others want status, and some people like to help others - find what makes you tick and keep trying until you get there.

Always look to how you can better yourself and progress and never stop challenging yourself (otherwise things get really boring!)

My advice about working in my industry

Working in the defence, aerospace and space sector is a really cool place to be if you like technology! If you're interested in any aspect of defence, aerospace and space then put yourself out there and start networking - you'll be surprised how many people are eager to talk about their passion and work.

Other advice

Aim to live life so you have no regrets - its better to try and fail than to look back in regret.

Contacting me

I'm happy to talk about any aspect of my work, experience and previous work history which I am allowed to talk about, and I'm happy to help (as much as I can) you find the right person within the Company if you're looking for something other than Commercial.

Next steps...

If you like the look of James’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send James a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask James to be your mentor.

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