Strategic Business Development & Entrepreneurship

Gies students majoring in Strategic Business Development & Entrepreneurship are leaders, decision makers, and insightful thinkers who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Here those qualities will be supported and encouraged through a curriculum that trains you in the skills you need to develop and manage new businesses, either as independent startups or new business units within existing companies. With a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Business Development & Entrepreneurship through the Department of Business Administration, you will be prepared for a career as an innovator with an existing organization, a manager in a creativity-driven field, or a developer of new business ventures.

Entrepreneurship requires vision, and Gies students are encouraged to be bold as they consider career paths in business development, consulting, private equity, product management, venture capital, and more. Some students may even start their own business while pursuing this major.

Below you will find resources for three paths many SBDE majors pursue:

  • Entrepreunership
  • Business Development
  • Consulting

Entrepreneur Resources

Should I become an Entrepreneur?

Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss, working on your own terms, or having unlimited earning potential?  Becoming an entrepreneur is a life changing decision. Sometimes it just happens naturally and, before you know it, you're an entrepreneur. However most times it requires a deep, possibly life changing self-analysis.

Join the iVenture Accelerator: the educational accelerator for top student startups

25 Essential Entrepreneur Resources

When you're starting a business, where do you go to get the help, advice and tools you need? There are plenty of resources out there -- so many, in fact, that you might have trouble sorting through them all. We cut through the clutter, selecting 25 essential resources for startup small-business owners.

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Entrepreneurship Resources, Advice and How-To's

From determining whether or not entrepreneurship is really right for you, to uncovering your strongest passions, finding the right type of business for your skill sets and learning how to help solve meaningful problems for your audience, there's a lot to learn.

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The Entrepreneur’s Handbook: 120 Great Tools and Resources for Entrepreneurs and Startups

Whether you are starting a new business or scaling your business to new heights, these are some of the most useful entrepreneur resources you will ever need.

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1871

1871 exists to inspire, equip, and support founders, growth scalers and innovators building extraordinary businesses.

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Impact Engine

Our mission is to bring more capital to a market where financial returns are linked to positive social and environmental impacts. We manage funds for institutions and individuals that invest in for-profit, positive-impact businesses in private markets, and we bring community together in service of building the impact investing field.

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How to Become a Young Entrepreneur

So, you want to be an entrepreneur but you’re not sure how to get started? Well, I’ve got you covered! Check out my step-by-step guide on how to become a young entrepreneur.

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Business Development

What does a business development manager do?

Overview

Business development managers are responsible for helping grow businesses by finding new opportunities, researching leads, establishing relationships with potential clients and arranging appointments for sales executives. Additional responsibilities include:

  • Research prospective accounts in targeted markets, pursue leads and follow through to a successful agreement.
  • Understand the target markets, including industry, company, project, company contacts and which market strategies can be used to attract clients.
  • Collaborate with design and sales teams to ensure that requirements are met.
  • Maintain relationships with current clients and identify new prospects within the area you have been assigned.
  • Have a strong understanding of company products, competition in the market and positioning.
  • Follow the latest industry developments and stay up-to-date on corporate competitors.

Day to day activities might include:

  • researching organisations to find new customers and identify who makes the decisions
  • ‘cold calling’ to arrange meetings at customers’ premises
  • finding out what an organisation needs and work with a team to plan proposals and pricing
  • selling products and services to new and existing customers
  • negotiating with customers and build positive relationships
  • going to events and conferences to gain information on market trends and competitors
  • writing reports and make presentations to customers and senior management
  • identifying new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
  • forecasting sales targets and make sure they’re met
  • delivering training to business developers and junior sales teams within your organisation


What do I need to do to become a business development manager?

In this job you’ll need excellent communication and IT skills. You’ll also need to work to deadlines and have an understanding of how businesses operate. Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management.

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • IT
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

What is a typical business development career path?

A career in business development is challenging but can also be incredibly rewarding. At most companies, joining the business development team is a great choice for recent college graduates looking to get their foot in the door. Most organizations won’t hire entry-level candidates without past sales experience right into a closing role, so starting off in business development is a great way to get on the path to sales. That being said, sales isn’t the only long-term career path for business development professionals.

Business development representative

A business development representative (BDR) is an entry-level position that involves prospecting and qualifying early-stage leads as they enter the funnel. On a day-to-day basis, BDRs are cold calling and emailing prospective buyers in the hope of booking sales appointments.

Joining a company as a BDR is a great way to learn about the business quickly and gain valuable experience interacting with prospective clients. This role often carries a quota, so it’s important to take that into consideration before applying. If you’re comfortable working in a fast-paced environment that is based on metrics, BDR could be a good fit.

As a BDR, you’ll also gain valuable skills to propel you to the next phase of your career, as long as you’re ready. Moving into a closing sales role as an Account Executive or Account Manager is a common next step for most BDRs. However, this isn’t the only path. BDRs often work cross-functionally and gain skills that transfer to positions outside of sales. Common paths include marketing, customer success or even customer service.

Business development manager

A business development manager is responsible for leading a team of BDRs and owning the beginning of the sales process that involves marketing and sales-qualified leads. This position takes on additional responsibilities of managing individual contributors and overseeing all aspects of sales pipeline.

The right person for this position will have had experience as a BDR in the past to ensure that they’re familiar with the key responsibilities their team will be held accountable for. In some cases, companies will require that a BDR manager has had experience as an Account Executive because this means they have a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of the sales process. Performance metrics for this role are centered around the success of each individual team member and the team’s overall ability to meet their monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets.

If a BDR manager is meeting expectations and able to lead a successful team, there are many opportunities for growth at higher levels of leadership.

Mastering your business development skills

In this job you’ll need excellent communication and IT skills. You’ll also need to work to deadlines and have an understanding of how businesses operate. Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management.

Sales skills such as cold calling and objection handling
Excellent organizational skills, with emphasis on priorities and goal setting
Strong proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and statistical analysis software
Superior presentation and communication skills, both written and verbal
Technical skills required to understand and propose products or solutions by focusing on client requirements
Ability to communicate information, whether technical or non-technical to staff members and customers, in a clear and concise manner

Business Development Interview Questions

For additional interview resources, click here!

Sample Questions

1. What can you tell me about our company?

2. How do you go about achieving your goals?

3. How do you handle a difficult prospect?

6. What motivates you?

7. How do you handle objections?

Sample Questions

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  2. Tell me about a time where you didn’t meet your goals.
  3. Are you comfortable with cold calling?
  4. What industry trends interest you the most?

Sample Questions

  1. What type of management style do you prefer?
  2. What CRM software do you have experience with?
  3. What skills does a good salesperson possess?
  4. How do you stay organized and prioritize your time?

Consulting

Management Consulting is what most people think of when someone says "consulting."

A management consultant, also sometimes called a management analyst, helps a company or government entity plan and execute projects with the desired outcome of becoming more profitable or competitive. To achieve this goal, the consultant may recommend a variety of strategies to alter the organization's structure or operation methods in ways that result in increased profits, better systems, and improved efficiency.

Industry and Work Environment

A management consultant may specialize in a particular industry, such as healthcare, manufacturing, or education. Alternatively, a management consultant's focus may be on a function, such as human resources, information technology, financial restructuring, or inventory control.

Approximately 25% of management consultants work overtime. The job may require a good deal of travel to client offices, which often requires long periods of time away from home. Management consultants may experience a lot of stress at work as a result of these factors. Management consultants often spend very minimal time in their own company's office. Consultants may also experience a high level of stress due to trying to meet client demands within tight timeframes.

Employers and Outlook

Management consultants frequently work in teams, and most work for consulting firms, rather than being on the payroll of the company they are analyzing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in this field will grow more rapidly than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. Consultants who specialize in health care and IT, particularly cybersecurity, are expected to have the best job prospects.

Employment is expected to grow by about 14% over the next ten years, which is much faster growth than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. This growth rate compares to the projected 7% growth for all occupations.

Management Consultant Duties & Responsibilities
  • Learn about the client's business challenges and technologies to understand their business needs; interview company personnel
  • Review internal client company data such as financial statements, payroll information, or existing computer systems
  • Outline the scope of the work and identify and map out schedules, milestones, and required resources to meet the project objectives
  • Determine and communicate the work product or results that will be delivered to the client upon project completion
  • Develop and carry out communications to the company's senior stakeholders, company staff, and internal and external project teams
  • Conduct any required training classes for employees at a variety of levels
  • Provide respectful feedback to company management
  • Work tactfully to inspire faster adoption, greater utilization, and higher proficiency by employees regarding new ways of operating as a result of the consulting project outcomes
  • Meet with client to ensure the provided solution is working

How to Get a Job in Consulting

Follow these steps to prepare for the job search process!

Use Keywords

When using job search platforms, such as Handshake, utilize keywords to find appropriate positions the industries you are interested in. Below are titles Gies Alumni have had:

  • Accountant/Financial Analyst
  • Accounting Consultant
  • Analytics Consultant
  • Advisory Consultant
  • Analyst Consultant
  • Associate Consultant
  • Assurance and Internal Audit Consultant
  • Benefit Plan Consultant
  • Business Advisory Consultant
  • Client Consultant
  • Client Consulting Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Consultant Analyst
  • Consultative Sales
  • Cyber Risk Consultant
  • Data Analytics Consultant
  • Enterprise Applications Consultant
  • Financial Consultant
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Human Capital Consultant
  • Iafa Consultant
  • Incoming Health Solutions Consultant
  • Insurance Brokerage & Consulting Associate
  • Intellectual Property Analyst
  • Internal Audit And Financial Advisory Consultant
  • It Consultant
  • M&A Tax Consultant
  • Management Consultant
  • Management Consulting - Product Operations and Procurement
  • Management Consulting - Technology Enablement
  • Management Consulting Associate
  • Management Consulting: Product Operations And Procurement Associate
  • Manufacturing & Distribution Consultant
  • Marketing Communications Consultant
  • Operations Excellence Consultant
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Regulatory Compliance Risk Consultant
  • Risk Consultant
  • Staff Consultant
  • Tax Consultant
  • Technology Consulting Associate

Know How to Find These Opportunities

A simple way to get started is by learning more about the companies that hired Gies students in the past. Once you have identified your target companies, follow these companies on Handshake to be informed about opportunities and info sessions, in which you can network with recruiters and professionals. Below are employers who have hired Gies students:

coming soon!

Customize your Resume & Cover Letter

It’s important to customize your application documents for the industry/position you will be pursuing. Highlight your relevant experience by incorporating desired skills and qualifications into your application documents. How does your experience align with the skills the employer is seeking?

Some of the important skills you may want to highlight:

  • Organizational skills: Clients rely on management consultants to be very organized about their approach to solving the client's problem and implementing the solution, especially since management consultants often bill by the hour for their time.
  • Analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills: Consultants need to be able to absorb a great deal of information about the client's business, analyze the data and make clear and useful recommendations.
  • Listening, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills: Consultants need to interact with many of the client's employees at various levels of the organization and must be able to do so with diplomacy and effective communication skills.
  • Writing skills: Management consultants typically present their work results in the form of reports, manuals, and other forms of documentation that require good writing skills.
  • Time Management Skills: Since management consultants often either bill by the hour or work under a fixed-fee agreement, they must actively manage their time to keep within budget.
  • Creativity: Consultants must be able to have the flexibility and creativity to handle any situations that arise while implementing solutions for the client, such as a solution that doesn't work as intended, or a problem that has other, unforeseen circumstances.