Understanding Business Development

Assumption College Undergraduate

STEM teachers Assumption College graduate Sean Mayo ’15, recently accepted a Business Development Representative position at ThinkingPhones.

Whether you are a business student, or a recent business degree graduate, chances are you’ve probably heard the term “business development.” However, for many recent graduates or job market entrants, the term may carry a bit of ambiguity or cause confusion.

Is it the same as sales? If not, how is it different? Does it involve relationship building? Does it have to do with products/services a business may offer?

The answer is a combination of all.

Scott Pollack, Forbes Magazine Contributor, writes, “Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”

Pollack explains that long-term value could be anything a business may seek in order to grow (money, access, prestige, etc.). To obtain that value, businesses must consider: customers — who influence the way a business may talk about its offerings; markets — which influence the way a business may segment the customer base (geography, demographics, lifestyle, etc.) and relationships — which help build trust, respect and mutual appreciation.

Marketing students may recognize some parallels between the above definition and the five P’s of marketing:  Price, product, place, promotion and people. In both cases a range of factors are considered to help a business grow or create value. However, as business development encompasses many activities, other business majors may recognize how their concentration may play a role in growing a business.

A variety of skills come in handy for those interested in pursuing a career in business development. For example, communication, business analytics, planning, relationship management and strategy are few of the many skills desired in business development professionals.

Students interested in business development careers can start out by interning under business development professionals or seek roles that require similar skills to those that are needed in business development. Prior to accepting a position at ThinkingPhones, Sean interned at Worcester County District Attorney’s Office where he gained experience in some of the skills applicable to his new role, including networking, communication and more.

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