Here is the next installment in our "A Week In The Life Of" series!
Hello! What is your name and where are you from?
Hello, my name is Josh and I live near Leeds.
Where do you work and what is your job?
I am a Business Development Manager for a software start-up.
Please can you tell us a little more about where you work and the industry it is in?
We're a team of 45 people (a mixture of developers, consultants, sales, marketing, and customer support) and we make a data analytics software platform.
What is a typical day like in your job?
I spend most of my time meeting potential new customers, trying to understand the difficulties they are facing in analysing and presenting data to their customers. I give demos of our software, organise trial installations, answer questions, and then if all goes to plan I negotiate pricing and contracts.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love working in a job that requires technical knowledge (I'm a bit of a geek on the inside) but where I still get to talk to people for most of the day. Chasing deals and winning new business (ie earning commission) is a great feeling, too!
Did you go to college or university? If so, what did you study and where?
Yes. I have a BSc in Biomedical Science from the University of Liverpool, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California.
Why did you choose to study this subject/s?
I did Biomedical Science because I enjoyed science at school and it was what I was quite good at. I then decided I wanted to work in business, so a Masters made sense to gain the skills I needed to switch industries.
Does your degree relate to your job? If so, how?
Yes, my science degree taught me how to think critically and use data to make decisions. My masters gave me a lot of practical skills in finance, analytics, negotiation, and marketing strategies, plus it also led to an internship with HP that opened the door to the tech industry. There's also a whole load of other things you get out of uni that aren't subject-specific, like managing workloads, prioritising tasks, all the extra-curricular stuff, meeting new friends and having heaps of fun - all of this helps you be employable and more interesting to interview!
How has the COVID-19 lockdown affected your job?
Our office has been closed since March and we have all been working from home. The main adjustment has been conducting meetings with customers over video which we would normally prefer to do face to face, plus it has been much harder to persuade prospects to spend money with so much uncertainty going on. But doing the job day to day is fairly unaffected.
Please can you tell us about your "Career Journey"?
When I was at school I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but soon realised my grades wouldn't be good enough! I knew I wanted to go to uni, so I stuck with what I was interested in and spent most of that time expecting to go into medical research. I ended up finding medical research wasn't really my cup of tea, and I did an internship in medical sales and quickly discovered that sales was much more appealing to me!
Looking at business related masters degrees to help me switch paths, I found that many US universities offered scholarships to international students. Rather than taking out another loan to study at a UK uni, I ended up with scholarship offers to the University of California in San Diego and University of Texas in Dallas. Two years living by the beach sounded like a good deal so I went to San Diego.
I studied for two years, taking internships with a biotech company and with the computer company HP, before getting a full time grad job working in sales for an artificial intelligence start-up. I loved the work-hard-play-hard culture at tech firms straight away and I've stuck with the industry since.
A year later my US visa was running out, so I went travelling in Australia and New Zealand for a couple of months and then took an account management job with Inuit in Sydney. International experience has been great for my confidence and definitely helped me land my current job now I'm back in the UK.
I haven't ever really had much of a career plan, it's mostly worked out well as a result of just giving 100% effort to whatever I was interested in. I also quite like being in my comfort zone, so I make a conscious effort to push past that.
What would be your one piece of advice for someone who is looking into the job sector you work in?
I would say you don't need to decide or commit to what you want to do or have a big plan laid out, just do what you're interested in and try to do things that make you stand out from the crowd while adding skills or qualifications to your CV.