I am a… business development manager
You could be a business development manager if you are:
- Able to use your initiative
- Able to work both alone and in teams
- Analytical and can find solutions to problems
- Good at communicating
- Have sales and marketing skills
- Personable and enthusiastic
- Skilled at planning and negotiation
- Keen to develop knowledge of your chosen industry and customers
“Harper Adams gave me the knowledge and the confidence to speak effectively and passionately about the food industry, says Kate Perkins, who graduated in 2005 with a business degree. Originally from Dublin, Kate now lives in Warwickshire, and is a Business Development Manager for the frozen food business Birds Eye.
The opportunity to study a high quality business degree with a strong emphasis on food and the agri-food sector was what attracted her to Harper Adams, she says. “All the food courses in Ireland at the time were more food technology-based and that was not the side that interested me.
Also I thought the placement year was a great thing as it gave me an advantage after graduating that other graduates didn’t have.
“I worked for an importer of exotic fresh produce during that year, providing sales support. It meant liaising with catering customers, analysing stock levels vs. potential orders to ensure service levels, and organising delivery of produce to markets around the UK. It allowed me to understand sales more, dealing with customers gave me confidence and learning how the industry worked allowed me to see it for myself and not just from textbooks. It also showed me that I wanted to work on the supplier side of things and not on the retailer side of the business.”
Like most Harper Adams students, Kate has great enthusiasm and a can-do attitude that employers really value. It has seen her rise quickly to a role that she loves. “After leaving university I worked for a bakery company for five years, initially in sales as a rep and then as a National Account Executive dealing with head offices of convenience retailers. In 2010 I moved to work for Birds Eye as a Business Development Manager.
“The job involves customer management – terms negotiations, forecast planning, annual business plans, promotional plans, price increases, relationship building, and so on, but the part I enjoy most is the customer interaction.” Kate believes that any experience you can get whilst still a student, from your placement year to part time jobs, is valuable, as every job, whether working in a call centre or harvesting, teaches you valuable skills for the future.
As for her time at Harper Adams, Kate says “I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! There is simply nowhere else like it. The location and campus are gorgeous - it has everything you need. The support you get is second to none. I don’t think any other university would have such an open door policy. I always felt I could ask for help be that for uni work or anything else! The cleaning and dinner ladies are also motherly to everyone which is a really special touch and makes it like a home from home from day one.”