First, a short quiz.
Which of the following are not businesses?
• The University of Manchester
• The Whitworth
• Elsevier Publishing
• The Big Issue
• Church of England
Hopefully you answered “none of them” because that is the correct answer. They are all businesses. In fact, last year the Church of England was recruiting a business analyst.
Whether you’re a Masters or PhD, whatever you do next – work for a charity, enter the pharmaceutical industry, or work for the NHS, become a teacher – you will be working for a business. Even if you are doing a PhD, your supervisor will be managing budgets, generating income, managing outputs (publications, public engagement, teaching), supervising personnel (you, other PhDs, TAs, possibly other staff), planning, prioritising, and generally trying to keep their research, the school, faculty and university healthy and competitive. These are business activities. You need commercial awareness.
This understanding of the business systems and processes of an organisation is called ‘commercial awareness’. Commercial awareness is something highly sought after by many, if not all, employers yet something many applicants struggle with. As a researcher moving into industry or a non-academic environment, you need to understand the drivers for research, as well as the costs and benefits of engaging in research.
Developing commercial awareness from scratch be daunting – luckily help is at hand in the form of this event next week, open to Masters and PhDs:
Keep seeing the term commercial awareness when looking at work experience opportunities but got no idea what it is? Come along to PwC’s skills on Tuesday 16th February from 12:00 – 14:00 in room 2.218 of University Place and you’ll be able to gain an understanding of what commercial awareness is and how to evidence it in your applications. Sign up for the event in advance via CareersLink event ID: 3073.