Pursue a Career in Business Development With an MBAPursue a Career in Business Development With an MBA.

Published On: May 17, 2016.

Part sales, part marketing and part strategic planning, business development helps organizations ensure growth and competitive advantage. Business development, sometimes referred to simply as “biz dev,” is the driving force behind the long-term future of an organization. “Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships,” writes Scott Pollack in an article for Forbes magazine. Pollack says, at its heart, business development is all about creating opportunities for growth. Generating new business opportunities adds value to a company, Pollack says, and value means increased revenue and sustainability. Creating new business opportunities can be achieved by building relationships with clients, customers and vendors, and by building a company’s brand through the promotion of its products and services. “Thinking about business development as a means to creating long-term value is the only true way to succeed in consistently growing an organization,” Pollack says.

As business becomes increasingly complex, competitive and global, more organizations both large and small need qualified leaders who can find new sales leads and contacts, who can effectively communicate the benefits of products and services, and who can develop, plan and implement a strategy to drive sales — all the responsibilities of a business development manager. A career in business development is one of today’s hottest tickets. According to Glassdoor.com, the role of a business development manager is one of the best jobs in America. Glassdoor ranks a career in business development 17 on its list of top 25 careers in 2016. The median salary for a business development manager as of January 2016 was $72,358, according to PayScale.com. Managers who go on to become business development directors or vice presidents may see a median annual salary of $113,000 and $147,000, respectively, according PayScale. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of business development and training managers will grow by 11 percent through 2022.

How to Excel in Business Development?

In general, the primary duty of a business developer is to look for new ways to bring in revenue. The business development professional must have a deep understanding of marketing principles as well as knowledge about the marketplace and the marketing plans of his or her company’s competitors. In addition, business developers need in-depth knowledge of their companies’ products and services, marketing strategies, demographics and market positions. A successful business developer needs the following skills: quantitative analysis, research, communication, negotiation, contract development, project management, presentation, organization, and networking. Business developers work closely with sales and marketing departments, so the ability to work with a team is also a must.

Most business development positions require at least a bachelor’s degree — a background in finance, accounting or marketing may be the most beneficial — along with three to five years of experience in sales or marketing. Many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Those interested in a career in business development should consider an online MBA program. Students in an online MBA program can gain the necessary knowledge and skills for successful careers in business development.