|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; master's may be preferred|
|Degree Field(s)||Business administration or a related field|
|Experience||3-5 years sales or marketing experience|
|Key Skills||Problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and strategic planning skills; strong motivation; business and finance understanding|
|Median Annual Salary (2016)||$72,358*|
Business development managers drive the growth of their companies by generating new business opportunities as well as motivating employees. Since a key component of this job is strategic planning, a business development manager must have thorough knowledge of the company's competitors and the marketplace. He or she will work closely with the sales and marketing departments to identify potential new clients, craft proposals, and review contracts.
Entry-level work in this field typically requires a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field as well as three to five years of sales or marketing experience. However, some employers prefer candidates who hold a master's degree. Someone who enjoys business and finance, is highly motivated, and is a problem solver may enjoy this type of work.
According to payscale.com, business development managers earned a median annual salary of $72,358 as of January 2016.
A business development manager's main task is to facilitate the growth of the business for which he or she works. Working primarily with the sales and marketing departments, this experienced professional develops training plans to educate and motivate employees of a company to perform at their most profitable level.
Strategic planning for future development is a key part of this job description, since it's the business manager's responsibility to develop the pipeline of new business coming in to the company. This requires thorough knowledge of the marketplace and of the company's competitors.
A day in the life of a business development manager might include tasks like:
- Writing proposals and specifications
- Crafting training programs
- Hiring instructors
- Conducting workshops
- Competitive analysis
- Contract review with potential new clients
- Collaboration with the marketing department
Find schools that offer these popular programs
A bachelor's degree in a business field - such as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) - could prepare the aspiring business development executive for a career in management. These four-year programs are designed to prepare the graduate for entry-level work in business or for graduate school. Some BSBA programs emphasize leadership in business, blending standard business school coursework with focused study of marketing, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship.
A student in a BSBA program with an emphasis in leadership might take classes in:
- Small business management
- Entrepreneurial finance
- Human resource management
- Cost accounting
- Managerial economics
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) has long been the gold standard of graduate degrees in business. These programs take two years to complete if courses are taken full-time; however, many programs are designed for currently working professionals and take longer. Business management, corporate policy, finance, economics, organizational behavior, and strategic planning are all part of the curriculum. Graduates should be well-versed in critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills.
Many MBA programs are tailored toward subspecialties in business; an MBA candidate in a program that emphasizes entrepreneurial business development might take courses in:
- Managerial communications
- Competitive intelligence
- Employment law for managers
- Conflict resolution and negotiation
- Knowledge management
In conclusion, a minimum of a bachelor's degree is needed, but a master's degree might be preferred to work as a business development manager, a professional who drives a company's growth by generating new business opportunities and motivating employees.