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Business Development Manager

What does a Business Development Manager do?

A business development manager is responsible for identifying new business opportunities, building and maintaining relationships with clients, and developing strategies to achieve company growth. They are also in charge of creating and implementing marketing plans, analysing market trends, and identifying potential target markets.

It's a vital position in any company and requires a diverse set of skills, including sales, marketing and financial planning, as well as strong communication and leadership skills. In fact, you might hold any of several job titles – for instance, business development executive, business development specialist or chief business development officer – but it’s always your responsibility to help your company secure new business in the form of brand-new clients and customers.


What qualifications do I need?

A Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Marketing, or related field, along with at least five years of experience in sales, marketing or business development, is usually required for this position. However, since this is a senior role, most people in this position hold some other postgraduate qualification, like an MBA.

Undergraduate courses that would set you on your way to becoming a business development manager include, among others, a BCom Business Management and a BCom Economics and Econometrics. Postgraduate studies include BCom Honours (Financial Management) or a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) (Financial Management). In addition, you can complete your postgraduate studies at a business school such as the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Pretoria.

What subjects do I need?

Pure Mathematics
Business Science


Where can I study?

University of Pretoria
BCom Marketing Management
Postgraduate Diploma in General Management (PGDip GM)

University of Johannesburg
BCom Business Management
BCom Honours (Marketing Management)

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Business Science in Marketing
Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Entrepreneurship

Where can I get more info?

Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) - www.seda.org.za
Business Development Association of Southern Africa - www.bdasa.co.za
Institute of Business Advisors Southern Africa - www.ibasa.org.za


Interview with a Business Development Manager




What is your background?
I have 30 years of experience, in a variety of positions. I started my career as a boilermaker on a gold mine situated in the Free State. I was always extremely interested in the joining of metals. This stemmed from an incident on the mine, where millions of rands of damage was caused, and instead of losing my job, I was sent to study welding technology at the SAIW. I soon fell in love with the skills, processes and technologies that are part of this unique career. 

Who are you employed by?
In 2001, I was offered a position at the SAIW as a welding technology lecturer. Soon after that, I was promoted to training services manager, where I served for 12 years before moving into the field of business development manager.

Key reasons to consider a career in welding?
Welding has always been seen as a blue-collar career, with very few youngsters interested in studying it. And yet, the Department of Higher Education announced three years ago that welding was ranked number two of 13 endangered skills in South Africa. In addition, the American Welding Society announced a shortage of more than 450 000 welding personnel worldwide. What this means for Matric students is that by choosing to train as a welder, you have the potential to follow numerous career paths including practical welding, welding inspection, welding coordination and non-destructive testing; all of which are highly sought-after skills.  

What training is required?
Firstly, it is of utmost importance to study the theoretical aspects of welding before attempting practical training. To then become highly skilled, you need to have the real-world ability to weld carbon steel, aluminium and stainless steel, using all four welding processes. Authenticated and in-depth work experience is the final leg of embarking on this exciting career.

Is there a personality type best suited to this work? 
Good hand-eye coordination, the right attitude and a passion for creating something. In fact, welders always say that a beautiful weld is a joy forever!

Is experience as important as formal training?
Absolutely! Learning to weld is the same as learning how to ride a bike - you learn by doing!

Describe a typical day
First, a toolbox talk on the work needing to be completed; then the all-important safety talk; collect the power source; select all the variables required by the specific work instruction and make your way to the workplace. The work instruction must be carefully followed, as some materials need to be heated before welding can take place, while others can be welded immediately. This is why the theoretical component of welder training is so important.

Best aspects of the job?
High demand for skilled welders worldwide, career opportunities, great financial rewards and job satisfaction. 

Highlight of your career?
When I was offered the position as a lecturer at the SAIW and in a very short time was promoted to training services manager.

Interview date: May 2021