Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

woman holding a piece of paper with a laptop in front of her
Credit
Anna Shvets on Pexels
I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Like in any new role, growth and development required effort and being uncomfortable.

ROI, Excel formulas, churn rate, prospecting, ad hoc, drip campaign.

Girl who looks confused
Credit
Preity G Zinta on Giphy

I’m sorry, what?

As a Communication major, I’m comfortable with hearing “the medium is the message”, getting lost in 15-page essays, and wondering why a picture of a pipe is in fact, not a pipe (shoutout CMNS 110).

Throw me in a tech start-up in a (remote) business development position and well, I’m a touch out of my comfort zone.

A couple of days into my Co-op term I learned that I was the first non-business student to be a Business Development Representative (BDR) at this organization. And it made a lot of sense… it’s a BUSINESS role.

But what is business development?

As per Forbes, business development is a combination of sales, hustling, and partnerships. It’s a fitting definition as business development is the initiatives that are implemented to foster growth, and essentially, profitability.

Business development falls under the sales department as it’s business development’s responsibility to find a match (potential clients) that would be interested in the product before passing them off to the sales team to further develop and close.

Man drawing gears on a white wall
Credit
superiorequipment.online/pages/business-development

As a BDR, I’m responsible for researching potential prospects, identifying, qualifying, and following up with potential leads, and managing data for potential and current clients in various databases.

My BDR journey

You’re probably wondering the same thing I did during the first month of my Co-op term...how on earth did she end up here?

The BDR position appealed to me as I have really good people skills, both over the phone and through online communication. I gained negotiation and conversation experience from my previous role in fundraising and wanted to apply myself in a different environment, using those same skills.

Adapting to the industry

Adjusting to the business development and sales world as a Communication student meant learning, learning, learning.

I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Like in any new role, growth and development required effort and being uncomfortable. Excel spreadsheets might have freaked me out at first and all that business jargon sent me to Google for definitions. But I didn’t let it scare me. I would’ve never considered business development if I wanted to just stay comfortable and stagnate. I drew on resources like David Priemer’s YouTube channel on cerebral selling to understand ways to make working in sales, more human and connection-based.

Emphasize learning to get it right, not being right. Working in business development is not about always being right, but it’s about always trying to learn to get it right. Skills can be taught, but attitude can’t be. I sat in on many sales calls to gain industry insight, learn from experienced colleagues, and endlessly bookmark resources, anecdotes, and trainings. The willingness to get a little bit better every day is key to succeeding.

Not knowing much about an industry or role is not a closed door to an opportunity, it’s the chance for you to master YouTube tutorials, be curious, and grow. As a Communication student, you’ll already have great research, writing, and analytical skills. Why not give business development a try?

SFU Co-op Student
visibility  365
Nov 15, 2021

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
Blog
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Blog
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Blog
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

You Might Like These... Co-operative Education

Courtney smiles next to a caption that reads, "Courtney Novotny during her work term with Health Canada".
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

How do Communications Co-op jobs differ between federal departments? Read all about Courtney's experiences as she compares her first co-op with Health Canada to her second co-op with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Korea
International Spotlight: Korea

Bordered by China, Russia, and separated from Japan by the Korea Strait, Korea makes for a strong international hub of Asia.

Iris at her workstation in the lab
Student Spotlight: Iris Eom

The OLC talks to Iris Eom, 3rd year MBB, Computing Science joint major. Keep reading to learn about her experience at the UBC James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre at St. Paul's Hospital.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Person highlighted in purple indicating they are standing out in the fair
Standing Out In A Crowded Job Market

Standing out in today’s job market is definitely a tough task. But, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of ways you can make yourself stand out to potential employers. Read on to find out how.

Sharan and his team dressing up for Halloween at the office
A Step in the Right Direction: How I Thrived in a Data-Driven Marketing Culture

"I walked in excited (and of course, nervous) for the first day of my co-op term at Allocadia. Fast forward to eight months later, I can say, with every inch of confidence in my body, that I have never felt more accomplished, more confident, and more resourceful". Read Sharan's story to see how he developed his career in a data-driven marketing industry. 

Church
My Medical Placement in the City

Part two of the series finds Kerri Jang, volunteer with Projects Abroad, spending time in a city of parallels; Chisinau, in Moldova. Having never experienced a surgery before, Kerri ventures into unknown territory during her adventures in some of the city's hospitals.