Many employers love Bath students. They are well-qualified, intelligent, active, have experience - but sometimes they don't do as well in employer selection processes as the employers (or the students) were expecting. When we dig a little deeper, this tends to be because they were lacking in what is termed 'commercial awareness'.
So, what is 'commercial awareness'?
When I try and define it, I find it really difficult to do, so no wonder it is a difficult thing to make sure you develop. It's even more difficult for those of you who aren't interested in 'big business' - maybe you think you don't need to bother with it at all? Or aren't sure how to translate it into your kind of organisation?
So, being as Bath is a fairly sporty kind of place, I'm going to try and explain how to develop commercial awareness with a sports analogy.
Imagine you are a fan of, say, Liverpool FC. (Absolutely no declaration of interest here - just one I picked out of many).
You probably know, then, who plays for them. Who manages them. How long it has been since they last won a game, or played in Europe, or beat Man U. Who they are likely to beat hands down, and who might be a bit more challenging. You'll maybe know who owns them, and whether the fans like that. Who the shirt sponsor is. Where they are in the league - and, if you are a fairly obsessive sort of fan, how many matches there are left in this season and who has to win which ones for Liverpool to win the Premiership/get into the Champion's League. Not to mention why it is crucial that this or that player is picked for the next match.
So - that is commercial awreness, or business knowledge, whatever you want to call it. It's knowing the organisation you want to work for. But not just that. It's knowing their competitors, and where each stands in the marketplace. Who does what best. What the most recent innovations have been. How effective your organisation of choice has been lately.
You might be reading this and thinking 'Well, I don't know or care about football. What is she blethering on about? It would take ages to find that lot out'.
And that is exactly my point. If you are, genuinely, interested in Liverpool, you'll know this stuff and writing it down would be simple. If you have just decided to apply and you actually support another club, you'll still know some of it but the details might need a bit of work. But you'd know where to look. If you are a football novice but thought the job sounded interesting, you may need intensive help.
Commercial awareness is very difficult to develop overnight.
Start by identifying the general area in which you are interested. In this case - start reading the sports pages, focusing on football.
Identify the key players (maybe the top 6 clubs in the Premiership). Look on their websites. Look at match reports. Who is doing well? Why?
Before this football analogy is completely exhausted - remember, we are here to help you and if you would like a bit of help identifying a strategy to develop your commercial awareness, please come in and talk to us.
Remember - to make commercial awarenss work for you, simply substitute your organisation and field of work of choice for the sports clubs named here. And start that reading up now - before you get left on the bench.