Careers in Business Development


Looking for an entry level job or internship in business development? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

As a kid you probably visited Walt Disney World in Florida and had a great time cheese-ing with Mickey and his friends. The carefully crafted experience you had then has now been expanded to include not only other locations like Paris and California, but also new rides and different characters. Many of these changes and additions have come about because of people working in business development for Disney. These folks concentrate solely on business strategy and research to recommend ways to help grow businesses.

Business Development Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user tallapragada

Business Development Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Business Development Associate Does
  2. A Typical Day in Business Development
  3. Salary and Career Progression for Business Development
  4. Best Locations for Business Development
  5. Pros and Cons of Business Development
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Business Development
  7. Business Development Resources
  8. Careers Related to Business Development
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Business Development

What a Business Development Associate Does

A career in business development involves developing various aspects of a business to take it to the next level. To do this, a business development associate researches new types of business, products, and services with an emphasis on identifying gaps in the needs of potential clients. While you’ll often focus on growth, sometimes you’ll find that the optimal strategy might mean downsizing an activity in a certain market. In many cases you’d work with the marketing and sales departments within a company to attract new customers or penetrate existing markets.

A Typical Day in Business Development

During a typical day, some tasks of a business development associate would include:

  • handle a number of emails
  • make phone calls to partners and clients
  • communicate between teams
  • do market research
  • keep up with the changes and trends in your industry
  • study what competitors are doing
  • figure out what products and services are selling
  • think about the positioning of various products

These tasks involve a lot of reading, talking with people, and math. To make decisions you’d work across teams discussing options with executives. You might also be responsible for contacting potential new customers, which could involve a bit of travel.

Salary and Career Progression in Business Development

A Business Development Associate makes about $29,000-$90,000 per year and earns $46,500 on average. Beyond that you can go on to become a Business Development Manager ($41,000-$144,000), a Vice President of Business Development ($80,000-$279,000), or a Business Development Director ($57,000-$202,000).

Best Locations for Business Development

Here are some hot spots for business development:

  • Wichita, Kansas
  • McLean, Virginia
  • Irvine, California
  • New York, New York
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Francisco, California

Pros and Cons of Business Development

  • Great salary and opportunities for upward growth
  • Can have a real impact on the business
  • Lots of creativity
  • A lot of stress
  • Need to think strategically but also be a “people-person”
  • Long hours

What You Need to Know for a Career in Business Development

To be in business development you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. You’d also need an MBA to secure the best positions. Beyond that, you’ll need great interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to think strategically.

Business Development Resources

If business development still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Business Development

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Business Development Sales Consultant
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Cameron Craig Group Celina, OH
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Sales Representative / Sales & Biz Dev / Business Development
Circualate Philadelphia, PA

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Business Development

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Huckberry - Huckberry is a San Francisco, CA based company that “is like your favorite store, your grandpa’s favorite store, and your favorite magazine all rolled into one.”

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August - August is a San Francisco, CA based company that has developed a “safe, simple, and social way to manage your home’s lock.”

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The Resumator - The Resumator is a Pittsburgh, PA based company that helps “great people build great companies” by bringing “talented professionals and compelling companies together.”

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Optoro - Optoro is a Washington, DC based company that “unleashes hidden revenue for retailers and creates value for shoppers” by helping businesses with “reverse logistics.”

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RealMassive - RealMassive is an Austin, TX based startup that has developed the “first-ever source of real-time commercial real estate information.”

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Clever - Clever is a San Francisco, CA whose software syncs "with your school’s student information system to provide an amazing experience for teachers and students.”

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Round Star Foundation - Round Star Foundation is a New York, NY based non-profit “dedicated to extending the many benefits soccer can provide to every individual.”

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