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Why societies can help you get a graduate job in business
Although Laura has already left us she left us with this great blog on similiarities between societies and business and how being an exec for one could land you a job in business,
In my quest
to land a graduate job, I’ve been trying quite hard to develop my commercial
awareness. A few weeks ago I started thinking about what I learnt about
business at university, and it struck me that taking part in a society can
teach you a lot.
take part in societies to make friends or develop a skill, but if you’re on the
exec, running a society can be a lot like running a business.
important to remember that every society and every business has a basic aim.
For societies, this is to get people together with similar interests. For
businesses, this is to provide a service or sell a product. Everyone in the
society works towards this aim in the hope that more people will join and
you’ll have more fun, or that you’ll make more money.
means that on a very simple level, societies and businesses have the same jobs
to be done. For example, most business and societies needs someone who:
is in charge (company director = society
manages the money (chief
financial officer = society treasurer)
tells people about you (marketing
manager = publicity officer)
looks after everyone (HR manager
= social sec)
This also means that every business or society has a
target audience and must be able to cater to the needs of this target audience
in order to be successful. A target audience would be the business’ customers
or the society’s members. Businesses and societies are built around these
people and without them they won’t work. Before you start a new society you
usually need at least 30 members in order to prove that there is a demand for
it and that the money the students’ union invests in the society won’t go to
waste. Likewise, without market research and proof that there is a demand for a
product, entrepreneurs will be unlikely to find investors for their business
because there is no proof the product will make any money.
When it is finally up and running, all businesses and
societies rely on hard work and efficiency of each of their departments or exec
members. So if one part of the business or society doesn’t pull its weight,
it’s likely that the rest will suffer. For example, you could have a great idea
for a product but if your CFO doesn’t manage your finances well, you could end
up spending too much money on the raw materials and not have enough left to
produce it. Similarly, you could plan a fantastic society event but if your
publicity officer doesn’t let people know about it, no-one will go to it.
As you can
see, societies are simplified versions of businesses, and if you’ve ever
wondered why graduate recruiters are so keen on people who’ve run them, that’s
probably one of the reasons why.