STEP 1: WHAT'S BUSINESS OPERATIONS ALL ABOUT?
- AKA: BizOps, Business Analysis
- Overview: Think of BizOps as a company’s internal consulting agency. Whenever there are big, meaty questions to unpack, BizOps folks are brought in to crack the case.
- Example project: Conduct a SWOT analysis on the smartphone market.
- What you do all day: Research questions, gather data, analyze data, make recommendations to stakeholders
- Roles: Business Operations Analyst (more junior), Business Operations Manager (more senior)
- What they look for: Former bankers and consultants with strong spreadsheet and presentation skills
- Example job: Business Operations & Strategy Manager, NerdWallet
STEP 2: WOULD YOU BE A GOOD FIT FOR BIZOPS?
Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:
- Gathering quantitative + qualitative data
- Analyzing datasets
- Using frameworks to make strategic recommendations
- Presenting to executives
- Implementing processes
If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for BizOps.
Step 3: What Skills Do You Need for BizOps?
For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:
· Gathering quantitative + qualitative data
o Keywords: quantitative, qualitative, data, datasets, SQL, metrics
o Sample Bullet: Built the company's first customer feedback dataset, using SQL to identify a new upsell opportunity that ultimately generated $500K in new revenue within its first year
· Analyzing datasets
o Keywords: Excel, modeling, statistical analysis, generate insights from data
o Sample Bullet: Developed financial model for new product, leading to green light from executives
· Using frameworks to make strategic recommendations
o Keywords: strategy, competitive analysis, new market exploration, how to scale the business, go-to-market plan
o Sample Bullet: Conducted competitive analysis on peer-to-peer lending market, identifying opportunity for a $3B new business
· Presenting to executives
o Keywords: senior executives, leadership, management, communication, stakeholders, presentation
o Sample Bullet: Presented plan to senior leadership, earning buy-in for a process change expected to save the firm $500K annually
· Implementing processes
o Keywords: process improvement, implementation, operational efficiency, working with cross-functional teams, collaboration across the organization
o Sample Bullet: Worked cross-functionally to roll out a new recruiting system across the company that reduced search time by 50%
STEP 4: DO YOU NEED ADDITIONAL TRAINING TO GET A BizOps JOB?
Because so many Business Operations jobs are filled by former consultants and bankers, this largely depends on your pedigree:
- If you already have a top consulting firm or I-Bank on your resume, you're good to go
- If you don't, you're going to have to punch a little harder
For folks in this latter camp, you'll definitely want to network your way in, since recruiters may not give you as much consideration as your peers from the most prestigious firms (sad but true, alas).
And if you don't already have strong experience with data analysis, strategy development, and corporate presentations, you'll likely also want to brush up on those skills through courses like the one below.
STEP 5: WHAT BizOps TRAINING do you recommend?
Because Business Operations is so focused on solving specific problems, I recommend training programs that emphasize case-based learning. In other words, instead of just learning theoretical business frameworks (e.g., how to analyze competitors), you learn them in the context of a real-world problem.
As such, I'm a fan of the Management Consulting Project Essentials course on Udemy. Not only does it cover just about every key BizOps skillset from structuring a problem to presenting findings, but it does it all through a case-based methodology - just like you'd get at a top business school. The only difference is that this course does it for about 1/1000 the price of an MBA... :)