Transferable skills in business development | Let's Talk BD Podcast Ep.4

May 19, 2022
Career growth
Transferable skills in business development | Let's Talk BD Podcast Ep.4

How can an engineering background help your business development career? Learn more about changing careers and transferable skills in business development.


Business development is a field that requires different skills. Sometimes, having a background in a completely different career can be useful in many ways.

For example, can an engineering background be useful in business development? There are so many transferable skills that will boost your chance for success. Engineering involves hard skills and technical skills that you can use in your business development career.

To find out more about this, we interviewed Matteo Ogliari Business Development Pro, former mechanical engineer, and mentor at The BD School.

In this fourth episode, the founder of The BD School, Lucia, talks with Matteo about his personal journey as a business development professional.

He talks about his career change from engineering to business development and how the engineering skills helped him as a business developer.

Transferable skills in business development: Changing career

Changing careers among graduates is a common thing. You’ve decided to major in something specific. But, as time goes by, you may realize that your job doesn’t fulfil you. So, you look for new options.

A similar situation happened with Matteo. He graduated in mechanical engineering in 2009.

He found out that engineering didn’t really put much emphasis on creativity. And it lacked enough contact with the outside world. So, he started looking for careers where he could use his creative skills.

For a few years, he worked in the agronomic field. There, he learned more about sales and how talking to people is something he really enjoys doing. Engineering simply didn’t provide the right space for him to do that.

But, his family and colleagues treated his career change with much skepticism.

So, how did he overcome this inner conflict?

Matteo considers being courageous and being yourself helped him a lot. Change is something common. So, we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace change in our lives.

In his words:

“The only way to go outside of our comfort zone is to be courageous and flexible.”

Episode 4: Recycling skills

Engineering doesn’t involve talking to many people on a daily basis. But, this doesn’t mean that Matteo didn’t use the skills he gained throughout his engineering journey.

He states that he uses many transferable skills from his engineering background. In particular, hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills such as technical skills can help you become more of a consultant. A consultant that solves other people’s problems. On the other hand, soft skills help you communicate the value of your expertise.

So, to succeed in business development, you have to think of yourself as a problem-solver and a business partner.

This points out an important fact. Business development success depends on the customer. By getting to know your customer better, you learn to create something that meets their needs.

This is exactly how engineering helped Matteo as a business developer.

“Every day in engineering involves creating and developing different things. So, business development is similar. You and your customer have to work together to create something beneficial.”

One of Matteo’s most important tips is to stay updated and on the line. Matteo also considers it important to be prepared and remain studious throughout.

Matteo doesn’t regret working in business development despite the challenges. His favorite thing about business development is creating something good to share with others.

He mentions that one of the most interesting things is that you have to increase the quality of your job and life in general. So, focusing on results, leads, and sales is necessary. But, business development goes beyond that.

Transferable skills in business development: Mentorship

To start in business development, you can choose between education and training. For example, you can pursue a university degree in the field. Or you can consume free content, watch videos, read blogs, books, and so on.

However, one of the most beneficial things you can do is to connect with other people in your same field. This means finding a mentor who can guide you through your problems. This can be really useful. It will equip you with the necessary skills to succeed in business development.

The conversation with Matteo highlights the importance of having a mentor. Most mentors love sharing their knowledge and giving back to others.

Mentors helped Matteo in his career. It’s necessary to have someone who can challenge you. But, also someone who can bring their experience to the table. Matteo mentions his friend, Andrea, as one of his favorite mentors.

More takeaways:

  • Using available opportunities
  • Hobbies
  • Advice for new business developers
  • Embracing change

Are you interested in learning more about a business development career?

Then, join our personalized learning platform and become a business development pro!

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