Business development managers are the cornerstone of any successful organisation because they ultimately generate new revenue and help a company grow. Their key objective is to identify new business opportunities by identifying new markets, new ways to reach existing markets, or new product or service offerings to better meet the needs of existing markets.

When Ian Digoro joined Tarsus Technology Group in 2016, he was fresh out of university and knew little about the world of work. “The transition from student life to the life of a working professional was not easy,” he says. “There is a significant, understated, cultural transition between varsity and the professional world.”

Digoro joined the group as part of its Graduate Management Trainee programme in product management. He had completed a Diploma and BTech honours in Business Administration and Management at the Tshwane University of Technology. “Being part of the graduate programme was a big help as it enabled me to adjust to the work environment even though I was overwhelmed at first. I was also lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work directly with Exco. This gave us insight into their working lives, and the organisational culture, and we were able to discuss some of the challenges we were facing as new recruits.”

Digoro and his colleagues were also given the opportunity to work in different departments, giving them a holistic view of the business and how the separate units worked together. In time, the graduate programme members were also asked to choose their mentors from Exco. Digoro says the mentorship process taught him a lot about how to manage his time and how to multitask without dropping any balls.

“Product managers are often thrown in the deep end,” he says. “Managers show you what to do and how to do it, and then walk away. The mentorship was extremely beneficial in helping me develop my own way of working, managing my time, and achieving some kind of work-life balance. It’s important because, in the beginning, you will put in as many hours as you have to, to get the job done.”

Asked if there is one thing he would change for new hires, Digoro says it is important for managers to be made aware of the training programmes that new staff have to attend.

“Your seniors do not always know why you are not at your desk, especially when there is much work to be done and everyone is under pressure. Communication with everyone – from junior managers to line managers and middle management – is critical. It can make that all-important transition from student life to the workplace that much smoother and more productive.”

He recalls watching how more experienced co-workers interacted with clients and dreaming of the day when he would be able to do the same. “As I transitioned into the role of business development manager, I became aware that I had in fact grown, and that I was in a position to add real value to the business and to the work that our salespeople do. I’m a people person, and I take pleasure in helping my co-workers find the right products for their customers. Tarsus has had a major impact on my life, personally and professionally.”

[Photo bЮрий Красильников on Adobe Stock]