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Learn business development with online courses and programs

Business development enables organizations to create new opportunities, whether through the growth of existing businesses or the creation of new ones. Learn about the role of business development today with online courses delivered through edX.

What is business development?

Business development is commonly defined as the process of creating and implementing strategies that help increase a company's overall revenue as well as its competitive advantage. This intricate process is a crucial part of any business strategy. Business development has been used to drive innovation and create long-term value for organizations and their external stakeholders.   

Good business development combines market analysis and forecasting, customer research, strategic planning, and more. A business development specialist may use research to identify potential partners, evaluate competitors, develop new business offerings, or realize opportunities to stay ahead of the curve within their industry. Individuals with expertise in business development may work for large corporations where their primary focus is cultivating commercial relationships. Alternatively, a business developer may branch into the world of small business consulting. There, they may take on the task of developing viable profit-driven marketing strategies for their up-and-coming clients. 

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Business development course curriculum

Business development encompasses several topic areas including sales, marketing, project management, product management, and strategy.Footnote 1 Depending on the focus and intended learner, courses for business development may touch on one or all of the aforementioned. Additionally, some courses are designed around specific skills, such as leadership.

Throughout a business development course, learners explore different types of business models and determine the value each one delivers. They develop competencies that can be leveraged in a range of corporate scenarios: from pivoting digital strategy, to steering business negotiations, to leading a team. Course material may also include case studies or hands-on projects that allow learners to put their new knowledge and skills to use. 

Individuals interested in pursuing entrepreneurship may find business development courses worthwhile. Courses geared at this group of learners may cover sustainability in business, design thinking, strategic management, compliance, and more.

Completing a bachelor's degree program in a related field like business administration, business communication, or project management may help to set the foundation for business development practice. A master’s degree is another viable education path for individuals hoping to get into business development. 

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Explore business development jobs 

Business developer job titles vary from one company to another. Business development manager, business development specialist, business developer consultant, business development representative, market research analyst, management analyst, and project manager are all examples of common roles in this space. Despite the differences in designation, these professionals share similar job responsibilities. 

Skilled in strategy, operations, finance, and marketing; a business developer works closely with executives to expand an organization’s reach. This typically entails mapping out the company’s position in the market, researching prospective customers, seeking out new leads through networking, and maintaining stakeholder relationships.Footnote 2

Today, the economic climate, along with technological innovations, present professionals with unique opportunities and challenges.Footnote 3 Enrolling in an online business development course, like a boot camp, exposes learners to past, present, and future business development trends.  

How to become a business development specialist online

Generally, there are no minimum education requirements for becoming a business development specialist but employers may require a specific background or set of skills. Aspiring professionals are advised to pursue a course of study that aligns with their career goals. For one person, that might mean earning a bachelor’s in business. Another might enroll in an advanced degree program, like a Master of Business Administration and later take an online data analytics boot camp course.