Careers and Employability Service

I want to work in Business

Job roles


The following diagram gives most of the main functions that graduates will enter when starting a business career. 

  • Internal functions are those which are part of the company. 
  • External functions are those which are supplied by an outside agency.
  • business functions
  • This chart is a simplification. Not all companies can be easily categorised, and some will have specialist functions which are not included here, but is nevertheless provides a useful starting point for graduates considering a career in business.
  • Specialised businesses will have functions not mentioned here, for example retailers will have staff working as merchandisers.
  • Some companies will not have all the functions listed, for example service and finance companies will not normally have research and production departments.
  • Some functions such as Market Research and PR may be internal, external or both. A small company will probably hire an external agency when it needs these functions. A large company may well have in-house market research and corporate PR staff, but will still outsource much of the work that is of a specialist nature.


Job roles


  • Research & Development
    Develops products. Designs & conducting experiments & tests. Interprets data. Manages projects. Writes reports. Keeps up to date with new developments.
  • Production & Quality
    Manages the production process. Plans production schedules. Ensures that machinery, staff & materials are efficiently utilised. Monitors health & safety & environmental issues. Liaises with marketing, research & finance.
  • Distribution/Logistics
    Manages all the supply chain processes from raw materials to where the end product is used. Coordinates supply, distribution & storage of goods. Manages transport & distribution centres including drivers & warehouse staff.


  • Sales
    Demonstrates & presents products to customers. Manages budgets. Learns about new products. Makes sure that the product meets the customers requirements. Writes tenders & proposals.
  • Marketing
    Coordinates all the elements involved in successfully promoting & selling a product: market research, pricing, packaging, advertising, sales, distribution. Involves forecasting, budgeting & planning, implementation of plans.

Support Functions

  • FINANCE - Management Accountant
    Provides the information required for the financial protection & planning of companies. Prepares accounting records & management information.
  • Computing
    Designs, implements & maintains computer systems to meet requirements of users. Provides computing support for staff. Maintains databases & networks.
  • HR/Personnel
    Recruits & selects new staff. Involved with contracts of employment, job descriptions, training, management development, industrial relations & disciplinary matters.
  • Buying/Purchasing
    Locates & maintains relationships with suppliers, of products. Negotiates prices, delivery dates & product specifications. Works with managers to anticipate future demands.

External Services

  • Chartered Accountants
    Visits clients as part of an audit team; reviews their business operations & financial records to establish the validity of the company's accounts. Advises on tax liability & other matters.
  • Management Consultants
    Identifies & investigates, problems concerned with policy, organisation, procedures & methods of organisations. Recommends appropriate action & helps to implement this.
  • Recruitment Agency
    Matches job-seekers with employers' vacancies. Assesses candidates' skills & employers' requirements.
  • Advertising
    Liaises with & advises clients on all aspects of marketing communications; presents proposals to clients; manages advertising spend budget; keeps clients up-to-date on their own & competitors activities.
  • Market Research
    This can be done by the marketing department inside a company, or by an external market research agency. Plans market research projects on behalf of the client. Analyses the problem. Drafts proposals. Prepares questionnaires & survey methods. Briefs interviewers. Analyses data & presents it to client. Prepares reports.
  • Public Relations
    All aspects of media & public relations for clients: e.g. corporate brochures & exhibition stands. Answers enquiries. Prepares press releases, organises press briefings, conferences & PR campaigns.

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Last Updated: 24/05/2018