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Career Story: Principal Proposal Analyst In The Defense Industry

Principal Proposal Analyst In The Defense Industry

Job Title: Principal Proposal Analyst

Type of Company: My company makes high tech products and services for defense industry.

Education: BBA UMass Amherst •• MBA Suffolk University

Previous Experience: I have been with the same company for almost nine years, and have held positions in finance the entire time. I started working for this company right out of college.

Job Tasks: I work on new business pursuits. My business decides on what their strategy is, and then defines new business that we bid on. Sometimes these bids are small and sometimes, they are very large. The bids we submit range from Department of Defense, to NASA, to foreign governments. The majority of the proposals we submit go to the Department of Defense. I work in finance, and pull together all of the estimates provided by the engineers. I apply all of our rates and burdens on their estimates, and come up with a price to submit to the customer.

For each proposal, there is a cross functional team that is put together, usually consisting of engineers, IT, Supply Chain, Contracts, and finance. Each organization is responsible for a specific piece of the proposal process, but work in an integrated manner in order to come up with a competitive, compliant proposal to send to the customer.

My role is project specific, so each proposal I work on is a variation and I am constantly learning new things and working with new people. This job is considered being part of the front end of the business, and this is where we are able to win work and keep the revenue growing.

I also get involved with activity prior to actually coming up with the price we submit to the customer. For example, I sometimes have to look at different business models to determine if a pursuit makes sense to go forward with.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is working in cross functional teams and also the uniqueness of each pursuit. By working in cross functional teams, you get a chance to understand the entire picture of the proposal, not just your tiny piece. Each pursuit bring with it opportunities to learn about a new product, or customer, or strategy.

A few things I do aren't favorable are the frequent iterations we do in coming up to a final price. It creates a lot of rework, and it can occur late at night or on weekends. Also, sometimes we cannot predict when proposals are going to come up, which can make things very hectic, or very slow.

Job Tips:
1. Understand the fundamentals of finance and the business cycle. Pay attention to how financial statements work, and understand the accounting.

2. Also, I think with any career, be cognizant of the soft skills and what it takes to work with people of all different backgrounds. The people aspect of the job is the most critical in order to be successful.

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