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Career Story: Business Director Of A Book Publishing Company

Business Director Of A Book Publishing Company

Job Title: Business Director Of Book Publishing Company

Type of Company: My company is a not-for-profit book publisher of business books

Education: AB in Anthropology, Harvard; MBA from Columbia Business School

Previous Experience: I was a consultant at Bain then worked as director of corporate analysis for a division of state government

Job Tasks: I analyze all the financials for the company to see where we are spending too much money, where it looks like we aren't spending enough money, and where we are getting our revenues. I do a lot of market analysis - which types of book sellers are the most profitable for us, and which are the least? How can we sell more books to the sellers that are more profitable? Which countries are growing fastest? Can we invest more in these countries to help them grow even faster?

In order to do market analysis I have to put a lot of separate data sets together in a system that I can analyze. I also help other people think through the implications of the market trends that we are seeing.

A typical day would start with a phone meeting with the head of sales and the head of a country we are investing in to review the profit and loss statement projected for the next two years. We would discuss the assumptions about the growth in revenue, and what kind of marketing investment we would need to make in order for that growth to happen. Then I would meet with IT to see what was happening with the inventory report; we need to see how many books we have in inventory and our monthly sales rate to decide whether it is time to reprint. Then I would meet with my manager to discuss the projects that I'm working on and what is coming up that needs to be prioritized.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is making fact-based decisions that will improve the business. I like taking a confusing chaotic part of the business and using the data we have to see the trends and patterns that will let us navigate the right path.

The worst part of my job is the nitty gritty accounting part, where we're not looking for important business trends but instead grinding through the minutiae of bean counting.

Job Tips:
1. Take intro courses in economics--it's the foundation of business and helps the world make sense no matter what career you go into.

2. Develop a unique strength in whatever job you are in - something that you can do better/faster than other people, so you become a resource that others depend on

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