Business acumen and why it matters

Published on May 30, 2021   28 min

Other Talks in the Series: Early Career Development

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Good day everyone, I'm Dr. Kyra Leigh Sutton. I'm a faculty member at Rutgers University of New Jersey in the United States. Welcome to business acumen and why it matters.
I've studied the transition of young adults into the workplace for more than 12 years. Something significant to me is for young adults to remember you have agency over your career. It means that your career choices matter and you should select opportunities that give you the best chance to learn and grow. It also means that it is the responsibility of those like myself who have transitioned from school to work to help the next generation. Overall, if we send young adults into the real-world without specific evidence-based guidance, we fail you each time. This series is intended to fill that void and lessen the uncertainty young adults experience as they transition to their first permanent roles. Many young adults have benefited from courses or guidance focused on how to get the job. In contrast, less emphasis is given on what happens during the first few years after you start working. This part of the series is focused on helping you perform on the job.
The first time I heard business acumen was when I worked in learning and development and observed talent reviews. During talent reviews, there are conversations about the organization's leaders and early career talent with high potential. Most of the high potential early career talent had two things in common. They were good at building relationships, which we talked about in a previous session and they knew the business. Business acumen goes beyond doing your job and it pushes you to think big picture about how the decisions you are making and the solutions you develop are aligned with the strategic direction of the business. During this session, I will share a definition of business acumen and teach you how to demonstrate it during interviews and on the job. Last thought, it's totally okay if you feel business acumen is a streak you don't yet have, you will have plenty of time to develop it throughout your career. I hope you enjoy this session.