Graduate Commerical Officer

"BAE Systems is such a vast company with multiple lines of businesses and functions."

I have a legal background, studying European Law at Southampton and International Law at UCLA. I worked in Ministry of Defence, Commercial prior to joining BAE Systems.

I felt that there were lots of opportunities to be explored during the two year scheme. BAE Systems is such a vast company with multiple lines of businesses and functions.

Being able to coordinate with international government bodies, international BAE Systems offices and external organisations is great. It feels quite surreal to be part of an international company with such breadth and strength of position in the defence industry.

It is challenging and rewarding at the same time to have responsibility and buy in over multiple projects. My key activities include drafting bid proposals, communicating with the customer, contract management activities and negotiation of terms.

I’ve had many outstanding moments of enjoyment and achievement at work, for instance submitting an export bid proposal having overseen the development of the bid from outset; resolving ongoing NDA negotiations having proposed a neutral solution and successfully organising a commercial conference.

The most rewarding aspect is how interesting, varied and diverse my role is. I think it’s a pretty unique commitment to be responsible for the submission of high value bids to international government bodies.

I engage with internal and external stakeholders regularly. Commercial is a function which interlinks with different functions such as project management, engineering, supply chain and legal to develop bid submissions. Communication is vital to ensure all parties are aligned and to understand the different motivations and requirements of each party, from internal stakeholders to customers and subcontractors.

Everyone is super- supportive. There is lots of coordination between the team and a shared responsibility to deliver. Commercial is largely about coordination, linking and bonding with different functions internally and customers externally.

The scheme puts you in good stead by partnering you with a buddy from the outset and assigning you a mentor. As you join the graduate group you naturally form ties with each other by sharing similar experiences.

You are kept busy day-to-day on placement, and have graduate development courses and stretch activities to get involved with as well. You need to plot out your development and identify your next placement during your current placement, so there’s plenty to keep you busy.

You have to be able to absorb a lot of information in a short period of time. I would advise new starters to be flexible and ready to adapt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, probe further and be curious about how things work.

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