Today, our featured career is ‘Entrepreneurship & Business’. A ‘business’, simply put, means an organisation which does something. They can be non-profit (such as charities), or for profit – normally this means producing or selling goods and services to make money for the business. As this definition suggests, there are a huge range of businesses and opportunities if you would like to work in business. Management roles are common in the public sector, retail banking and insurance, retail, logistics and operations, hospitality and leisure – and more! This means there are often good opportunities to travel throughout your career, and to try new and exciting things.
In order to succeed in business, you might have good leadership skills, the ability to work with others (empathy, diplomacy, team-working) and you might also enjoy creative challenges, combined with an aptitude for making decisions and solving problems. Working in a large business gives the opportunity to meet and work with many people, and there are chances to progress into management and lead larger teams of people. If you enjoy working with people towards a common goal, working in a business might be for you!
An ‘entrepreneur’ is someone who starts a business. A difference for an entrepreneur is that often they will take on a high amount of personal risk while establishing the business, and might have some time of limited or no personal income as they invest in building the business. If you enjoy taking risks, and driving a project forward then starting a business might be a great option for you – entrepreneurs need to be highly motivated individuals, who enjoy being in charge and can see the bigger picture to help business grow.
Most recent role: Executive Director/Chief Executive, BSI
Undergraduate Degree: Geography BA, University of Oxford
Brief Biography: Howard Kerr was read Geography at St John’s College, Oxford. While at university, he was Captain of the Rugby Club, a member of the Boat Club, and President of the Amalgamated Sports Clubs. After St John’s he undertook a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Cranfield University.
After a period at Associated British Ports, Howard Kerr’s early career was spent in business development roles in the fields of shipping, logistics and B2B marketing with Inchcape PLC in the UK, Japan, China and the Middle East. Subsequently he joined SHV Holdings NV, where he held general management positions in the energy division, including Chief Executive of Calor Group Ltd, UK, and Senior Vice-President on the International Management Board of SHV Gas in the Netherlands.
Howard Kerr was appointed to the Board of BSI in November 2008 and assumed the position of Chief Executive in January 2009. BSI provides technical standards on a wide range of products and services in the UK. Howard Kerr retired as Chief Executive of The British Standards Institution (BSI) at the end of 2020, and is committed to sharing his experience and enthusiasm for business with pupils through outreach programmes.
Entrepreneurship and Employability Skills
In order to succeed in business, whether you are working for a larger company or starting your own business, it is important to understand how you (and others) work best. This will help you identify your strengths, and the kinds of tasks and roles that you will most enjoy and excel in. It is equally important to identify the areas where you are not as strong – and find people who have these skill sets to help you! This is part of building a successful team, and a successful business.
For today’s activities, you will learn your working personality type by taking a quiz, and then explore the other types of working personality – who could be a good business partner for you? You will also have a chance to review your skills, and think like an entrepreneur.
Want to know more?
To find out more about working in business, or establishing a business as an entrepreneur, take a look at the following explore-a-career pages:
- Oxford University Careers Service
- National Careers Service: Business project manager
- PROSPECTS: Business development manager
To explore other career options that might interest you, there are lots of tool available! We recommend starting by exploring job sectors and occupations on the following websites:
Talking to people who are currently doing a role you are interested in, organising some work experience where you can shadow someone doing this role, or reading first-hand accounts from people working in the area you are interested in can all help you find out more about a particular job!
To find out more about studying a subject at University, you can also talk to current St John’s students using Inspire Chat by clicking here!