Inside View: SBR Consulting

This sales-focused consulting firm created a whole new job for Fredrik Sandvall! He shares his tips for success...

We recently got a chance to speak with Fredrik Sandvall, Principal Consultant and Director in International Business Development for SBR Consulting. He fills us in on the valuable skills and soft-skills MBAs need to acquire and refine during their programmes and gives us some insightful advice on how to tackle the job application process. Fredrik believes that building a solid network is key to securing a dream job as “MBAs get good jobs from meeting real people and not on the internet!”

1. What are the exciting prospects for consulting and SBR in particular this year?
SBR is very much in demand this year. Right now companies are under immense pressure to perform well and grow in such an uncertain economic climate. These companies have high targets and expectations therefore it is a really good time for consulting and SBR in particular to step in and provide specialist solutions for our clients.

2. What can a career at SBR offer candidates that its competitors cannot?
Exposure. We are a specialist company focusing on sales and sales leadership. For that reason, we work on very strategic levels with top level officials such as CEOs and MDs helping them to create long term tactical plans. If you work with a bigger company, you are unlikely to get this level of exposure in the initial stages of your career. You tend to focus on a specialism rather than balancing the knowledge of many different sectors such as IT, Telecomms, and Financial Services. This makes the job very demanding but it also means you learn to do everything a partner in another consulting firm would be doing such as managing client interaction, executive coaching, and training of sales people.

3. How many MBA candidates are you looking to hire this year?
There is no set number. We are looking for people who can deliver. They need to have sales experience and also be ready to become involved in learning our methods. We have room for every good candidate.

4. What are the most valuable skills and soft-skills that can be developed during the MBA programme?
A focus on networking is crucial because with networking comes interpersonal skills. MBA candidates need to make extensive use of alumni, professors and students. Do not forget that things go on outside university as well and there are different organizations where you can look to broaden your network. I work with an organization called Chartered Management Institute(**track back to his student profile interview**) and I’m happy to guide BusinessBecause members on how to network through it.

5. There are more MBA candidates out there meaning that competition is rife. How do you make your selections?
We look for evidence of success in sales and business development. Top candidates are those who have pushed themselves and have gone the extra mile to try to become better and better. SBR does not specially advertise for MBA candidates but we welcome spontaneous applications. For instance, my job did not exist but my initiative, drive, persistence and interpersonal skills in addition to the right previous experience made it available to me.

6. What is your advice to MBAs for who are currently making job applications?
If you can, try to be quite selective. Look for jobs that will develop you. Think of it in terms of it being a step in the big career ladder. A common mistake that many people make is to list the companies they would like to work for and start by applying to their top choice. As they carry on, their applications get better but their strengths are not adequately presented in their initial applications. Start with the jobs that are not your priority and you will get better. Also, look for back-office roles from which you can easily switch to consulting. This might seem like a step back but if you move from industry to consulting, once you know the ropes you can move fast-track again.

Don’t forget that MBAs get jobs from meeting real people and not from the internet. Go out and try to talk to someone in the company. Just sending a CV and filling out an application without follow up is a waste of time.

About SBR Consulting
SBR’s singular focus is sales and sales leadership training aimed at helping companies to improve their top line by enhancing the productivity of their staff. They provide specialist sales and sales management consulting and training to organisations across the UK, Europe and North America

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