Business Awareness

While there are many lists of these ’employability’ skills, at Oxford we focus on the key eight skills – based on the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s report, Future Fit.

This page focuses on Business Awareness. To read more about the other seven employability skills, click on the links below.


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These ideas are ways to start thinking about business awareness. You’re unlikely to use these as evidence of business skills in a written application, but they might be things you reference to demonstrate an ongoing interest.

  • Read about business in the FTEconomist etc.
  • Subscribe to sector based magazines or other publications.
  • Attend employer presentations.
  • Take part in consulting case studies run by the Careers Service, advertised on CareerConnect.
  • Read business related autobiographies.

These are all quick ways you can boost your business awareness, and which you might mention in applications.

  • Budget for a complex travelling trip, or for a summer project.
  • Take part in a college Telethon fundraising event or raise funds for charity with a student society.
  • Attend company insight days and events that include skill sessions.
  • Compete in business competitions, e.g. Management Consulting case competitions or online investment competitions.
  • Get involved in running a student society, e.g. negotiating sponsorships or discounts with local firms; setting direction and planning  the strategy.
  • Work in your college bar.
  • Join The Oxford Strategy Challenge (TOSCA) to get an insight into a local business through our consultancy-style hackathon.
  • Do a Micro-internship. or undertake a 'virtual internship', e.g. through Forage, which offers free, short  (6-8 hours) open-access courses set by leading companies and which challenge you to work through in-depth case studies that reflect that company's industry and work.   
  • If you're volunteering or in part-time work, suggest ways to improve efficiency, resulting in time or cost savings.
  • Sign up for the Enterprising Oxford newsletter, and engage in their events across the University.
  • Volunteer regularly, for example via OxHub.
  • Represent your College at All Innovate, Oxford's inter-collegiate pitching competition for entrepreneurial ideas run by the Oxford Foundry.
  • Manage the budget for a society, a drama or arts production, or a departmental event or conference.
  • Secure an internship – for example, through our Summer Internship Programme. There are lots of different opportunities out there – see our page on finding work experience for tips.
  • Participate in Insight into Strategy and Management – our regular programme designed for students to demystify business and increase commercial awareness.
  • Sell a skill, for example, by organising some paid gigs for your band or to raise money for a favourite charity.
  • Oxford's  IDEA Engaging with Entrepreneurship Programme can help you understand how to turn your business ideas into action, from pitching to investors to marketing your idea.

  • Commit to self-directed learning for example in marketing, finance, or business management with the Government's Skills Toolkit or LinkedIN Learning (free using your SSO via Molly, IT Services learning portal)  
  • Organise a major event that aims to turn a profit, such as a college ball, arranging a concert tour or taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe etc.
  • Set up a business or a 'side hustle', e.g. selling your own work or items on Etsy, Depop or other platforms. 
  • Start your own Social Enterprise! Seek support from local organisations, e.g  OxHub, the Oxford Foundry or Enterprising Oxford and make connections to others going this route.

Click on the 'CareerConnect EVENTS'  tab below to see upcoming events from the Careers Service where you can build on this skill.

CareerConnect EVENTS

Looking for more?

Check the CareerConnect platform for all our upcoming events and opportunities, book appointments, find jobs and internships, and more.

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