Job Profile

Business Analyst

Business analysts work within space companies to help them develop the business case for their mission ideas, creating a viable business plan. The role of a business analyst is multidisciplinary, as they blend a business role with a technical one. The field of work itself is rapidly expanding as more space companies emerge each year.

What would you be doing?

There are many sorts of business analysts, since their work depends on many different factors, including the type of business they work for, as well as the project itself. However, every stage of a space project will have the same basic outline. 

Therefore, business analysts will investigate their goals, analyse available information, provide correspondence amongst different teams, and document and evaluate their findings, before finally implementing their ideas on a project. Microsoft Excel is an example of a software that business analysts use extensively.

For example, a business analyst working on making space sustainable will have a focus on encouraging potential customers to invest in debris removal services at the end of the life of their satellite. 

Alongside this, they may work closely with the technical teams to ensure that their objectives align with the business strategy.

What does a typical day involve?

A business analyst is primarily based in an office, and may work on various projects at once. Generally, business analysts will meet with their project managers to speak about their objectives on both technical and business fronts. Then, their typical days will consist of meetings with customers, or gathering data for their tasks. When they are not in meetings, business analysts will expand upon their ideas, and share their documentation with colleagues or stakeholders.

What specific skills are needed?

Business analysts have a whole range of skills that they practice each day at work. After all, they are constantly trying to figure out links between different areas of business.

For this type of job, good communication skills are essential. They are constantly speaking to different teams at their company and potential customers, as well as presenting their ideas in meetings. Business analysts must be computer literate in order to understand how their technical systems work, and also be able to convey written information effectively to their intended audience.

The ability to multitask is also important, since a business analyst will generally be handling multiple projects concurrently. This means that they must be flexible and able to handle sudden priority changes to efficiently respond to multiple requests.

A strong set of analytical skills are also required, as Excel and similar tools are used extensively in the industry, while programming skills are definitely an added benefit in many roles. Business analysts deal with a large amount of information, and must process it to create physical plans for their mission that address the company’s goals, while ensuring team members across different departments agree with the plan. This means that business analysts must also be quite detail oriented.

Finally, a business analyst should have good problem solving skills, as they have specifically been brought in to find a business case for a potentially brand new technical solution. They must be able to work through problems quickly so the wider team can understand the project and the company can progress. 

What type of qualifications are required?

Since business analysts in the space industry are typically dealing with technical information, they generally have an undergraduate degree in a STEM related field, but are interested in taking on a business focused role.

Otherwise, mathematics, business or economics graduates can also get involved in this field, but will generally need to demonstrate an interest in the space industry, whether it is from previous roles or volunteering experience. 

However, candidates from other undergraduate disciplines, if they have some form of space related experience, may also be considered for roles, this will vary depending on the company recruiting.

Where can I get some more information?

ESA Space Business Applications Portfolio

"Science Disrupt" podcast, Episode 71, featuring a business analyst speaking about space debris

"Space Industry News and Top Aerospace Stocks" article about space industry trends from a business perspective

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Christina MacLeod

Christina is an undergraduate student studying towards an MEng in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

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