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A business analyst trainee assists an established analyst with gathering data related to a particular company or a department within a firm. The trainee analyzes the data and attempts to find ways to improve efficiency or to cut operating costs of a business or department. Normally, the trainee must submit reports to a seasoned analyst and that individual is actually responsible for making recommendations to the company's board of directors or owners about operating changes and cost reductions.
Generally, a business analyst trainee must have a college degree in business administration, economics or a related field. Aside from business or finance related degrees, some firms prefer an analyst to have an industry related degree which means that an information technology (IT) firm may hire a computer science graduate rather than a business graduate. A trainee analyst normally receives on-the-job training for a period of time before transitioning into a permanent analyst role. Aside from hiring graduates, some firms operate business analyst trainee internship programs for undergraduate students. People who enroll in these programs normally work as unpaid trainees for a period of time after which the firm may offer full-time jobs to the best performing individuals.
Business analysts are often tasked with assessing organizational structures and finding ways to improve a firm's business model. A business analyst trainee may be asked to review one area of a firm's structure such as its staffing model. The trainee may review job descriptions of employees in different areas of the firm to look for any overlaps in responsibilities that would enable the company to cut costs by eliminating positions. In other instances, a trainee may be asked to review an area of the firm's operations such as its internal communications structure or its distribution network. The trainee must determine if the company can save money by streamlining processes or eliminating red tape to increase productivity.
Publicly traded companies normally have annual and quarterly sales goals and revenue targets and these goals are divided between different departmental managers. A trainee business analyst may be tasked with analyzing the past and present performance of a particular department so that production delays and other issues can be identified and addressed. In some instances, trainees produce reports that compare a firm's operations with the practices of its competitors. A firm may decide to purchase new operating software, machinery or equipment if a report reveals that the company could improve efficiency by incorporating ideas and practices that have yielded positive results at other firms.
The reports that a business analyst trainee produces are normally reviewed by a manager or an established analyst. This individual may advise the trainee on how to make reports more succinct or easy to follow. Additionally, senior analysts check reports for errors because a firm may make poor strategic decisions if it relies on reports that include inaccurate data. Typically, trainees continue to work closely with experienced analysts until these analysts determine that the trainees have the ability and experience to accurately analyze information and produce reports without the need for close supervision.