Best Resources for Improving Your Commercial Awareness
Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Employers expect candidates to have strong commercial awareness, which they will be looking for in application forms, assessment centres and interviews. The strongest candidates will have an understanding of how changes in the business world impact the specific firm you are applying to.
For a comprehensive definition of commercial awareness, check out this article by one of our blog writers.
Khan Academy: Economics section
Investopedia: Investment banking - paid self-study courses
Finimize (website & app!)
LittleLaw - tailored towards law students
Newspapers and Journals
When you read articles from these sources, make sure to think about:
The client/customer base
The services on offer
The businesses’ competitors
Its place in the market
How profitable/successful it is and why
The suppliers of the business
How politics, the economy and law affect the business
Whether the company has been in the press lately and how different articles present different views of the company.
Thinking about these factors will allow you to not only know about events but understand them. Understanding what has happened and why, will allow you to speculate what the future of a company or industry will be with better accuracy and reasoning.
The ‘City Career Series’ handbooks by Jake Schogger
All you need to know about Commercial Awareness by Chris Stoakes
All you need to know about the city by Chris Stoakes
An Introduction to Global Financial Markets
Legal Insider by Matthew Berrick
Commercial Awareness with Watson's Daily Business and Financial News by Peter Watson (ex-stockbroker, 13 years at 4 different investment banks in London and Tokyo who advised some of the world's biggest financial institutions on what stocks to buy and sell on the UK, European and Japanese stock markets)
Thinking Commercially by Bright Network
Get Some Work Experience
No matter which career you would like to go into, any role in a business will develop your commercial awareness in some way. Even working in a supermarket can develop skills such as customer service and communication skills, time management, teamwork, problem-solving, numeracy and responsibility. Most importantly, you will develop your commercial awareness by witnessing how a fast-paced business operates and how commercial decisions are made.
Attend OXCAS’s interactive events
OXCAS's interactive discussion sessions and commercial awareness masterclasses with Peter Watson provide an excellent opportunity to improve your commercial awareness with a hands-on approach, which is our "unique selling point" :)
Develop your understanding through analysing articles
The most important thing about developing commercial awareness is that you engage with the information that is given to you. It is what you will need to do in a case study/interview context, and it is what you should do in preparation for your applications as well. Rather than simply flicking through the Financial Times, choose a few a week to analyse, or read several a day but pick out important aspects of it (as explained above in the "Newspapers and Journals" section).
The virtual internship platform Forage (previously InsideSherpa) offers the opportunity to complete tasks that you would participate in as an intern or in a graduate role. These internships provide valuable insight into practice areas and the roles you might have at firms.
'Joe Mallet Resources for Aspiring Lawyers' LinkedIn group by Joe Mallet (LinkedIn law blogger, incoming trainee solicitor at US law firm Vinson & Elkins -- with 5 vacation scheme offers)
Global Lawyers Connect Facebook group by Gordon Chung (future trainee solicitor at Baker Mckenzie)
More From Law podcast by Harry Clark (Trainee Solicitor at Baker McKenzie and law blogger)
CaseInterview.com by Victor Cheng (former McKinsey consultant, resume screener and case interviewer)
FIRMSconsulting: weekly podcasts on consulting case interviews and real engagements run by real partners and directors
Some Extra Sources