Cluster Business Manager

Date: 25 May 2023

Location: Kuala Lumpur, East Asia, MY

Company: British Council

We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide.

We work directly with individuals to help them gain the skills, confidence and connections to transform their lives and shape a better world in partnership with the UK. We support them to build networks and explore creative ideas, to learn English, to get a high-quality education and to gain internationally recognised qualifications.

Working with people in over 200 countries and territories, we are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people.


Role Purpose:

The role exists to deliver against the SMITH cluster P&L, the role defines and delivers against a plan to achieve business targets.  It works closely with operations to ensure costs are controlled; The role monitors and evaluates performance on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis, identifying strategies to address underperformance.


Main accountabilities but not limited to the following: 


Commercial and/or financial management

  • Translates regional and SBU commercial strategies into annual work plans and deploys resources efficiently and cost effectively to deliver required income, impact and profitability targets for agreed countries within the cluster.
  • Provide expert input into the design and control of commercial-related activities such as commercial planning, projecting levels of demand, identify opportunities to maximize revenue from resources, aligning need to class hours, drawing together data and turning into actionable plan e.g. resourcing and Sales pipeline reporting to meet (daily/weekly/monthly) targets, schedules and deadlines.
  • Partners with Regional and Cluster Functional leads to propose annual budgets on the basis of detailed resource planning to enable cost effective, high quality in-year delivery of operational activities in the country/cluster.
  • Liaises closely with regional and SBU colleagues to clarify and agree local targets in terms of revenue/margin/volume/impact/time/cost. 
  • Plans and delivers the geographical growth strategy including expansion and consolidation of centre & branch network, develops business cases for investment and monitors profitability of off-site locations in line with Global Market  Development standards and approaches.


Analysis and reporting

  • Uses management information, analysis and personal operating experience to identify and make recommendations on improvements to country and cluster-wide ways of working, processes, procedures and/or resources that will enhance efficiency, revenue growth and continuous improvement in the quality of service/product delivery.
  • Works closely with regional colleagues to ensure the profitability of global products, services and marketing campaigns and ensuring they reflect market requirements, ensuring fee positioning is appropriate.
  • Partners with the relevant regional, cluster and country functional leads to conduct country/cluster income forecasts and optimise the B2C sales pipeline. 
  • Within agreed corporate procedures and schedules of delegated authority, manages and reports on variances to plan, controlling principal local levers impacting on cost and service provided (e.g. people, processes, resources, suppliers).
  • Works with Corporate solutions to maintain visibility on B2B/Sales forecast,  pipeline and integrate contract delivery into cluster/country commercial forecasts.
  • Leads the negotiation/structuring of local deals to achieve required operational goals, drawing appropriately on the input and expertise of other colleagues/external advisors as required.


Market & customer intelligence

  • Contributes market, customer and business performance insights to inform marketing strategy and plans for the cluster, country or market segment/lifestage. 
  • Develops and maintains relationships with key geographically dispersed stakeholders to build a clear understanding of their needs/experiences, to inform medium-term innovation in the quality of service/programme/product delivery.


Relationship and Stakeholder management

  • May be formal account manager for a nominated customer/institution//sponsor, as required by regional/SBU business development and partnership plans.
  • Manages a range of relationships with external stakeholders (e.g government, sponsors, customers, partners) to achieve positive outcomes. 
  • Partners with Corporate Solutions for business pursuit and to ensure excellent Account Relationship Management.

Risk and compliance

  • Uses standard corporate protocols, combined with previous experience and detailed knowledge of the local social/political/security context, to assess a range of risks in to business delivery.  Ensures appropriate contingency plans are in place and implemented promptly to manage delivery safely and effectively in challenging or high-risk circumstances.
  • May be responsible for legal representation, supporting tax and status changes, overseeing audits, provides formal representation of the British Council for legal, employee relations cases at a Centre level.
  • Investigates any reported instances of non-compliance with agreed corporate risk management policies (e.g. child protection, security policies, financial protocols, anti-fraud measures), and takes appropriate remedial action, including escalation to more senior colleagues as required.


Leadership & management

  • Leads and controls a geographically dispersed team within a complex matrix, ensuring clear communication of goals and expectations. Time horizons are likely to be quarterly to annual.
  • Identifies requirements and recommends training and development provision to build improved commercial capability within the country.
  • As an experienced commercial manager, actively contributes to the development of wider regional and SBU strategies and commercial plans.


Role specific knowledge and experience:



  • To have at least minimum 5 years experience in business management
  • Experience of business management including understanding of the drivers of growth and interpretation of financial and resource data to forge business action.
  • Experience of maximising the acquisition funnel through management of data, dashboards, and action on interpretation of customer insights.
  • Successfully leading and delivering transformational change.  
  • Operating in international and multi-cultural organisations.
  • Managing legal, commercial, risk and security issues. 
  • Comfortable operating in a rapidly changing environment.


Further Information:

Pay Band: 7 / Grade F
Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract, 2 years
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Candidates must have the right to live and work in the country in which the role is based. Those candidate from outside Malaysia will be also considered.
  • Minimum undergraduate degree in Business Administration/Marketing or in relevant field.


Closing Date: Wednesday, 7 June 2023- 23:59 Malaysia Time (GMT +8)


A connected and trusted UK in a more connected and trusted world.


Equality , Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement


The British Council is committed to policies and practices of equality, diversity and inclusion across everything we do. We support all staff to make sure their behaviour is consistent with this commitment.  We want to address under representation and encourage applicants from under-represented groups, in particular, but not exclusively, on grounds of ethnicity and disability.  All disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria are guaranteed an interview and we have Disability Confident Employer Status. We welcome discussions about specific requirements or adjustments to enable participation and engagement in our work and activities.


The British Council is committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults who we work with.


We believe that all children and adults everywhere in the world deserve to live in safe environments and have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, maltreatment and exploitation as set out in article 19, UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) 1989.


Appointment to positions where there is direct involvement with vulnerable groups will be dependent on thorough checks being completed; these will include qualification checks, reference checks, identity & criminal record checks in line with legal requirements and with the British Council’s Safeguarding policies for Adults and Children.


If you have any problems with your application please email


Please note: Applications to this role can only be considered when made through the Apply section of our careers website. Our ‘ASK HR’ email is only to be used in case of a technical issue encountered when applying through the careers website. Emails with supporting statements and CV/Resumes sent to this email address will not be reviewed and will be deleted.