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I want to see if anyone can share some real life information on corporate development opportunities post-IB. Real information defined as career progression timeline, salary, responsibilities, etc. First hand knowledge would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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Comments (11)

  • Monkey_Island's picture

    i assume you're asking from an analyst perspective--associates generally have poor luck making this type of move until they reach vp or higher.

    the following is from my experience as a corporate development professional.

    career progression:

    - most ex-analysts enter at the senior analyst level. this position is typically the position right under the manager/director level at fortune 500 corporations. some ex-analysts may be able to swing a manager level corporate development position at smaller to mid-size corporations or out of pure luck at larger places (right place, right time).

    - promotional opportunities are there, but generally far slower than in banking unless you're willing to hop around from company to company or job to job. most corporate development groups (not counting corporations which are organized like ge or sony where every single division and product line has its own corporate development team) tend to be relatively small. this, coupled with relatively low turnover (corporate development guys generally have little day-to-day pressure in the sense that they don't have sales quotas or p&l responsibilities) results in a situation where you most likely won't be receiving a promotion every 3 years.

    salary:

    - the average (based on real-life corroboration from friends/colleagues with similar positions) comp is about $75,000 to $90,000. the average company pays a bonus of around 10-25%, with some being higher and some being lower.

    - manager level pay can vary tremendously depending on how many manager levels there are, but in general, you could probably count on comp of at least $250,000 to $300,000 (in total) as a slightly-below c-level fortune 500 corporate development manager.

    responsibilities:

    - in general, you'll have more responsibilities than a banker of your comparative level. you'll do everything from deal screening/identification to model running to selling acquisition ideas to executives to negotiating LOIs, MOUs, and purchase agreements. in addition, you'll also gain exposure to the diligence process and actually coordinate financial, legal, environmental, tax, and operational due diligence.

    considerations:

    - obviously, the pay in corporate development is nowhere near comparable to banking. a 1st year out-of-college analyst will easily make more than a corporate development analyst with 2 years of banking experience and 1-2 years of corporate m&a experience. in addition, the higher up you move in corporate development, the worse the pay disparity becomes. most good senior associates will make more in a given year than senior fortune 500 corporate development managers.

    - however, the pay issue is well counterbalanced by the significant decrease in weekly work hours. while bankers across all levels will average at least 60 hours/week, corporate development is about as close to a traditional 9-5 job as you can get. in addition, you also have a lot more freedom and flexibility in the sense that you can offload any work that you really don't want to do to a banker in a pinch (those are the guys who are getting paid to work weekends, not you). in addition, you'll also have MDs who'll grovel at your feet and literally beg you for work to throw at them. you can definitely use this to your advantage (especially during the pitching phase where banks are competing for the "lead left advisory position") to get things done with minimal effort on your part.

    - additionally, corporate development in general is lower stress than comparable professional services positions. while some executives can be hard to work for, they do understand that most companies aren't organized to do 10 deals in a year. as a result, where there is pressure to identify deals and get them done, the pressure isn't as intense as bankers and salespeople who have to meet revenue quotas or operations guys who have to manage a p&l.

    - a lot of ex-bankers get bored with corporate development. although most bankers don't get off on the hours, they do get off on the transactional/deal experience. in the world outside banking, deals are done at a rate of maybe 1-2 a year on average. thus, if you get your kicks from doing deals, you'll likely bored pretty quickly. thus, for ex-bankers, corporate development is best balanced by some type of outside work interest (family, hobby, etc.) which makes having the free time worth it. if you're one of those guys (or girls) who gets off on being i) a master of the universe and ii) the richest person on the block with lots of fancy toys, corporate development probably isn't for you.

    - as a corporate development guy, you'll actually develop real industry knowledge. in other words, you'll really know how a business/industry works instead of pretending to know how a business/industry works like most bankers.

  • mnkyboi's picture

    wow that was extremely informative thanks!

  • LB Banker's picture
  • mean_reversion's picture

    Monkey Island,

    Do you think corp. dev. is a good entry point for advancement in a company (towards senior management at some point).

    Of course the progression isn't as fast as banking but do you think it's a good place to start for someone who wants out of banking and into industry as compared to other more obvious areas to start out in e.g. sales / line position

  • Monkey_Island's picture

    on the culture of the company... at a place that values analytics (i.e. the ceo is an ex mckinsey guy, etc.), sure--it'd be a great starting point.

    however, at an "operations" company where the culture is focused on operations above all else (analytics is an afterthought) and all the big guys are operations guys, maybe not.

  • capitan del banco's picture

    I agree w/ Monkey_Island.

    From what I've seen different companies place substantially different values on their corporate development departments. One BOD might greatly appreciate the insite of corp. development while another will just play with their blackberries until the next presentation (by somebody else.) Also, your degree of self-motivation will substantially impact your upward mobility. (And if you jump out of banking because of the hours you already know how self-motivated you are in regards to your career.)

  • Buck2210's picture

    In case anyone would still read this, I work in Corp Dev (searching for Manager salary info on this board), and Monkey_Island essentially wrote my work biography in his post. Excellent, informative, and accurate.

    However I'm beginning to think that Corp Dev Manager salary # he threw around is a little aggressive in today's market. Managers are really making 2x what Sr. Analysts are making? Huh?

  • gopadub's picture

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