Corp Dev out of undergrad- FT MBA or PT MBA?

Hey Guys/ Gals,

I have been following WSO for a few years now. This is my first post and my goal here is to seek advice, as well as extend it in anyway I can, given my situation.

Situation: I went to a non- target in the south for undergrad and managed to get a F150 corp dev job right out of school this year. I went through a pretty extensive networking effort to obtain an IB role these past few years, but nobody wanted me as their slave. I am super grateful for this position during a pandemic-- and although I am only a few months in-- I am receiving great exposure to senior executives throughout the company's BUs and arguably obtaining the same technical skills as most IB analysts (ie. PP, excel, valuation methods, etc.). I have juggled the idea of business school in the future but I am having issues determining whether I want to do FT or PT. Here are my current thoughts:

1) I do not plan on switching careers anytime soon. My thought process is that most people leave IB for corp dev, so it would not make sense for me to reverse it, unless I wanted to pursue the grind of breaking into PE (IB one year -> PE -> B school -> PE). Even then, I feel as if my undergrad/ lack of a million BB/ PE internships will hinder me for the next 5 years. I also find my job interesting.

2) My company will pay for a PT online MBA (UNC, Kelley, Tepper, Hough) so I won't undergo the opportunity cost of a FT MBA. I will need the degree to get promoted faster, but I will not need the networking opportunities that are traditionally associated with a FT MBA career transition.  

3) The internal movement within the company is very flexible, so I can get experience in strategy, FP&A, treasury (no way), etc. if I want to pursue a CFO track. 

What I am wondering from the community is: 1) If I want to stay in Corp Dev, is it worth it to wait and get a FT MBA or should I start the PT ASAP for promotional opportunities in the near term? 2) Will a PT online MBA at one of these schools be looked upon negatively if I want to switch companies or pursue a senior executive role in the future? 3) Could there be a small chance of breaking into PE if I excelled in the corp dev role but did not have that traditional IB path.

Finally, if anyone is interested in my experience and wants me to provide clarity regarding the role, how I obtained it, interview process, compensation, etc.-- feel free to ask questions. I want to help as much as I can.

P.S. I apologize for any typos

Comments (12)

Aug 20, 2020 - 8:28pm
kriscurry, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My situation is exactly same as yours. I landed a job in corp dev in a F30 company out of college. However my concern is that it would be hard to get promoted given the low mobility in this field and my lack of IB/PE experience. As far as I know breaking into PE would not be easy. Even if you make it, you'll probably have to focus on the same industry as in your corp dev role. Could you please talk about the compensation? My TC is about 140k FYI

Aug 21, 2020 - 4:48pm
Long_Crocs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow that TC seems incredibly high-- are you in your first year out of undergrad? My TC all in is ~90k and I thought that was fairly high (Im not in a major financial hub). From reading posts here, it feels like HR really does not know what to offer for corp dev roles-- they seem to base it off of FP&A salaries. I have personally not been able to find an abundance of accurate info relating to compensation in the field. 

Most Helpful
Aug 20, 2020 - 9:24pm
TechnoPanther, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So the FT vs. PT decision will depend on your overall goal.

If you plan on staying in a F500 CF role then a FT MBA is not necessary (IMO). You can use a PT MBA to switch companies, industries and even functions (think MBA LDPs). A PT MBA will also let you be able to gain experience while in school so you can graduate with about the same years of experience as a FT graduate.

If you want to get into PE, IB, or VC I would recommend FT because an internship is crucial to break into those areas. If are you going FT it makes the most sense to aim for T10 because those will still give you the biggest bang for your buck. Keep in mind the T10 schools typically require 5-6 years of experience.

That being said, you should have at least 3 years of experience before pursuing a PT MBA. The reason being is that the more experience you have, the more value you will get out of the program and the more value you will add to your classmates' experiences. I am currently in Tepper's Online Hybrid program and love it. I had 3.5 years of experience when I applied.

If definitely helps if your company is paying for it. One thing to note - read the "fine print" as some companies that cover most of the degree will require you stay with the firm for several years after your graduate.

Be looked upon negatively by who? Your current employer? Many people get their MBA PT and leave companies. Odds are you will be able to get more externally which is why it can be beneficial to jump ship every 3-4 years if you're stuck at the same spot on the totem pole.

  • 6
Aug 21, 2020 - 4:52pm
Long_Crocs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I appreciate the insight. I agree that waiting for PT would allow me to get more out of it, but at the same time, I would not have an issue rushing it because I would have to work for my company post- MBA. I am glad you are enjoying your PT experience.

Aug 21, 2020 - 7:35pm
TechnoPanther, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I see - well it's worth a shot but it will definitely be harder to get in with less experience (I know someone who had to reapply to my program because they didn't have enough experience). Luckily, GMAT scores are valid for 5 years so the sooner you take the GMAT the better. Best of luck to you! Aim for the best school you can!

  • 2
Aug 23, 2020 - 1:07am
tbnb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I believe TechnoPanther has this q covered. I would also say that the PTMBA is not a bad choice if you wanted to stay with your firm.

This is anecdotal, but I know several people at my F500 that have earned their MBA's from state schools while working. They leveraged the degree into promotions, and are on track for Director level positions within the next few years.

Would you mind sharing what industry the role is in? I would be interested in hearing how you obtained it and how the interview process went.

  • 3
Aug 23, 2020 - 5:53pm
Long_Crocs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sure! The company is within the industrials sector. I actually had a headhunter reach out to me through LinkedIn because she liked my internship experience and leadership positions on campus. Ironically, I also had something in common with her son at the time, so we bonded over that on our intro call (super lucky). After that, I had two phone calls with directors of the team. The questions were a mix of technical and behavioral just to make sure I was competent in finance. The final round was a super day where I (and other interviewees) had 8 one- hour interviews with every member of the team. The interviews with the lower ranking team members were predominantly behavioral, whereas the interviews with the higher directors were very technical. There was a small "case" study at the end but it was just a basic DCF-- nothing crazy. For the technical questions, I found an interview prep PP by JPM that included 500 questions relating to accounting/ valuation/ M&A (sorry I cant find the link). I basically memorized these and made sure I REALLY understood them. Safe to say I didn't get a single technical question wrong that whole day. 

Aug 24, 2020 - 12:50am
tbnb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats. Sounds like you earned it! 

Aug 23, 2020 - 7:03pm
cap182375, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd work for a couple years first and then assess if you want to do the PT MBA and try to accelerate your trajectory at your current company or pursue one of the alternatives.

Doing an MBA, even the PT one, doesn't make a whole lot of sense as a fresh analyst. It could distract you from getting acclimated and good at your day job, and any promo conversations are unlikely to happen for at least ~2 years. And the MBA is unlikely to play a role there - personally as a manager I wouldn't really care about a PT MBA for an analyst -> sr analyst/ associate type promotion. Maybe at the point where you're getting considered for a manager-type role is where the MBA letters after your name start to matter.

I do think the lateral opportunity exists from CD to PE. It's obviously not a hugely well trod route, but it does happen. There's a fairly wide range of CD experience profiles - you can be just execution focused/ siloed, or you can really be in a group that runs more like a PE firm sourcing, diligencing, pitching deals. If you're in the latter with good deal reps, some F2F with bankers/ and sellers (PE, owners, etc), the lateral opportunity to PE is on a completely different level than the other. It's unlikely you'll end up at BX or whatever, but your odds of finding a decent MM firms aren't terrible.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 6, 2020 - 9:01am

As someone who has done banking internships and wants to pursue Corp dev out of undergrad, any advice for pursuing that? 

Sep 7, 2020 - 9:59am
Long_Crocs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Starting in corp dev out of undergrad is very difficult because recruiting occurs at an ad- hoc basis and most firms hire analysts with at least two years of banking experience. If you want to pursue Corp Dev, I would look at firms close to you that have an acquisitive history and see if there are openings. From what I have read, Corp Dev teams tend to look nearby for lower- level positions instead of recruiting at a national level. Another route is to find a company that has a FLP or LDP program with rotations through the Corp Dev team-- do the 2 year program and then try to land a position. I wouldn't be discouraged if you cant find anything straight out of undergrad, there was definitely some luck on my side. If Corp Dev is the path you want in the future, then banking will definitely give you the best foundation early in your career. Let me know if you have any more questions I can answer. 

Sep 7, 2020 - 1:00pm
cbdbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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