Switching from IB to Corp Dev - any insights?

Hi monkeys,

I've recently received a Corp Dev Associate offer from a late stage tech startup that I'm seriously contemplating. Background: I'm currently a junior assoc in a reputed IB.

The role would involve a mix of acquisitions (mostly vertical but also horizontal; should be fairly busy given the industry), IR, fundraising and subsequently IPO-related workstreams (in c.2 years).

The Company is growing at an explosive rate and I personally think it's meant for great things. My questions are twofold:

1) Any idea on the amount of work I can expect at a fast growing tech startup like this? The Corp Dev team is pretty lean right now (CFO, Head of CD and myself). Though I know the type of work is going to be fairly unorganized compared to IB, I'm wary about going again into a 80hr job again. (Separately, I'm doing DD on the CD team members to understand their working style)

2) Any important questions that you think I should ask the team before taking up the role? This could be work-related (for e.g. how do they see the CD team expanding over the next 1-2 years esp.? since I don't want to be on the bottom for too long) or pay-related (since most of the pay will be in ESOPs)

Thanks! Any insights would be extremely useful.

P.S - this is my first post on WSO after having been a reader for multiple years - feels good :)

Comments (4)

Feb 27, 2022 - 12:15am
WSO Monkey Bot, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Mar 2, 2022 - 7:38pm
wes-cn, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1) Depending on your M&A pipeline, if they are very active in that space, expect very long hours because you are also handling IR and fundraising. Since you've already got the offer, it's ok to ask about the hours directly. Just say you are totally ok with long hours since you've been in IB but just wanted to be prepared for everything.

2) Opportunity to progress your career/biggest risks that will damage the business/expected deals close per year/what if you much overpaid a target(I've seen people got fired because of this)

Lastly, I would say it's the people that matters the most so only accept the offer if you get along with the team. The team is too small to afford any personality related issues.

Most Helpful
Mar 7, 2022 - 3:53pm
Sil, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would really dig into what exactly this role's mandate is. While on the surface, it would appear that you're staring down the barrel of 80+ hours given the broad nature of this role, it's also possible that the startup cannot afford a dedicated corp dev team, so they have you handle IR, capital, etc. to justify keeping you around. I would really want to know what their M&A pipeline looks like, and if they're about to IPO, are they really going to be dedicating a lot of bandwidth to M&A?

Since corp dev roles tend to be more career roles (i.e. they generally expect to keep you past two years), it's important to dig into the hiring manager. What experience do they have managing teams? Can they provide examples of mentoring analysts/associates and taking an active interest in their career? Is this role a new hire or is it being backfilled? If the latter, why was the position vacated? What does success look like in this role? These questions can be changed or worded differently, but they should give you an accurate picture of what the team is like. I also love asking every interviewer what they did last weekend. It's a great way to get a gauge on expected hours.

Mar 9, 2022 - 10:23am
cap182375, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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