Anyone actually like their corporate development job? (Post -IB)

thecoolkid1234's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,309

I know most people exit to PE/HF (coming from my firm) and maybe 1-2 in each analyst class exit to corporate development. I myself also plan on exiting to PE but I've always been curious about corporate dev

I know the positive to corporate development is actually getting your life back but it seems like everything else is sort of subpar. Pay sucks, work is ok but working for a company that isn't an actual financial firm becomes tedious even working for F100 companies, exit opportunity or career advancement seems murkier. So those that exited to corp dev from BB/EBs do you actually enjoy the work?

And if you actually do enjoy your work what are sort of the opportunities 2-5 years down the road?


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Comments (21)

Nov 28, 2018


Nov 28, 2018

Interested as well! I've always wondered whether people tend to stay in corpdev or move into other corporate functions

Nov 28, 2018

Interested as well.

Nov 28, 2018

No Corp Dev is a complete bullshit function.

At smaller firms, you're stuck doing everything because none of the 4th tier MBAs in FP&A and accounting understand excel (or anything else for that matter). You get stuck in bullshit corporate politics between management and bus dev and be ready to be the scapegoat for everything. Your hours are long, running pointless and often meaningless sensitivities on deals that will never close, and on deals that will, most of the work will be done by third party advisors in the nth hour.

At big firms, they're looking for burnt out bankers looking for early retirement. Your job is to basically pump out decks that will be used in presentations to the board. By the time a deal gets to you, it has already been viewed and reviewed - it's basically a done deal. You don't do any real diligence.

Oh yeah, the money sucks and you'll never be promoted unless your boss jumps ship.

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Nov 29, 2018

Well that sounds terrible...

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Nov 30, 2018

big 4 TAS guy with a PE badge throwing heavy shade.

Have done Corp dev and recently switched to PE.

If you work at a name brand bank and jump to Corp dev at a small, no-name company, then you made a terrible decision. Most people would know if the role has FP&A responsibilities, which does suck.

Pay and total comp does vary widely, both based on company size and industry.

Politics are a thing everywhere, so hard to broadly knock a certain job for that.

As to a deal and the diligence being done when the Corp dev team looks at it, you couldn't be more wrong. Who the fuck would've done the bid price and diligence? Common for companies to not use banks on PE portco or small private acquisitions.

My team selected which deals to chase and pass on.

I think some companies can hold back high performing IB analysts in Corp dev simply on years of work experience, which makes the long term progression pretty slow.

Waiting for a promotion based on people retiring is more prevalent at old school companies or companies in mature industries. Have heard this specifically about Boeing, GE, and Exxon, Chevron, etc. for oil. Applies to positions above manager (director, VP, etc.)

I'd say it's common for people to get solid industry experience and hop back to banking or into PE in the same industry. Good learning experience, but not necessarily better hours to the extent most expect.

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Nov 30, 2018

First, grats on TAS --> CD --> PE. That's a very difficult path and you should consider doing an AMA.

That said, there's so much variation in corp dev that I'm willing to accept you may have had a positive, productive experience. I'm speaking about what I've seen at a small (but rapidly growing) pharma company and at big pharma.

At big pharma, there are so many business development teams among the varying business units that conduct the initial DD. If it gets through their screening process, it goes to the consultants and bankers who refine the forecasts and construct the model.

By the time it gets to you, it's already effectively a done deal. Time to wrap it up and to prepare presentations to the board.

In terms if politics, it's true that it's a factor everywhere. Just some places are worse than others. In my experience, the lower quality individuals tend to politic harder and there are a lot of them in the corporate world. Much more so than in client services.

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Nov 30, 2018

I was cracking a joke since I thought you had a PE badge by accident. Might have looked at the wrong user or hallucinated.

Pharma and biotech are totally different animals from the rest of Corp dev, though. I would say it's safe to assert that those industries are very unique and don't have comparable responsibility and challenges versus consumer, industrial, tech Corp dev.

Agreed on low quality people getting by due to politics.

Dec 3, 2018

Curious as to how you switched to PE. Post-MBA?

Dec 4, 2018

Nope. Niche industry. Oil and gas.

There's a handful of guys I've come across with similar paths.

Most are upstream / E&P from what I've seen.

Dec 2, 2018

Couldn't be further from the truth.

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Dec 3, 2018

Care to elaborate and post details about your company's size?

Dec 6, 2018

I will probably just do a big post on it soon when I have some time, because there's a lot of stuff I could get into responding to his comment.

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Dec 1, 2018

I had a PE badge. For whatever reason, they assigned me an accounting badge and made me a certified user. It's unclear why. I don't work in accounting.

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Dec 2, 2018

I don't know why I laughed so hard at that but you get an SB Anyone actually like their corporate development job? (Post -IB)

Dec 2, 2018

Well I'm actually confused by this thread - I've noticed a trend on WSO where most corp dev posters say they love their job and it's a perfect mix of hours/pay/opportunities.

Any of the usual corp dev posters have any insights? @Sil @Esuric

Most Helpful
Dec 2, 2018

I spent half a year in Corp Dev during my rotational program here are my limited thoughts:

Corp Dev really varies company to company. If you're at an acquisitive company you can be doing a lot of deals and hours can be a little rougher. It also means the work you're doing can be a little more interesting. If you're not doing deals you might be selling business units, doing strategic work with other groups/units, looking for new deals etc. Hours usually aren't bad, pay isn't fantastic but if you can find a good balance that is where Corp Dev can be a good fit for some.

In Corp Dev you're always second fiddle to the actual product teams within the business. I was in tech, so the various product teams actually had the most say in M&A activity because we were almost always acquiring to advance some type of product strategy.

It was a bunch of BS decks and garbage work for the higher ups. Coming from a product group at the company I felt like I was going back into banking.

Most people on Corp Dev have come from banking and they're trying to make it into Marketing, Sales, Product, or some other operations function in the business. The path is decently well traveled and in our group, the senior corp dev people encouraged it, as in they would try and staff people within certain groups at the business for help with strategic work. The idea is you'd be a mercenary on a few projects, impress some BU leaders, and then jump into the business after a few years. I saw some more senior corp dev guys, jump to being directors of finance/CFOs of specific business units in the company.

All in all, I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in Corp Dev unless I was at a highly acquisitive company or just one that had a unique spin on Corp Dev. It's definitely a place you'd go if you value your lifestyle over money. With that being said, if you could get in at a pretty senior level it can be cushy. I knew an ex HSW MBA guy who did trad banking to PE, then went to his MBA and started in Corp Dev right out of school. He moved pretty quickly, jumped around a few corp dev units and now he's running the Corp Dev group at a F500 company in his early 30s. Probably makes a low stress few hundred thousand a year, gets pretty good stock based comp and could position himself to be a CFO candidate in ~5ish years.

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Dec 3, 2018

Any anecdotal stories on how Cd folks moved to marketing or sales?

Dec 3, 2018

Work for PE-backed company as second-year CD analyst coming from small I-bank. Work on 3-4 deals per year that close, work on another 2-4 deals that stay pre-LOI diligence, company probably closes ~8-15 deals per year. Most of the deals are LMM (<$100MM) at this point since the industry is so rolled up already, but constant deal work and pressure to complete as many acquisitions as possible since it is PE-backed. Work definitley gets repetetive preparing same materials for each deal, kind of a grind as well given large volume of transactions (more so than I thought going in)

Would be curious to hear from other CD people who have transitioned to PE (i.e. how long did you stay in CD, background, strategy, etc.). Feel like you need to stay at least 2 years prior to exit

Dec 3, 2018
Dec 3, 2018