Are Corp Dev Careers dead-ends?

artclick's picture
Rank: Chimp | 11

Hi guys, I've got 3 years of experience in private equity and corporate development at a start-up (fund raising) and I'm looking to go into a larger MNC that does corporate development. A recruiter signalled to me that corp dev careers tend to have a dead-end.

The reasons are:
a) There's not that many roles to go around particularly if you're interested in staying in financial services
b) Corp Dev/Strat roles don't lead to an obvious C-suite position - you can't really be CFO/COO/CEO - potentially Chief Strategy Officer but thats still an upcoming role and isn't commonplace.

I live in Singapore and wonder if that distorts the norm but I wondered if what other corporate development/strategy professionals thought about this? If you are a senior person doing corp dev/strat for a bank/large company, what was your path to getting to your role right now? What challenges to did you encounter? And do you think there is senior progression in your role or see a chance of getting capped out?

Region: 

Comments (11)

Nov 6, 2019

Sort of yes and sort of no. If you have no interest in Corp Dev long term / really don't want to cap out as head of CD, I'd do something else. But there are some large MNCs with former m&a guys who are CEO. It's just not super common of course. But you could become head of CD, then Treasurer (feasibility depends on company/industry), and then CFO.

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Nov 7, 2019

My previous bosses in Corp Devl always had aspirations to move into a GM/P&L ownership role.

Nov 27, 2019

Wouldn't they take GM of Corp Dev over GM of some P&L item?

Array

Most Helpful
Nov 8, 2019

At my former company, a large global co, many people in corp dev exited to middle/sr. level positions as small segment CFOs, small segment head of Marketing, Finance Directors at larger segments, global Strategy roles, etc. All depending on the persons background - eg not everyone in corp dev was a finance background, we took from lots of different internal backgrounds and outsourced most of the analytical work to an ibank. However, you definitely wouldn't go from corp dev to a large segment c-suite role without significant previous GM/operating experience. Corp dev was more of a rotation for future executives who wanted M&A experience, and not a career

Nov 8, 2019

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p>Mileage may vary.
Three main factors:
1. Your previous experience (you'll be better off if you have a stint in banking or consulting)
2. How acquisitive your company is (finance is back office at most corporations- unless it's a highly acquisitive corporation like say Disney. And even then)
3. Your end goal (VP strategy can be very cushy. But your odds of making it to the c-suite are next to nonexistent)

I definitely don't recommend strategy as a starting point UNLESS that's your passion OR you have a plan to leverage the contacts you'll make (you get to present to high ups very early) into an operational role. Money's good though!.

Nov 26, 2019

i'm in the same situation (TMT) as you in Singapore too - Looks like a dead-end for SG-based roles as most either require you to have previous experiences in IB or consultancy. Most of those sitting in FIs doing corporate development either came from consultancy backgrounds or did internal transfers to get there. I suggest you look at insurance firms or lateral move into a mixed role such as corporate strategy or planning

Nov 26, 2019

Would say it really depends on the organisation - at an acquisitive one it would be an interesting role with progression opportunities. If not, I.e. You join a company with few deals, you'll end up getting forced into auditing / accounting projects, some operations, and miscellaneous works, all the while NOT really being promoted

Source: worked in IB / corp dev in SG. PM me if you'd like to chat

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Nov 26, 2019

Not sure how people could PM you if you're anon

Array

Nov 26, 2019
Associate 2 in CorpDev:

Would say it really depends on the organisation - at an acquisitive one it would be an interesting role with progression opportunities. If not, I.e. You join a company with few deals, you'll end up getting forced into auditing / accounting projects, some operations, and miscellaneous work, all the while NOT really being promoted.

Source: worked in IB / corp dev in SG. PM me if you'd like to chat

This is what happened to me in my previous firm, i was forced into non-CD roles such as FP&A or developing the business plans for portfolio companies, still not too bad. It got worse when i was tasked to create excel templates for other departments.

The 3 of us based in SG should meet up for a coffee chat

  • Analyst 3+ in CorpDev
Feb 25, 2020

will PM

Nov 27, 2019
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