Broke into Corporate Development, but behind my peers in experience

I have pretty much all the credentials one would want as an undergraduate. Economics Major, Target School (ivy), and a great GPA. Unfortunately, with a whirlwind of college experiences including Division I sports, I only was able to muster up a few final-round interviews with BB banks in NYC. I took a couple of real estate internships in the summer as it helped me focus on sports. Then, three months out of college I was able to land a Corporate Development gig at a F500 company working as an M&A Analyst (CPG). It's not in NYC, but a great work-life balance. I probably make around 75% all-in as the typical first-year analyst BB. Networking. Networking. Networking. This was simply all I did. However, I realize I may be at a disadvantage because most in CorpDev already have IB experience or similar finance internships. This is the case for my bosses. How can I catch up to the rest of the pack and be a quality asset while always looking for potential exit opps? I should say that my boss/company is having the company pay for me to take classes in NYC for valuation in the coming months (thank god).

P.S. i love this website. Keep up the great work.

Comments (28)

Dec 29, 2018

It sounds like a good role. Once you've been there for a little while (6-12 months), I'd sit down with your bosses and have a frank conversation about whether they think there is room to advance without an IB background.

It's not uncommon to see senior CD guys without IB experience. If you really think you need it, or your goal isn't CD for the long term, I think you have a couple options. One, you could stay there for 2-4 years, then go get an MBA and join a bank after as an associate. Or two, after a year, you could try to lateral. You will certainly be able to get looks with a solid resume like yours. You'll have to start as a first year analyst, but I bet you can land a good IB gig with a year of relevant experience.

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Dec 29, 2018

First, thanks for the comment. I think that timeline is great for sitting down with my bosses. It's always been my dream to go into S&T/IB but the more that I research, would you suggest making that leap even if I could? The sheer factory-like development and training IB has is the most envious part so I can have the world as my options after, but obviously it can be draining. What is your take on chances of getting into PE? We deal with PE/VC funds all the time, pitching companies in early Series stages, and they seem like they've "made it" more than the bank heads in our sector that throw pitchbooks at our feet every couple of weeks in hotel restaurants or over a call where my boss rolls his eyes every five seconds.

Dec 29, 2018

Lower MM PE might be doable. Especially if CPG focused. But what do you want long term? I think you have to answer that before deciding your next move. If you just want to open up more options, then IB might make a lot of sense for a couple years.

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Dec 29, 2018

Your career will stall in CD. Jump to IB ASAP.

    • 2
Jan 1, 2019

This shouldn't get monkey shit. It's impossible at some companies to move up solely in CD without rotating around other departments.

    • 1
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Dec 29, 2018

what other departments are we talking about?

Dec 29, 2018

can't really jump until I gain a solid foundation for myself, 1-2 years am I right?

Dec 29, 2018

can't really jump until I gain a solid foundation for myself, 1-2 years am I right?

Most Helpful
Dec 29, 2018

Stay a year and jump. CD is not a function you want to enter into early on in your career. It's basically a low paying exit opp for burned out bankers looking for work/life balance. You get into after your associate IB run and you come in at Senior Manager/Director.

There's a lot of variation in CD but a few things are pretty common across firms/industries:

  1. Management is generally unsophisticated when it comes to financial statement analysis, valuation and advanced excel modeling. As such, your work will need to be as simple as possible so that management can follow. Not great for early career development.
  2. Late stage deals go to bankers/Big 4 TAS groups/strategy consultants. At that point, you're basically a project manager. Again, not great for career development.
  3. You may or may not have exposure to forecasting. If you do, you'll learn a lot about the industry. The flipside is that you'll likely also be working on a lot of FP&A work. FP&A sucks and it's not great for M&A career development.

The core CD function, to be honest, is to summarize and synthesize information into PPT decks that can be presented to management. This is why IB is a good fit (thousands of hours in PPT). It's really not analytical.

Again, there's variation in the industry but I hope this helps. If you're in a group that's busting out 3-statement models and putting together forecasts. And if you're getting the support you need, then stay a while.

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Dec 30, 2018

Hey mightneedit, I'm in a similar situation as you once were (current undergrad, target school, no IB offer, have a CD offer). I'm currently thinking about the CD option and had similar concerns as the ones you mentioned. May I PM you to ask about some of your thoughts and experiences? Thank you

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Jan 1, 2019

Curious if you'll share your comp numbers.

I heard CPG doesn't pay too well for CD, so would be a bit shocked at +$100k comp for a fresh undergrad.

Jan 4, 2019

You are luckier than you realize - I had bulge bracket investment banking jobs and didn't get much training - it was sink or swim - seems like you have a good gig if you have nice bosses that want to train you. In the long-run, it is about what you learn and what you know... You will be surprised that some of your peers at large investment banks may just be doing grunt work.

Dec 29, 2018
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