Corp Dev to Finance transition - can anyone share their experiences?

EarLoeb's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 255

I am a post-MBA Corp Dev professional, but my long term goal is to be CFO at a growth stage company. At some point, I will have to make the transition from Corp Dev to Finance, and I was curious if anyone out there has made the transition successfully. There are certainly many CFOs out there who had pretty extensive Corp Dev experience (e.g., Brian Robert, CFO of Lyft, and Amrita Ahuja, CFO of Square come to mind), so I hope I'm not mistaken in thinking the Corp Dev experience will be useful later on.

A few questions:

  1. What's the right amount of time to spend in Corp Dev? I feel like it takes at least 3 years to really learn a function, so my plan was to stay in this team for at least 3 years. But I'm starting to wonder if it's worth the opportunity cost of driving up the ladder on the finance side.
  2. How did you answer questions around why you chose to go into Corp Dev vs. Finance right away? For me, I thought the diligence aspect would be valuable as I get CFO-level access to target companies today, and get to see a wide range of how systems / processes are set up at various companies. Also, deal experience could be valuable for a pre-IPO company.
  3. What are your overall thoughts on the transition? Are you glad you made the transition? Are you glad you spent time in Corp Dev or was it not that relevant after all?

Appreciate any thoughts.

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Feb 18, 2020
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