Corporate Development decision

Seeking some advice here. I currently work in a non-traditional finance role for a well-known, well-respected firm. I am one year out of undergrad from a non-target school. I was reached out to by a recruiter for a corporate development role making around $110k all in a relatively low COL city. The company is looking to do around 20 acquisitions this year. I have an "interview" with the chief development officer of the company, a Wharton grad, soon. I know this a great opportunity if I was fortunate enough to land the role, but I was wondering if I should try and find an I-banking job before jumping into a role like this. Does anyone have any thoughts?

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Comments (11)

Most Helpful
Sep 14, 2021 - 7:42am

Honestly, it seems like a no-brainer to take the role assuming it's a least a decently reputable company. Corpdev can be a desirable exit for IB, so you're basically just skipping over that step. Generally speaking, the work is also more interesting with less pointless pitch churning. You might see some people argue that you'll get better training/experience doing a couple of years in IB, but honestly that can be questionable depending on the exit opps you're looking at. Being at an acquisitive company in a corpdev role will give you great exposure and you should learn a ton if you put in the work.

Beyond that, from a non-target in a corpfin role, it's not exactly a clear path to most IB positions. If you eventually want that career banker route, corpdev may be a more marketable step anyway. Otherwise, you may have to do an MBA, which would still be on the table post-corpdev if it doesn't work out. The comp seems pretty solid, especially for low COL, so I'm not really sure what your hesitation is. If you get the position, I'd absolutely go for it.

Sep 14, 2021 - 8:55am

Thanks for your reply! I was thinking along the same lines. I don't think going into investment banking would be a huge stretch from my role, most people at my company leave to IB after 1-2 years. That being said, I'm not set on the idea just sort of feel like it's a prerequisite. This company is reputable, but certainly not a F500. They are only doing $20 million in EBITDA at the moment, but obviously growing rapidly. They are backed by a strong sponsor and two high net worth individuals. It's run by a very talented management team from what I can tell. Another thing that is making me hesitant is moving from a large, well-known company like mine to a smaller basically unknown company like this. 

Sep 14, 2021 - 9:18am

Ultimately, I guess it would depend on your career goals, but it's not necessarily a "prerequisite". For most people, corpdev is the exit opp and most will stay there (or in similar roles) for their career. In the long run, it's a path toward either running corpdev or possibly getting into the c-suite. At a high growth smaller company like that, you may have the opportunity to make a real impact, which can be very marketable if you want to move on or lateral. If you're dead-set on PE/HF, then sure IB is the typical path there, but it's still not impossible to make a move from corpdev (though it's definitely rare and typically more targeting MM/LMM PE shops). Then even if you go for IB, you'd still need to secure a solid role in a good group to tee yourself up for the exit opps. However, you always have the option to go for an MBA and reset your path from there. 

Assuming you secure the offer, I'd take a step back and think about where you want to be in 5 years. If corpdev is interesting to you, then it's an easy call. If you really want to get into the "classic" pipeline to the typical IB exits other than corpdev, then you can target IB.

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Sep 17, 2021 - 10:42pm

Is this a roll-up group? I just left a roll up group for traditional Corp Dev (fortune 1000) because many of my PE interviews came down to the lack of traditional acquisition experience. It might not hurt to reach out to some of your PE contacts and see what their thoughts are and whether they would hire someone who comes out of the group that is recruiting you. 

Sep 19, 2021 - 6:25pm

Yes, this is a roll-up group. I don't have many contacts in PE, except I do know one partner at a large ($3.5 bn) firm. Not sure he would really give me the time of day, but I do know him fairly well. Have been hesitant to reach out to him, but I may. Just to clarify, why do you feel like a roll-up group is not exactly traditional M&A experience (I'm not expert here so would appreciate any advice). 

Sep 19, 2021 - 7:11pm

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