Corporate Development: My Experiences and Background

I started my career in IB (BB company) out of undergrad from a regional target school. I had held internships at other BBs prior to my full time role. I started my analyst position in Summer 2007. By Summer 2008, my entire group had been right-sized (I got canned in the third round of layoffs).

corporate development mergers and acquisitions

I grabbed ahold of a life raft in the form of a Corp Dev role at a quark-sized private company. It was definitely not my first choice, but it served as a transition into my Corp Dev career. After a couple years of experience under my belt, I grass-is-greener'd it to a larger public company (my current role). The company at which I am currently employed deals with various natural resources, so there's a fair amount of commodities knowledge and research involved.

Responsibilities in Corporate Dev

M&A - One of the core responsibilities of Corp Dev is to drive and manage the acquisition function of our company. This involves the sourcing of deals, internal presentations to management/BOD, due diligence, acquisition integration, and post-closing forecasting (until FP&A has a handle on it). Traditionally, we have not been a very deal heavy company (1-2 acquisitions per year), but we've definitely been far down the road with more companies that the successful acquisitions would indicate. I believe we will be more deal focused in the next year or so based on the long-term strategy materials I recently produced.

Financing in Corp Development

Financing - The other core responsibility of Corp Dev at my company is to provide financing for all of the various acquisitions, development projects, and corporate initiatives (e.g. stock buyback programs). I've done seven different rounds of financing at my current role including (but not limited to) project loans, term loans, high-yield notes, margin loans, an IPO, and multiple working capital revolvers. We've been at least 2x oversubscribed on every deal, so I would attest that our team has been doing a good job on this front.

Company Forecasting

Forecasting - Our company only has a fledgling FP&A function, so the role of forecasting has been traditionally done by Corp Dev. In the past, I was responsible for providing forecasts for all of our operating units (we've since grown quite a bit and this responsibility has been spread amongst multiple individuals). I believe this probably happens at a lot of smaller companies where resources are limited. It is definitely good experience though, and it helps cultivate relationships with all of the major players at the operating units (ops management, marketing, accounting, etc.) which is useful when trying to gather intelligence and expertise for an acquisition opportunity.

Creating Ad Hoc Reports

Ad Hoc Reports - Our company produces a fair amount of ad hoc reports for management, the board, investor relations, and in some rare cases, activist investors. Most recently, I put together the long-term forecasted financials for the consolidated company, which was a very interesting process. There is definitely much to learn when going through this process (restructuring ideas, tax efficient strategies, capital funding requirements for growth projects, etc.). I've had to perform multiple deep dives for our operating units (easily my most despised corporate term). I've also thrown together some presentations for IR to help explain an acquisition target's main operating metrics and drivers of value.

Qualifications to get a Corporate Development / Strategy Job

Almost our entire team is comprised of burnt out bankers (junior and senior employees). There is one junior employee who came from FP&A at a F500 company who is playing catch-up on learning valuation techniques and nuance, but other than that does a pretty solid job. We've hired individuals who've come from PE firms abroad (specifically to deal with our international assets) and one former consultant, but I would say that this is not the norm.

Very strong Excel and PPT skills are needed to be successful in a Corp Dev role (similar to banking), although I find that you can get away with being a little sloppier than banking (not my style, but I see other people get away with it). Our company uses a lot of Bloomberg since we deal in multiple commodities, so it's definitely a good idea to learn to navigate that platform. We use Capital IQ on occasion when our M&A opportunities have dwindled and we need to shoot some adrenaline into our process.

As my company is not F500 or prestigious, a BS in business/accounting is usually sufficient. For some larger companies, I know that an MBA can be required. Two of my coworkers have their CFAs, although they finished them while they were already at our company. It is my personal opinion that a CFA designation only marginally adds value to a Corp Dev role as it doesn't focus so much on forecasting or fundamental valuation techniques. It really only matters if your management values the designation.

Skill Set Needed for Jobs in Corp Dev

Obviously, technical modeling competency is a must. Most companies don't have much in the way of resources or templates, and I've found coming into companies that their models can be atrocious and nearly impossible to audit. The ability to build full operating models with a high degree of understanding is absolutely necessary.

While good presentation skills will get you by, the ability to use those skills to persuade (vs. simply informing) is highly desirable. I've had instances in my past where I put together a great presentation with lots of valuable information and management has come away from the meeting making the opposite decision that I would have hoped for. In retrospect, I should have driven the point home, made it clear what my position was, and then been relentless in supporting my position (also, I was correct in this case as the scenario I presented played out over the year after I made the presentation). Sometimes you need be able to pound the table, literally and within a PPT, to really get your position across to management.

Communication skills are of utmost importance in Corp Dev. One interacts with so many individuals across various diverse functions, all with different lexicons and levels of expertise. Being able to effectively understand and translate information from all of these different units is an invaluable skill, as information often gets lost or misconstrued on its way from an operating unit to management. I very often get asked by management what this-or-that means when they receive info or data from a unit.

Resource management skills come into play quite often. When dealing with multiple lenders on a financing or investment banks/third-party consultants/lawyers on an acquisition, you need to be able to (A) manage their costs, (B) make the most efficient use of their time, and (C) communicate all of the necessary info to each party to be able to get back the materials you need in timely manner.

There is a high degree of ownership to your work in Corp Dev, so you need to be confident in the materials you produce. Confidence is also key because you will be likely be competing for resources within your company (e.g. cash or individuals' time) and need to be able to get management on your side to get those resources allocated to you.

Time Commitment in Job in Corp Dev

One of the best things Corp Dev offers is a manageable and flexible schedule. In my early days with my current company (pre-FP&A function), my hours could be pretty bad because I was subjected to deal cycles AND reporting cycles. The close of some months/quarters were absolute hell. Since we've grown the function, my hours are generally 9am -7pm with minimal weekend work.

I find most weekend work is deal related (which is exciting and I'm completely fine with) or BOD meeting related (bleh). I believe the amount of weekend work completely depends on which type of manager you have, as I've had some that simply can't turn off the work switch in their head and assume that you're on the same page at all times. I personally find that weekend work that requires coordination is a waste as it takes a lot longer to complete something with your team when everybody is scattered and you're better off just working a long Monday to complete the task (unless the deliverables are due Monday, in which case you better crack that whip).

Compensation in Corp Dev

I believe the compensation for Corp Dev is very fair for the amount of work required and stress involved. Starting salaries for junior Corp Dev employees in my company are just a hair under six figures (with bonuses taking them over). Mid-level managers make about $125-150K with bonuses and stock options taking them above $200K. All of the senior managers are above $200K with significant bonuses/stock options.

Exit Opportunities

Corp Dev is filled with finance professionals, a group of which I believe can move on to just about any opportunity they desire. I find that most individuals in Corp Dev move to other roles in Corp Dev. However, some move to VC or PE, while I've seen others move into sales and other unrelated roles.

The key to making your desired exit from Corp Dev to another type of role is significantly dependent on your ability to network. My work in Corp Dev has had me intimately engaged with multiple banks (IB and commercial), PE shops, activist HFs, and institutional investors. I frequently communicate with these parties, not only from a business sense but on a personal level. Depending on your ability to impress and cultivate relationships with others in a business setting, it should be relatively easy to leverage those relationships into new roles, should you
so desire to bail on Corp Dev. You will also need to have a good story as to why you want to make the jump.

Respect and Prestige of Corp Development Jobs

While Corp Dev doesn't carry the prestige of IB, PE, or a HF, most of the people I work with are either qualified for those roles or have previously been employed in those roles. It's definitely a lifestyle choice when it comes to Corp Dev. You trade prestige for time, flexibility and freedom. That's not to say that some large or high profile companies don't carry a lot of prestige from their Corp Dev teams (or any roles, for that matter). I will say that despite my Corp Dev role, my friends in PE/VC often like to bounce ideas off of me or look to me for advice, so the respect you desire is ultimately a function of your own abilities.

--
I hope this was helpful to anybody considering a role in corporate development. Please feel free to ask questions and I'll try to respond in a timely manner.

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Comments (57)

Jan 3, 2014

for later

Jan 3, 2014

Is it possible to get into corp dev from undergrad?

Jan 12, 2014
explosions09:

Is it possible to get into corp dev from undergrad?

I believe it is, but it's usually into some sort of pre-MBA rotational program. At my company, we only hire experienced employees (2-3 years minimum of banking or something similar).

    • 1
Jan 3, 2014

I'm really interested in corp dev but have no idea how to go about recruiting for it. I'm a recent grad, currently interning at a PE shop. Do you have any advice/how I should start my search?

    • 1
Jan 12, 2014
explosions09:

I'm really interested in corp dev but have no idea how to go about recruiting for it. I'm a recent grad, currently interning at a PE shop. Do you have any advice/how I should start my search?

Corp Dev is tougher to get into right out of undergrad for most because there's usually no on-campus recruiting for undergrads nor do the companies have networking sessions. Some notable examples of companies that do recruit are Apple and Google (at least for my school). The best place to find Corp Dev job postings is probably going to be LinkedIn with Indeed a distant second. Headhunters often times have Corp Dev jobs too. I've seen a ton of Sr. Financial Analyst postings pop-up recently (the usual entry point for Corp Dev), so I would search for jobs with that title and go from there. If you have friends in banking, you can ask them about companies they've worked with in the past and if they thought that there was a good Corp Dev function there.

    • 1
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May 17, 2017

It's rare, but my company (just outside of F100) hires Corp Dev analysts out of UG. They treat the role like an IB analyst.. 2 - 3 years and out. Could pivot to another role in the company, but just about every analyst has left for PE, IB, or MBA

Jan 3, 2014

This was really really helpful. Thanks!

Jan 3, 2014

Great post man, much appreciated

Jan 3, 2014

How would you handicap breaking into Corp Dev in relation to experience level? Meaning, in general, does it get more difficult, easier, or does difficulty stay constant as one moves from up the ladder in IB (or any related field)?

I'm on the cusp of moving from post-MBA associate to VP and cannot decide if I want to stay in banking. Given the rigid structure of private equity, it is quite difficult to break in post-MBA and at a tweener level overall. Is Corp Dev a bit more receptive to a mid-level transfer that has the strategy understanding and banking understanding? Or would you view it as detrimental because the logic and approach is already embedded?

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Jan 3, 2014
peinvestor2012:

How would you handicap breaking into Corp Dev in relation to experience level? Meaning, in general, does it get more difficult, easier, or does difficulty stay constant as one moves from up the ladder in IB (or any related field)?

I'm on the cusp of moving from post-MBA associate to VP and cannot decide if I want to stay in banking. Given the rigid structure of private equity, it is quite difficult to break in post-MBA and at a tweener level overall. Is Corp Dev a bit more receptive to a mid-level transfer that has the strategy understanding and banking understanding? Or would you view it as detrimental because the logic and approach is already embedded?

Any thoughts @"HashtagCorpDev"?

Jan 12, 2014
peinvestor2012:
peinvestor2012:

How would you handicap breaking into Corp Dev in relation to experience level? Meaning, in general, does it get more difficult, easier, or does difficulty stay constant as one moves from up the ladder in IB (or any related field)?

I'm on the cusp of moving from post-MBA associate to VP and cannot decide if I want to stay in banking. Given the rigid structure of private equity, it is quite difficult to break in post-MBA and at a tweener level overall. Is Corp Dev a bit more receptive to a mid-level transfer that has the strategy understanding and banking understanding? Or would you view it as detrimental because the logic and approach is already embedded?

Any thoughts @HashtagCorpDev?

It's definitely less rigid than PE or IB, but it can also make things complicated. If you bring in somebody from outside in anything but a junior position, then that means you're passing up somebody internally. This usually happens when either (A) the company has shiny new toy syndrome or (B) they accept the risk of losing junior staff who may have been up for the position.

Having lots of transaction experience can definitely break you in. For the most part, we get similar candidates as PE or HF who would rather have less hours/stress. Most people we've brought in for senior positions came either directly from banking or made the transition from IB --> Corp Dev at their prior job switch.

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Sep 30, 2014

You shouldn't have too much trouble getting into a corp dev role. I followed a very similar path as you - banking post-MBA and landed in corp dev. I was in restructuring and saw a lot of media clients and a company that looked at buying one of my clients scooped me up.

Jan 4, 2014

Have you seen people transition from Big 4 Transaction Advisory Services to Corporate Development?

Jan 3, 2014
scgrad:

Have you seen people transition from Big 4 Transaction Advisory Services to Corporate Development?

Yes. It is definitely more rare, but I have seen it done from Big 4 TAS to F1000 (not sure if any were F500) corp dev groups.

Jan 12, 2014
peinvestor2012:
scgrad:

Have you seen people transition from Big 4 Transaction Advisory Services to Corporate Development?

Yes. It is definitely more rare, but I have seen it done from Big 4 TAS to F1000 (not sure if any were F500) corp dev groups.

I've had friends from FAS at middle market IB move into it, but I've never seen it from Big 4 TAS. That's not to say it doesn't happen nor would I say it's that much of a stretch for that transition.

Jan 6, 2014

Awesome write-up, very consistent with the experience I've had since getting into Corp Dev about a year ago.

The one thing I would add (though I think it can be inferred from some of what you wrote up above) is that the function of a Corp Dev group can seemingly vary pretty widely based upon 1) leadership of the company, 2) leadership of the group, and 3) background of the group.

My group tends to spend a significant amount of time working with different business leaders as a sort of internal consulting resource. Most M&A activity flows out of those strategic discussions and are a product of filling a gap or growing into a new area of the market. To me, that seems like the most logical way to go about it - but I can imagine that if the senior guys in your Corp Dev group are primarily BB IBD rather than MBB it might take on a little different feel.

Also as a general note, IMHO there is no better way to develop as a young gun than in a good, active Corp Dev group. Obviously I'm going to be a little biased. But having exposure to both strategy development and deal execution all the while learning to navigate organizational politics has been a huge boon for me, at least.

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Jan 12, 2014
roberto:

Awesome write-up, very consistent with the experience I've had since getting into Corp Dev about a year ago.

The one thing I would add (though I think it can be inferred from some of what you wrote up above) is that the function of a Corp Dev group can seemingly vary pretty widely based upon 1) leadership of the company, 2) leadership of the group, and 3) background of the group.

My group tends to spend a significant amount of time working with different business leaders as a sort of internal consulting resource. Most M&A activity flows out of those strategic discussions and are a product of filling a gap or growing into a new area of the market. To me, that seems like the most logical way to go about it - but I can imagine that if the senior guys in your Corp Dev group are primarily BB IBD rather than MBB it might take on a little different feel.

Also as a general note, IMHO there is no better way to develop as a young gun than in a good, active Corp Dev group. Obviously I'm going to be a little biased. But having exposure to both strategy development and deal execution all the while learning to navigate organizational politics has been a huge boon for me, at least.

Amen. The "internal consulting resource" you reference is very much a part of the deep dives we do for our various operating units. Lots of "lessons learned" and "recommendations for future operations" types of analyses.

Jan 3, 2014

Bumping this for people with Dev questions, hope you don't mind hashtag

Jan 12, 2014
D M:

Bumping this for people with Dev questions, hope you don't mind hashtag

Not a bit.

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Jan 9, 2014

Thanks for the thread Hashtag, really good info here. Sophomore at top target (H/W) here, and although BB FT is the goal, I want to spend this summer at an "interesting" internship if I don't get a sophomore IBD rotational. Really not looking for a CorpFin/Accounting/FP&A role at all, and CorpStrat seems interesting as shit, even if the opps at this stage are limited. You're a bit removed from the process, I imagine, but what firms do you know that do FLDP/CorpStrat/BusDev internships this early for UGs (specifically sophs) whose programs aren't totally finance/accounting/back office work?

Jan 12, 2014
Quincyboy7:

Thanks for the thread Hashtag, really good info here. Sophomore at top target (H/W) here, and although BB FT is the goal, I want to spend this summer at an "interesting" internship if I don't get a sophomore IBD rotational. Really not looking for a CorpFin/Accounting/FP&A role at all, and CorpStrat seems interesting as shit, even if the opps at this stage are limited. You're a bit removed from the process, I imagine, but what firms do you know that do FLDP/CorpStrat/BusDev internships this early for UGs (specifically sophs) whose programs aren't totally finance/accounting/back office work?

To be quite honest, I don't know know of any companies that hire Corp Dev interns from undergrad (or grad for that matter). My company does not hire interns period. The main reason is that (A) most companies outside of banking and consulting don't have formalized training programs for new hires/interns, and (B) it takes a long time to really get somebody up to speed and truly contributing in Corp Dev (4-6 months) considering you need to learn your market, internal processes, and just the usual time it takes to complete a deal from start to finish. Like I've mentioned before, most Corp Dev programs want individuals with prior transaction experience so that there's very little hand holding from the beginning.

While I only went to a regional target, I very much had to deal with the finance/accounting/back office work at my internships (BB and whatever you consider Bear Stearns to be), i.e. calculating updated bond yields for fund portfolios. They're not going to give that work to somebody more senior than you when somebody lower on the totem pole is available to do it, regardless of your background or education. I did have some friends who were able to get internships at small PE shops, even during the summer after their Soph year. I would look into that as an idea for a challenging and rewarding internship experience.

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Jan 10, 2014

Do most Fortune 100/500 companies in USA sponsor H1B for non American people? Can you take an internal transfer to Europe and other places , provided you have offices there (talking about the top companies)? Do the top people in CD have a say in important matters when it comes to decision making , im guessing the FO guys will always the upper hand and would tend to dismiss CD guys as bean counters or something

Jan 12, 2014
RohanShinde:

Do most Fortune 100/500 companies in USA sponsor H1B for non American people? Can you take an internal transfer to Europe and other places , provided you have offices there (talking about the top companies)? Do the top people in CD have a say in important matters when it comes to decision making , im guessing the FO guys will always the upper hand and would tend to dismiss CD guys as bean counters or something

I don't have any knowledge concerning the H1B. Hopefully somebody else here might be able to shed some light on that topic.

As for the decision making process, yes, Corp Dev has a lot of say in the decision making process. For starters, we have ownership of the way transactions are framed for management, which guides their decision making. Additionally, our team reports to the SVP of Finance & Accounting, who trusts our input and goes with our recommendations to the senior leadership team. Corp Dev is considered front office in our organization as acquiring companies that add revenues/income very much contributes to the bottom line.

Jan 10, 2014

Just adding this to my recent posts - there seems to be 2 of these running around, so I don't want to miss responses. carry on.

Jan 10, 2014

It is amazing how our careers to this point have paralleled each other, was also in the analyst class at BB in '07 and made the move to Corp Dev. in 2009. I since then have moved up the ranks to Director and sitting pretty as far as career trajectory at a fairly large public company in a Corp Dev. role. On each section described in your write up it basically explains my current role to the tee and have even done 7 large capital raises including an IPO so really interesting. Anyways I actually did have a question... What has been your experience of how your role/experience/skill set is viewed to others in Finance, say maybe to those at PE/HF/IB? Do you ever find yourself bored, I mean we both headed to BB IB out of school hungry for deals and to be in the mix of a high paced environment. I can't speak for you but here Corp Dev. can be some what boring and somewhat easy. I mean I guess good pay and good hours should be appreciated but I feel like I am young and should be out trying to gain as much experience and skills as I can get, getting as much deal experience I can get - trying to build my brand, if you will. I think the Corp. Dev. would be a dream job later in life and prob the easiest road to an executive. I guess I am hitting this fork in the road and just curious if you have been to this point in the past and maybe what your thoughts were that keeps you around.

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Jan 12, 2014
Wall Street Texan:

Anyways I actually did have a question... What has been your experience of how your role/experience/skill set is viewed to others in Finance, say maybe to those at PE/HF/IB? Do you ever find yourself bored, I mean we both headed to BB IB out of school hungry for deals and to be in the mix of a high paced environment. I can't speak for you but here Corp Dev. can be some what boring and somewhat easy. I mean I guess good pay and good hours should be appreciated but I feel like I am young and should be out trying to gain as much experience and skills as I can get, getting as much deal experience I can get - trying to build my brand, if you will. I think the Corp. Dev. would be a dream job later in life and prob the easiest road to an executive. I guess I am hitting this fork in the road and just curious if you have been to this point in the past and maybe what your thoughts were that keeps you around.

It's difficult to say how our roles are perceived by those at PE/HF/IB because most of the individuals I know in those roles I knew before they were in those roles. I actually had dinner with some friends last night, one of whom is in PE and another just started at a HF, and my PE friend was telling me that they recently hired a former Corp Dev guy as their new CFO. He noted that he's very bright and that they've really been impressed with the job he's done so far. So based on my completely anecdotal and non-objective evidence, individuals working in CD are still very highly regarded by those in other finance roles.

I can feel you on the fact that at some times it can be a little slower paced than a fully transaction-based role. But I always do find it interesting and use the downtime to do research and further my knowledge base. I've considered moving to PE or looking at BD roles as well, but for now I'm pretty happy with my role and experience. What keeps me around is that I have a pretty good view to the LT strategy and there are some exciting developments that I'm looking forward to being involved in (assuming we execute our strategy effectively).

    • 1
Jan 10, 2014

I work in CD for a large public industrial company. My duties are more M&A focused than the OPs (in part due to the fact that we are likely much more acquisitive) with no FP&A related responsibilities.

We have a BD team that focuses exclusively on deal sourcing. Alternatively, the CD team is execution focused. We own the acquisition model and are responsible for managing the acquisition process from teaser / CA to close. One thing that is an important part of my job that the OP didn't specifically hit on is project management responsibilities. We run a very extensive DD process that includes participation from multiple functional diligence teams across the organization. Our job is to manage their efforts, make sure they are staying focused on the key issues, and effectively communicating their findings back to corporate executives.

Overall it is probably 50% project management, 30% modeling, and 20% ad hoc projects

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Jan 12, 2014
qbison:

I work in CD for a large public industrial company. My duties are more M&A focused than the OPs (in part due to the fact that we are likely much more acquisitive) with no FP&A related responsibilities.

We have a BD team that focuses exclusively on deal sourcing. Alternatively, the CD team is execution focused. We own the acquisition model and are responsible for managing the acquisition process from teaser / CA to close. One thing that is an important part of my job that the OP didn't specifically hit on is project management responsibilities. We run a very extensive DD process that includes participation from multiple functional diligence teams across the organization. Our job is to manage their efforts, make sure they are staying focused on the key issues, and effectively communicating their findings back to corporate executives.

Overall it is probably 50% project management, 30% modeling, and 20% ad hoc projects

Very good point. I only touched on managing the third parties (bankers, lawyers, consultants) during the DD process, but there is a huge amount of internal coordination, aggregation, and translation involved (God, I sound like Jackie Chiles). A big part of the DD process involves coordinating with marketing, ops management, and accounting, legal, and IR through various stages of the process. Every group speaks a very different language, so Corp Dev acts as the translator between all of the internal groups. Towards the end of the transaction process, CD will need to gather all of the info and package it into something comprehensive yet not overwhelming for the senior management team.

    • 1
Jan 21, 2014

I'm thinking about taking a position with a financial services / tech company who has been pretty active in the M&A space over the past years. They're pretty dominant in their particular business and revenues are projected to go higher. the position would be in business development / M&A. that said, they've recently hired a former banker to start up their corp development group. historically, M&A and business development have operated out of the same group i'd be placed in. my question is how likely is it that i'd be exposed to corp development, at least in the modeling aspect, if i took the position especially since the corp dev group is relatively new and has no junior level guys at this point? i realize i'm asking you to speculate, but have you seen or are you familiar with this structure within a company's finance department? when i interviewed, i actually met with the corp dev group head, so i'm assuming i'll have some level of contact with him. i guess what i'm asking is what are the differences between business development and corporate development tasks on a daily basis and how likely would it be for me to interact with him as my career at this company progresses? thanks in advance

Jan 12, 2014
arner23:

I'm thinking about taking a position with a financial services / tech company who has been pretty active in the M&A space over the past years. They're pretty dominant in their particular business and revenues are projected to go higher. the position would be in business development / M&A. that said, they've recently hired a former banker to start up their corp development group. historically, M&A and business development have operated out of the same group i'd be placed in. my question is how likely is it that i'd be exposed to corp development, at least in the modeling aspect, if i took the position especially since the corp dev group is relatively new and has no junior level guys at this point? i realize i'm asking you to speculate, but have you seen or are you familiar with this structure within a company's finance department? when i interviewed, i actually met with the corp dev group head, so i'm assuming i'll have some level of contact with him. i guess what i'm asking is what are the differences between business development and corporate development tasks on a daily basis and how likely would it be for me to interact with him as my career at this company progresses? thanks in advance

Our Bus Dev and Corp Dev are very separate functions, however, they do work in tandem quite often. In my experience, Bus Dev employees do very minimal modeling (if they have the ability to), and usually that's to size something initially just to give some scope of the project to management. Bus Dev is usually focused on setting up partnerships, JVs, and development projects (as opposed to acquisitions). Bus Dev will often work with Corp Dev to setup financial projections for development projects that get further into the process.

As far as daily tasks, Bus Dev seems to be on the phone more, chatting up potential partners and doing a fair amount of wheel spinning until something sticks. Our Bus Dev employees always have some whiteboard filled with diagrams and flow charts that constantly evolve. Often times, Bus Dev will be called upon to lead the strategic direction of the company from a high level, while Corp Dev serves the function of executing on that strategy (acquisitions, financing, restructuring, etc.), but that responsibility split is highly dependent on the company.

I will note that there was one acquisition process at our company in which the financial portion of the diligence was run by a Bus Dev employee. Our head of finance has made it clear that it will not happen again, as it did not work out well...

Feb 1, 2014

What an incredibly insightful response. I just applied this past week to a Bus Dev job at DCF in Charlotte. I have a pretty strong sales background but would like to be more involved with banking then I currently am. Not sure how great of a shot I have at it but reading through this awesome thread has gotten me even more excited by the opportunity. Thanks HashtagCorpDev for all of the info!

Jan 10, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions. For investment bankers looking to make the move to Corporate Development how much does group matter? Is there a preference toward those in product groups rather than coverage? Also, for those in coverage groups do companies typically prefer to recruit analysts with experience in covering their particular industry? Also, what how is ECM looked at for CD?

    • 1
Jan 12, 2014
BlkWallSt:

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions. For investment bankers looking to make the move to Corporate Development how much does group matter? Is there a preference toward those in product groups rather than coverage? Also, for those in coverage groups do companies typically prefer to recruit analysts with experience in covering their particular industry? Also, what how is ECM looked at for CD?

I don't believe that IB product groups or coverage matter too much at all, except possibly for specialized industries like Oil & Gas which have very specific valuation techniques. For the most part, prospective employers are more concerned with technical chops and transaction experience that you can translate into a corporate role. I don't think that ECM is highly regarded for Corp Dev roles as it's a totally different skill set.

Jan 10, 2014

Great thread, tons of info dropped. SB'ed!

Jan 12, 2014

Why do you think you've seen more burned-out bankers than burned-out PE guys hired? Just a function of numbers and relative attractiveness of leaving banking vs PE? I ask because I would've thought PE guys had more operational knowledge and therefore would be more attractive, and have thought about a CD-type role once I decide I'm done with PE.

Jan 12, 2014
petergibbons:

Why do you think you've seen more burned-out bankers than burned-out PE guys hired? Just a function of numbers and relative attractiveness of leaving banking vs PE? I ask because I would've thought PE guys had more operational knowledge and therefore would be more attractive, and have thought about a CD-type role once I decide I'm done with PE.

I think it's probably a function of the people who want to continue working long hours/weekends go into PE and those who don't go to Corp Dev. I think there's only one former PE guy in our company, and he works in the Bus Dev group. Former PE employees would most likely have that additional operational knowledge, but the opportunity cost for them to transfer over to Corp Dev is pretty high unless you place very high value on your free time.

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Jan 13, 2014

- How does Corp. Dev. in Europe differ, maybe in terms of comp. and background? Educated guess is appreciated, too ;)
- How well regarded are (Finance) Ph.D.'s compared to MBA's? What about Europe? (I can tell that for example in Germany Ph.D.s (or equivalently Dr.s) are often preferred, which can simply be seen by checking c-level execs and linkedin profiles.

Thanks for doing this!

Jan 12, 2014
Canu:

- How does Corp. Dev. in Europe differ, maybe in terms of comp. and background? Educated guess is appreciated, too ;)

- How well regarded are (Finance) Ph.D.'s compared to MBA's? What about Europe? (I can tell that for example in Germany Ph.D.s (or equivalently Dr.s) are often preferred, which can simply be seen by checking c-level execs and linkedin profiles.

Thanks for doing this!

I honestly have no idea what the comp/background requirements are like in Europe. I would guess it would be pretty similar to the US.

I think a Finance PhD would be very highly regarded, but would only really be useful at a very high level (close to C-Suite). All of the PhDs I can think of in my company are either C-Suite or very high up in the engineering/ops management groups. I think that for Corp Dev, practical experience and MBA are sufficient (some programs require MBAs for management positions).

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Jan 3, 2014

I'm curious as to whether those finance PhDs enter private after teaching for years or if some do directly after earning their degree...

Jan 12, 2014
D M:

I'm curious as to whether those finance PhDs enter private after teaching for years or if some do directly after earning their degree...

One of our top-level execs got his PhD, then taught at HBS for awhile before returning to the private sector.

Jan 15, 2014

Great write up. You mentioned you had a guy come over from your FP&A group and is playing catch up. I'm in a FP&A role at a public corporation and would love a move to Corp Dev experience. What has your FP&A guy had to do (or what I should do) to make the move and be successful at it? Thanks again.

Best Response
Jan 6, 2014

Shlomo, I actually went through the transition from FP&A to CD about a year ago.

The biggest proponent of being able to secure a move like that, in my opinion, is to establish a reputation for a superior level of work. Not only that, but you want to be making that impression on a diverse group of people -- seize the opportunity to do work for as many different senior level folks as you can, especially the ones who are viewed as top performers/managers. I will say that my experience is with a smaller company ($10-20B market cap), so it was a little easier to get my name out there vs. a huge multinational.

The other thing that I think would typically hold someone back from making the jump is the lack of ability to think about problems from the business perspective. Obviously the long-term financial impact of any decision is the biggest concern of everyone at the company, but when you start to tackle value proposition/client segmentation/competitive dynamic/strategic fit questions, the structure of the discussion tends to be a lot less defined than your typical FP&A analysis.

1) Deliver superior work in your current role
2) Understand your company's place within your competitor set, and spend as much time as possible developing your knowledge base of how your company and each of your competitors compete and win business
3) Make your desire for a CD experience known -- albeit, at the right times and to the right people

I'll say again that I just moved over to CD a year ago, so for all I know this could be pretty trashy advice...But hopefully it doesn't lead you too far astray.

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Sep 15, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to write up a detailed overview on Corporate Development. It was very well written and interesting.

Can you add some more details about compensation (e.g. base and bonus)?

Analyst -
Sr. Analyst -
Manager/VP -
Director -
Executive Director (Head of Corp Dev) -

Jan 3, 2014

There's corpdev salary info around if you dig into this forum. It's not the same between industries or even between companies, so any answer given likely won't have any value to you. Basically, expect similar to IB salary if you're straight out of college, *maybe* a 10-20% bonus. Probably starting closer to 6 figures with same bonus if you've done 2 years in banking or consulting. Senior analyst and upwards is much more of a crapshoot. There probably isn't even a senior analyst position, or that might be the position you start at. Manager is not a VP, and will make probably between 120k and 200k, though that varies wildly based on company, length of time you've worked there, other experiences etc.

There is no ladder for CD. In IB you have tens of thousands of people taking jobs at the analyst, associate, etc level every year and the compensation is pretty similar. In CorpDev a MAJOR company might have a 20 person corpdev group, and at a smaller one it is probably just the CEO calling up his competitor or a tangentially related business and saying, "let's get together on this". So for the Fortune 1000 you might have a couple thousand people in corporate development TOTAL with wildly varying experiences and companies that have wildly different needs and resources to put towards meeting those needs.

tl;dr- there are no useful compensation numbers for you in CD

Sep 19, 2014

Just thought I'd add some insight as well for those looking to go from big 4 tas to corp dev. I went from back office to valuations at a middle acct firm to corp dev at a worldwide f500 company (so a little late to the party). Not sure how tas is looked at but I would think it's possible. I know a couple of people that went from tas to I banking to now pe

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Sep 25, 2014

Mark, read later. Thanks!

Oct 9, 2014

Hello. I'm currently a senior and have 2 offers - 1 in a Big4 TAS (industry specific), and the other in CD for a F500 that is in massive growth stage. I previously interned with the CD group and I like them, they like me.

I feel like the TAS position can give me a lot more exposure to various deals within this industry, while the CD job would limit my exposure to a single company's transactions. Can I grow within a F500 without experience from other places?

Any thoughts on where I should start my career? Thanks!

Dec 8, 2014

Thanks for the great post. I really like to know if it is possible to get into Corp Dev. directly post MBA (from a top Canadian school) without going through the IB route. Based on your experience how often have you seen new grad MBAs without previous IB (deal experience) or pure strategy Consulting experience get into Corp Dev. roles at fortune 1000 companies? I networked with a number of firms and so far my impression is that you still need some kind of deal experience prior to your MBA given the level of competition for these jobs. I really like the work in Corp Dev. and I am sure I can succeed in it, but I rather pass on the IB lifestyle at this stage in my career/life. Just to give you a bit of context, I have 5 years of pre MBA (Consulting/Engineering) experience working for top companies + a Finance internship with a well known Bank. I am especially interested in firms within the Telecom/Tech sector. My other question: Is Equity Research also a potentially viable/likely route to Corporate Dev. despite the lack of deal experience? Thanks in advance for your help.

Dec 18, 2014

That was great, and rings true with my recent experience performing corp dev work at a F500 company. I do have a question that I posted earlier today on the forum. As a corp dev professional, which subscription services have you found most useful? You mention Bloomberg and Cap IQ in your post. I was wondering whether you thought those were superior to Thomson Reuters One, Dow Jones VentureSource, or Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers? How would you stack rank them? I'm primarily interested in generating deal flow, accessing private company financial data, conducting competitor and market analysis, benchmarking, and leveraging existing templates for valuation purposes.

Jan 12, 2014

Other than Thomson Reuters One, I don't have much experience with the rest of those services, so I couldn't really say.

The best way to generate deal flow is form connections and relationships with bankers at firms of all sizes. Many of our deals came directly from relationships at our business units while the rest primarily came from bankers. We've been through the process of generating deal ideas from our subscription sources, but quite frankly it's always been a waste of time.

Also, for vendors used for specific industries, you can also tap them for deal idea generation. I've found them to be a decent source of knowledge.

Dec 20, 2014

Are all corp dev people from finance backgrounds? Is it possible for someone in operations/manufacturing/supply chain/procurement (experience in all of these areas) be able to get into corp dev pre MBA

Edit: or even corp strategy

Apr 7, 2017

Great career primer. I'm attached to a PE firm that's looking for acquisitions, owner partnerships, financings, et.al. Is there a credible Corp Dev directory of all the principal CD officers in US? What I've found so far is lamentable. Thx.

Jan 12, 2014

There's no directory that I'm aware of. "Corporate development" is so incredibly inconsistent across the large cornucopia of companies (many companies simply fold the CD responsibilities into their corporate finance teams, some into their business development, etc.). Your best bet is to try and contact the CFO and have them direct you to the senior manager/director who would be best to interact with. You might think that contacting the CFO might be a bad idea given that they may look at your inquiry as a waste of time, but at the same time they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximize value and understand this duty better than most. Because of this, you'll likely get some consideration.

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Sep 19, 2014

Did you ever dip your toes into the PE waters, if so what level would you be looking at? I assumed at a CD Manager level may be looking at a Senior associate/VP and a Director would be VP/Director/Principal.

Just curious as to the plausibility of that jump.

Jan 12, 2014
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Feb 21, 2018
Feb 23, 2018