Corporate Finance to Corporate Development/Strategy Role Long Term

I'm new to WSO and have enjoyed reading through all the forums. They've been a big help for me in defining my career goals.

I am currently in the process of applying to Top 15 business schools. Career wise I am very interested in working in corporate finance at a biotech/big pharma company Post-MBA, more specifically, being hired into a finance LDP where I can work in various roles within the company and get the necessary exposure and experience to transition into a corporate develoment/strategy role at the company long term. Is this a realistic short term to long term goal? I've read that CD is more suited for a former IB or MBB but is it different for MBAs who have moved up within the company? Any advice is much appreciated.

Comments (20)

Sep 4, 2014 - 9:49am

At the post-MBA level, you should be going directly into what you want. If you want to do CD/CS, try and get into one of those programs directly. If the company has a rotational program that offers CD/CS, do that.

With a top MBA you can go directly into those groups. The only time you *need* IB/MBB is if you want to make the transition pre-MBA.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Sep 4, 2014 - 10:17am

To D M's point, a MBA will get you directly into these groups.

Biotech CD roles will be more science-background oriented (w/ any added value of a MBA), while in big pharma, you should be able to switch from some FLDP rotation with managerial/big picture exposure into a CD role post-MBA.

CD is suited for IB/MBB, only if you're a new hire to the company. If you've been in the company for a while, you've completed actionable items, and you know it inside out, there's no reason you wouldn't be suited to transition into that same role.

Sep 5, 2014 - 2:48am

Depends on how big the firm is. Generally, it's best to be 1 to 2 steps/verticals removed to get the best exposure to the team. They want to see your competency in your work, and the larger the firm, the tougher it will be to see your accomplishments. Generally, depending on responsibilities, CF and CD/S work closely together.

You may then say, "well I'll just network with them and ask if they need help on projects". This can really PO people in your vertical; when I was an intern, I asked for work outside of my assigned scope and team (being interested in another group), and got negated from a full-time offer because of that one instance. Do not ask for work outside of your assigned scope unless told otherwise.

You're best bet is either hoping you get close enough, or networking heavily (outside of work hours). They'll obviously see your interest, and hopefully your work, to push a full-time recommendation for their group.

Sep 5, 2014 - 2:57am

I've had internships in corp. fin, corp. dev., corp. strat., and biz dev.

It's difficult. Not because you work in another team, that's easy to over come. The problem is getting a full-time in these groups out of undergrad.

I am now seeking work in regular old corp. fin. The work is extremely mundane, but at the end of the day a job is a job.

Sep 5, 2014 - 2:58am

Full disclaimer: I didn't take the time to read all the replies, so apologies if any of this is redundant.

I work in the Corp. Dev/Strat group at a Fortune 100 company. My group is small (less than 8 folks including EVP), so naturally it's tough to get into the group. My background is 2.5 years at a top (MBB) consulting firm before Sr. Analyst/Associate in current position. I also did a stint as a SA at an IB in college.

First of all, if you want something badly enough, anything is possible. That said, 95% of the time my group hires out of consulting or banking. The only exception would be that we have a financial leadership rotational program for kids straight out of undergrad, and we generally let the top performer do a year rotation in our group during his/her third year; one time we gave an individual a FT offer after his rotation because he was very, very good.

My advice would be to find a company that has a similar rotational financial program and leverage relationships to work that angle. Otherwise, you might simply need consulting or banking in your past.

Hope that helps.

Sep 5, 2014 - 3:00am

Corp Finance to Strategy - pointers? (Originally Posted: 05/22/2013)

I have been working in corporate finance of a media company for over 6 years. I have done some strategic analysis/strategy development for my firm, but on a limited basis. My goal is to work in strategy (online media, digital media), but seem to be unable to overcome the corporate finance background. Additionally I am very familiar with the finances of content creation and thus have the finance label and not a strategy label being applied.

My current reading habits
WSO :-)

I also gone through Case in Point

How do I learn to speak the strategy talk? Any pointers to materials that will aid this?

If you have any material about online media creation/production/deployment, could you please share it?

Sep 5, 2014 - 3:01am

Of course, I would just buy in scales.


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