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

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.

Sep 5, 2014

Thank you D M!! Very much appreciated!

Sep 4, 2014

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.

    • 1
Sep 5, 2014

Thank you so much for the feedback!

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Sep 5, 2014

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.

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Sep 5, 2014

Did you really not get a FT offer because you asked for more work? I don't see why you would PO people if you want to learn and contribute more.

Sep 5, 2014

That's a great share. Anyone else have any other experiences?

Sep 5, 2014

bump

Sep 5, 2014

It's rare for that to happen. Best way to make it work is if you're in a rotational program and can manage a CD/CS rotation (just talk to your rotations manager about it).

Sep 5, 2014

This company does offer a rotational program for full-timers with undergraduate degrees, but unfortunately it does not include corp d/s opportunities. However, they do have a very broad rotational MBA program that allows one to work in any non-technical capacity desired, anywhere from marketing to treasury functions and anything else you could think of. I've never heard of a program with the scope of this company's MBA program, so I'm thinking since they are open to MBAs moving around wherever, undergraduates might be able to as well through unofficial channels--of course I'm not an MBA, but I would like to think that the graduate program reflects the firm culture.

Sep 5, 2014
D M:

It's rare for that to happen. Best way to make it work is if you're in a rotational program and can manage a CD/CS rotation (just talk to your rotations manager about it).

This is bad advice unless you're absolutely sure you'll be the most desireable candidate in your class. Everyone in the rotational program, at least initially will go for the more desireable roles.

Sep 5, 2014

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

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.

May 17, 2019

Thanks for the answer. I know you wrote this a while ago but wanted to get your perspective on big 4 MC vs internal FLDP. Which experience would be easier to leverage into corporate strategy?

Sep 5, 2014
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