Exit Opps (Non-PE)

I've just completed my first year at a top BB/EB in London.

It was definitely a tough year in many instances, but this is unsurprising as I knew what I was signing myself up for. Regardless, I have learnt a lot and managed to get top bucket which I am thankful for.

However, I think now is a good time to ask myself and this forum about potential exit opps. I don't hate my job, but I don't love it either, I feel as though my life is at a standstill. Unlike at the beginning, I don't feel as though I'm learning a lot every day now like I used to feel.

So it is very common for those in years older than me to move to a PE next, whether that be a MM or small cap or whatever. I don't really have that desire at all having worked with a lot of the top PEs this past year.

The other option I get heard thrown around a lot is 'corporate development.' I don't really think many people who do throw this term around really know what it means, they just think its trendy and its what they hear.

Take a company like Amazon for Facebook for example, doing 'corp dev' at one of these places 'sounds cool,' sure. But I feel for lots of tech companies they are often only looking to hire engineers, and the 'business' and 'dev' roles advertised are more like operations and back office. What actual 'corp dev' roles are really out there at these top companies that would be suitable for IB analysts?

I have had a fair share of headhunters contact me over the year, but of course it is unsurprising they have all been related to PE roles only.

So apart from PE, 'corp dev' whatever that could possibly really be, what are other jobs you have seen colleagues, friends or peers move into? Have they enjoyed it?

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Comments (11)

Most Helpful
Jun 25, 2020 - 7:27pm

Corp dev (and sometimes with strategy) will be focused on deal execution, I.e. what you have been doing in IB. plenty of these roles around you just need to make sure to read the job description. interesting job with a great lifestyle however I'm abit dissapointed by the comp and progression so keep that in mind if that's something you care about

other paths could include AM/HF, other alternative investments (I.e private debt), VC, corporate finance, MBA

Jun 26, 2020 - 5:34am

Thank you.

I definitely agree with the point around comp and progression points on these roles, it does seem like a pretty large cut which I'm not sure I could sacrifice for an 'improved lifestyle.'

I'm aware of those other options you have listed at the bottom, but again I don't think i'm going to be super thrilled or experience anything different than working in IB now.

An MBA is intersting as I like the idea of 'going back to school,' however I think the cost far outweighs the benegit, espeically in Europe.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2020 - 9:39am

Corp dev is not some "trendy fad" it's a legitimate business function that works on corporate level strategic initiatives - usually deal oriented i.e. acquiring companies for growth/synergies, divesting business units, forming strategic alliances, capital raising etc.

Some companies lump corp dev, biz dev (i.e. strategic partnerships) and strategy/bizops (i.e. in-house consulting) together under one team others have separate teams. Generally all of these teams are on the more strategic side of the business mostly working with the C-suite or business unit executives on key projects that affect the entire org. Could also lump in investor relations in here too. In media companies there are also content acquisition teams that take point on sourcing and acquiring the rights to different forms of content. FinTech lenders also have capital markets teams that source, structure and acquire debt financing to power their products.

Generally, when people exit to corporates from banking or consulting they tend to veer more towards these "strategic" types of operating roles. In many ways they're a tier above some of the other more standard business functions like HR or Finance/FP&A or Marketing etc that are more routine and are involved in less of the strategic decision making made by execs at least at the individual contributor level. These "strategic" roles also tend to be feeders into executive roles within various functions or business unit exec roles that have p&l responsibilities.

Jun 26, 2020 - 6:18pm

Sure, I understand that.

It's just these roles don't pop all too often ay? Usually looking through large cap companies that I would have an interest in, the roles are typically the likes that you mentioned i.e. HR or Finance/FP&A or Marketing etc.

Is it similar as for recruitment in PE where you need headhunters to essentially push for you?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2020 - 8:24pm

I think it's more typical for corporates to post these kinds of jobs than it is for PE firms and the like to.

Though, I imagine a significant %age of professionals are still sourced via headhunters or networking (rather than through job posts). Worth attacking from all angles IMO.

And yes, these seats, especially in London where it seems like there are fewer of them vs say the US, tend not to pop up as often as the other business functions. Teams usually run quite lean and as such new headcount mostly pops up when people leave or move on to other roles internally.

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Jun 26, 2020 - 7:44pm

I did two years of IB M&A, then my recent year in CF in "corporate development" in the energy industry. I personally got a lifestyle upgrade since I left NY and got paid 10k higher base in a lower cost of living city. The bonuses suck imo but I am working 8-6 on avg with the odd IB style crunch once or twice in the last year. I liked the trade off.

I did it after feeling a lot like you do now and it was a good fit tbh. I can't really tell you about further exit opps because I'm still figuring it out myself. The work is a bit more fulfilling and it's actually looked at.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 26, 2020 - 8:14pm

Can anyone speak to startup exits? Heard anecdotally that lots of startups look for former bankers in CFO-type or biz dev roles, and obviously if you land at the right startup there's a lot more chance at massive comp compared to working at a super established company that isn't growing much. Do you need an MBA to make this pivot? Is it all just via networking?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2020 - 8:28pm

Startup exits are the same as "strategic" corp exits: corp dev, biz dev, BizOps/strategy, IR, etc. In FinTech startups you can add capital markets. In media-based tech companies you can add content acquisition. Of course, just regular finance/fp&a roles as well.

People also frequently end up in more core/central roles within Product or Product Marketing (but you have to make a solid case, it's not as easy as the more corporate roles) from banking/consulting backgrounds too.

Jun 27, 2020 - 11:00am

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