Is Corp dev a dead end?

Currently in tech IB coverage looking to do big tech or startup corp dev after banking. 
 

for a while I thought I wanted to do growth or VC, but think that corp dev better aligns with the lifestyle I'm aiming for, but I don't want to shut the door on VC/growth later if I decide to do corp dev now. 
 

with that said, what does career trajectory look like once you're in corp dev? Is it common/possible to move to growth/VC after corp dev or is that a door that's closed (or much harder to open) if not going right from banking?

Do people "exit" from corp dev or typically try to move vertically within their company / lateral to corp dev at similar companies?

for context, I'm mostly considering big tech and startups. 

Comments (7)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 8, 2021 - 12:17pm

I've seen people go from GE/VC to corp dev but not the other way around. Not saying it's not possible though, I just haven't seen it personally.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 8, 2021 - 12:37pm

It's extremely dependent on the company you work for, but yes there's much less upward mobility in corp dev. Much more of a lifestyle fit with not a ton of raises. You can make the switch back to banking or to a PE, but you just won't get credit for your time in corp dev most likely. 

Also, some corp dev shops work almost as much as banking hours, so you really have to be careful and see how much dealflow they get. It's common to work 70-80 hour weeks at larger firms (like UHG, Medtronic, Cargill, etc.), but you lose the banking pay aspect. IMO- I'd only consider this switch if I was at a more senior / manager role. Much more likely to move to a small boutique bank that doesn't grind you or MM-LMM PE shop

  • VP in IB - Gen
Sep 8, 2021 - 12:37pm

Largely a dead end even within the company if you're just doing M&A.  If you're doing general strategy as well, not so bad.  But no real visibility into c-suite promotion.

Oct 27, 2021 - 10:32am

Why would you say no visibility into C-suite? Most corp dev meetings involves C-suite (CFO/CEO) when it comes to review/decisions. The problem with corp dev is that like consulting, it doesn't give tangible execution skills to actually run the business/lead a department. CFO typically requires a much more broader finance and accounting background so that is out of question unless you bridge into a VP finance role from corp dev which is possible. But visibility? Not a reason. It's all really dependent on the organization and how they run a corp dev function as well. I do stuff that typically a FP&A department should do but doesn't know how to do because they lack proper modeling skills, so technically I have a strong FP&A background despite also focusing on M&A/Investments. 

  • VP in IB - Gen
Oct 27, 2021 - 10:55am

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