MBA to F500 Corporate Strategy?

Guys, first time poster looking for some advice here.

I'm going back to b-school this year, and I've been researching different career paths. F500 corporate strategy has piqued my interest. On the surface, it looks like a lot of F500 companies have one department for CS and corporate (or business) development…I have zero finance/m&a background (math undergrad, 4 years consulting)…my questions are:

1. Do the people in these departments typically focus on one practice (i.e., either CS or CD) or do they do a bit of both or does it vary by company?

2. During b-school, should I focus on filling skills gaps (finance) or enhancing strengths (strategy)?

3. I'm looking for F500 firms with CS employees in New England. Are there any firms that are particularly prestigious?

4. I did my undergrad at a non-target (but still T20 liberal arts) school in the Northeast. My consulting experience is with a relatively unknown firm. Now I'm heading to a regional b-school . Will this lack of 'gold' in my profile hold me back? I.e., is it going to be exceptionally challenging to get a F500 CS job? Note, I do have a few things working in my favor: I received the school's most prestigious fellowship (full-tuition, merit-based) and have a 730 GMAT…

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
MBA2CS

Comments (23)

 
Mar 28, 2013 - 2:55pm

My take, it depends on the group. If the roles are "business development", that tends to include more strategy and non-finance work.

If it states corporate development, it will generally be more M&A and finance focused. This is a rule of thumb, not always the case, as I know a Manager of FP&A within the corporate development group, meaning she works on FP&A analysis for recent and prospective acquisitions.

Your first goal should be to figure out which of these you wish to pursue. There may be overlap in certain corporations, particularly as you move up the ladder (VP and higher). Expect to come in as an associate (equivalent to IB or PE associate level).

 
Mar 28, 2013 - 3:31pm

peinvestor2012:
My take, it depends on the group. If the roles are "business development", that tends to include more strategy and non-finance work.

If it states corporate development, it will generally be more M&A and finance focused. This is a rule of thumb, not always the case, as I know a Manager of FP&A within the corporate development group, meaning she works on FP&A analysis for recent and prospective acquisitions.

Your first goal should be to figure out which of these you wish to pursue. There may be overlap in certain corporations, particularly as you move up the ladder (VP and higher). Expect to come in as an associate (equivalent to IB or PE associate level).

I guess what I'm asking is: are there any roles that are strictly strategy (i.e., the work management consultants do)?

 
Mar 28, 2013 - 3:45pm

MBA_to_CorpStrat:
peinvestor2012:
My take, it depends on the group. If the roles are "business development", that tends to include more strategy and non-finance work.

If it states corporate development, it will generally be more M&A and finance focused. This is a rule of thumb, not always the case, as I know a Manager of FP&A within the corporate development group, meaning she works on FP&A analysis for recent and prospective acquisitions.

Your first goal should be to figure out which of these you wish to pursue. There may be overlap in certain corporations, particularly as you move up the ladder (VP and higher). Expect to come in as an associate (equivalent to IB or PE associate level).

I guess what I'm asking is: are there any roles that are strictly strategy (i.e., the work management consultants do)?

The simple answer is "yes". Companies have groups staffed with what are known as Internal Consultants. The name is self explanatory. Samsung, for example, has a pretty well known Global Strategy Group (They mainly recruit from Top MBA programs, though) that does what you're looking to get into. It starts you off at over 100k. JP Morgan also has (had?) an ICS rotational program for which I interviewed back in 03-coming from a non target undergrad. So yes, the opportunities are there.

 
Mar 28, 2013 - 3:39pm

1) Depends on the company. Most of the bigger ones tend to separate their functions into strategy and development groups

2) Why not do both? Given your math background I'd work on everything else (strategy). You'll learn all you need to know about finance in b-school and from your classmates.

3) By New England, does that also include NY? or the general CT, MA, NH...areas? More than a few in the tri-state area if you're willing to consider NY/NJ/CT

4) While F500s recruit Corporate Development roles from top programs, they're much more lenient about giving chances to PROVEN candidates. In my 8 yrs in Corporate Finance I've hired plenty of non-target kids who knew what they were doing or had good experience over their Ivy league counterparts. Of course, in Corporate Finance, you're going to be seen as the help in most cases,so where you went to school matters very little. In corp dev. specifically, they recruit ex bankers and Top MBAs, so the higher ranked schools are still well represented-but if you crush it at your regional b-school and get some solid internships, with your quant background, I don't see why you wouldn't get a hard look.

 
Mar 29, 2013 - 1:15pm

TheGrind:
1) Depends on the company. Most of the bigger ones tend to separate their functions into strategy and development groups

2) Why not do both? Given your math background I'd work on everything else (strategy). You'll learn all you need to know about finance in b-school and from your classmates.

3) By New England, does that also include NY? or the general CT, MA, NH...areas? More than a few in the tri-state area if you're willing to consider NY/NJ/CT

4) While F500s recruit Corporate Development roles from top programs, they're much more lenient about giving chances to PROVEN candidates. In my 8 yrs in Corporate Finance I've hired plenty of non-target kids who knew what they were doing or had good experience over their Ivy league counterparts. Of course, in Corporate Finance, you're going to be seen as the help in most cases,so where you went to school matters very little. In corp dev. specifically, they recruit ex bankers and Top MBAs, so the higher ranked schools are still well represented-but if you crush it at your regional b-school and get some solid internships, with your quant background, I don't see why you wouldn't get a hard look.

Awesome - thanks for all your help man. Really appreciate the advice, specifically in points 2 and 4.

Regarding point 3, I'm not looking at NY/NJ as (a) personal reasons and (b) the school doesn't have much 'brand awareness' in that region.

Thanks again,
MBA2CS

 
Mar 29, 2013 - 5:48pm

MBA_to_CorpStrat:

1. Do the people in these departments typically focus on one practice (i.e., either CS or CD) or do they do a bit of both or does it vary by company?

2. During b-school, should I focus on filling skills gaps (finance) or enhancing strengths (strategy)?

3. I'm looking for F500 firms with CS employees in New England. Are there any firms that are particularly prestigious?

4. I did my undergrad at a non-target (but still T20 liberal arts) school in the Northeast. My consulting experience is with a relatively unknown firm. Now I'm heading to a regional b-school . Will this lack of 'gold' in my profile hold me back? I.e., is it going to be exceptionally challenging to get a F500 CS job? Note, I do have a few things working in my favor: I received the school's most prestigious fellowship (full-tuition, merit-based) and have a 730 GMAT

1. It varies. I've seen where a team strictly focuses on strategy and the other on M&A, or one where everyone is expected to know both really well. As an aside, for big companies, they may have one big CORPORATE team and several DIVISIONAL teams that focus on the specific business strategy. The divisional strategy groups are fun, and in fact they go deeper into the business so you'd have to become more well-versed.

2. Why not both! You're going to need both just to survive in CS in my opinion.

3. I don't know any teams in particular but did a quick glance at F500 companies based in MA. Raytheon, EMC, Boston Scientific all seem legit.

4.You for sure need to hustle hard to get an internship during the summer. That will set the tone. Even if it means going to a different region with more available jobs. It will make your profile a lot more appealing when the time comes to full-time recruiting.

 
Feb 4, 2014 - 10:36am

Whoops, thought you were starting full-time for some reason. PaleBlueDot's questions just about cover mine, except... What's your general feeling about the position as far as starting a career with Liberty? Is it a lifestyle job with strong exits internally or is it an intense position where you ultimately plan to move elsewhere within the company?

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
 
Feb 4, 2014 - 12:06pm

What's your general feeling about the position as far as starting a career with Liberty? Is it a lifestyle job with strong exits internally or is it an intense position where you ultimately plan to move elsewhere within the company?

- Liberty (on the whole, not just CS&R) has a major focus on employee development that is significantly better than other firms that I interviewed with and previously consulted for. I'm very excited to start my post-MBA career here.
- CS&R is well respected within the org. and offers many opportunities. Those who love management consulting projects are able to rise up within the group.
- However, the group also recognizes that not everyone is looking to work on consulting projects long-term. For these folks, they encourage career exploration within the company. Alumni of the group have done very well within the firm with multiple alums rising to C-Level positions.

Hope that helps.

 
Feb 4, 2014 - 12:13pm

It definitely does! And as a follow-up, do you see most of the people going to CS&R being from target schools or is there a non-target presence there as well?

Also, I get the feeling this is essentially strat consulting without the travel and within a single company (which is pretty much how LM presents it). What do you expect in terms of hours? Also, as they take undergrads, too, what level does an MBA start at vs an undergrad?

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
 
Feb 4, 2014 - 8:39pm
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