Q&A: Corporate Banking to FAANG CD

Non-target school (Econ+science) to middle-market banking, to corporate banking, to FAANG Corporate Development. 26 yo F,  ask away about getting to top tier CD from non-traditional path

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Comments (34)

Mar 12, 2020 - 6:16pm

What exactly does the corporate development recruitment process look like at blue-chip firms? Can you actually get an application read via online apply or is it still networking and headhunter dominated like PE?

Mar 12, 2020 - 6:44pm

Hi there. I had all of my leads on LinkedIn, either from direct applications or from recruiters of the companies. I had my career preferences set to CD so recruiters would more easily find me.

After you get your foot in the door, the actual interview process is very similar across tech companies (at least in my experience).

  1. Phone screen with recruiter: Very typical. Tell me about your background. Why CD? Why ABC Company?
  2. Phone screen with CD employee (1 or 2): Digging more into technicals, market/company knowledge, M&A knowledge, potential acquisition targets
  3. Onsite: Sometimes a case study if they want to check your modeling ability (basically simple projection model, DCF, comps). In-person interviews which are focused on the items listed in #2 but much deeper.

Overall it took me a few practice runs to get good at it. The key is to prep. The more you know about the Company, its competitors, industry trends, market opportunities, historical acquisition strategy, product offerings, etc. the better you will do. Hope this helps!

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Mar 12, 2020 - 6:53pm

MM was 1.5 years (analyst). Corp Banking was 3 years (associate). Those two roles were in the same bank so I internally networked to secure the Corp Banking gig.

I didn't know anyone in CD prior, so I DM'd folks on LinkedIn who were in CD to ask questions. I was very surprised that everyone was willing to take time to chat with me. It was very important in helping me prep but did not play a role in getting me the job.

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Mar 12, 2020 - 10:21pm

Hi,

Thanks for doing this AMA.

Few questions:

1) How was the switch from mid market to corporate banking for you, what did you like/dislike in that role?

2) What do you do in CD on a daily basis? Are you always evaluating/re-evaluating strategic alternatives?

3) Do you get any sort of P&L/operational experience in CD?

4) what's internal competition like within your CD team to rise up the ranks? How does it compare to banking where you have targets you need to hit?

5) any unique perspective to share from a female standpoint across your work experience surrounding current trends like metoo, glass ceiling, feedback from seniors, pay, etc?

6) Any advice to men who want to be able to help and support women in their career growth?

STONKS
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Mar 13, 2020 - 12:06am

No problem! See answers below:

  1. MM to CB was challenging in a good way, but also frustrating. Switching roles within the same bank is still very similar to switching to a different company. A lot of the knowledge and skills were still applicable from MM but I had to prove myself and regain trust among seniors. The biggest learning curve for me was figuring out how to digest an immense amount of information on public companies/industry trends and develop an opinion. Also the modeling was a lot more advanced, and attention to detail became insanely important given we were working with >$10B. Nonetheless I liked the challenge and I think it gave me a lot of transferrable skills.

  2. I haven't started yet (I start Monday) so I can't give you a whole lot on the first part. To your second question, I always reevaluate when any of these pillars are lacking (i) challenging work environment, (ii) constantly learning, (iii) rewarded for hard work, (iv) good culture/team environment.

  3. FP&A is typically in charge of P&L work. However CD definitely tracks how M&A impact to the P&L

  4. I have a 10 person team. There isn't ranking like there is in banking which I love. You move up in rank and pay based on very specific criteria but it actually isn't public or announced. This results in very limited internal competition.

  5. I haven't really approached my career as us vs. them (i.e. F vs. M). I have worked in a male dominated environment since my first job but it honestly hasn't phased me. I always try to make good relationships with seniors and juniors and that has served me well. Just be authentic and you will be where you are meant to be.

  6. I have had many male advocates and they all treated me the same as they would any other hard working person. To me that's very important.

Hope this helps!

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Mar 13, 2020 - 9:43am

I went from CB to Risk now wondering what to do next... Looking for more fulfillment, happiness, opportunity, cultural fit, etc. I'm around your age - any ideas how to proceed forward/what to do now? Don't want to be entry level forever lol

Mar 13, 2020 - 11:58am

There are so many jobs out there that likely align with your skillset. I would just start sending your resume around and applying to jobs that sound interesting. As you start interviewing you will narrow down the types of things you like about a job and the types of things you don't.

For me, I knew I wanted to be in tech and I still wanted to M&A because it's fun, challenging, and fast-paced. As I interviewed for various companies I was able to tell whether or not I was a good fit with the team and if the company was a good cultural fit. You will find your way but you just need to start putting yourself out there! Best of luck in your search!

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Most Helpful
Mar 13, 2020 - 3:22pm

No problem! I have seen the case studies done in 2 different ways, (1) timed at-home assignment case study, and (2) in-person 3 to 4-hour case with presentation. Usually the first one is just to check your modeling capability and speed. The second one is more comprehensive which I will explain below.

(2) Typically they will give a target company to look at and ask you to figure out purchase price. Depending on time constraints you would build out a projection model, complete a DCF, and do comps. Key to this part is making sure you can clearly articulate your assumptions. Then they will ask you 'Should we acquire this company? Why or why not?'. This is where your studying comes into play. Make sure you have studied up on their past acquisitions, what the strategic rationale has been, overarching acquisition/capital allocation strategy, growth opportunities, industry trends etc. Lastly, make sure you include key risks/considerations. Think about integration challenges, dis-synergies/revenue cannibalization, market/industry risk, employee/management turnover risk, and other legal considerations within a PA. I had to present during several of my interviews so just be prepared for questions. In the end, they want to see your critical thinking skills, quantitative and qualitative ability, attention to detail, and creativity. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

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Mar 13, 2020 - 6:34pm

Is there any good books or courses that really help with this process?

Particularly with how to think about the strategy, growth opportunities, industry trends within FAANG CD?

Array

Mar 13, 2020 - 3:07pm

I worked in ECM at a solid bank, but am looking to move to FAANG. Not in Corporate development though, but strategy and operations (or something similiar which could lead to being a product manager). I know it is a little different from your wheelhouse, but I am wondering what is the best way for me to get in and leverage my experience? Also, what would you say are the core skills necessary in those roles.

Thanks!

Mar 13, 2020 - 3:32pm

Lucky for you my best friend is a PM at FAANG. They typically look for three things, (1) products sense, (2) execution, and (3) leadership/drive. I think you can definitely leverage your experience in ECM but I would definitely go on Glassdoor and look at all the various PM questions that have been asked in the past. There are also lots of PM youtube videos and other online resources to help you prep.

They want to see that you are creative and have a very structured and organized way of thinking. Come prepared with an examples of a project you have worked on where you had a big impact and had to work cross functionally to complete it. Also, make sure you can very clearly articulate why you want to work at that particular company and why PM. Since you are switching career paths, that will be a critical question that can make or break your ability to get your foot in the door. Hope this helps!

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Mar 13, 2020 - 4:15pm

Positives: Transferrable skillset (advanced modeling; critical thinking; company, financial, and industry analysis; risk assessment; etc.), fast-paced environment, structure with clear promotion path, more analyst/associate responsibility vs. IB, ability to work on headline M&A transactions, more flexibility hours and PTO

Negatives: Pay is significantly less than IB, episodic hours and sometimes hours are similar to IB depending on deal flow, limited client interaction, greater focus on bank loans, less pitch/early stage deal exposure, more back-office, less travel

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  • Analyst 1 in CorpStrat
Mar 13, 2020 - 8:43pm

How does the FAANG comp compare to IB/CB? Do RSU make up a big percentage? Where do you see your career heading to in the next five to ten years? Thanks for the AMA!

Mar 13, 2020 - 9:01pm

FAANG comp is higher than in CB and in line with associate level in IB. RSUs are typically ~5-10% depending on how experienced you are. RSU% increases the longer you stay because they refresh your plan. The biggest difference in comp is the salary bonus mix. In CB/IB bonuses can comprise anywhere from 50% to 100% of your salary. Now my salary is much, much higher but smaller bonus target (but still pretty variable because they want to reward high performers).

I am not really one to set a strict 5/10-year plan. I always work as hard as I can in every position and make sure that I am constantly challenged and am being rewarded for the work. Otherwise I will leave and find something else that fulfills me in those ways. I can see myself moving into management in the long run because I really enjoy training/helping people move up in their careers and having higher-level strategic responsibility. Doors have opened up for me with this mentality, and I feel pretty happy with all the career decisions I have made thus far!

Thanks for the questions!

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Apr 4, 2020 - 1:27pm

Thanks for doing AMA!

Few questions about the path, as I will intern in a BB within corporate banking, and later consulting at tier 2 shop. I'm more drawn to strategy, implementation and transactions, but I consider the corporate banking to be interesting experience that could teach me a lot. I'm just not sure if corp. banking will fundamentally interest me to the same extent as strategy work for example. How much of corporate banking comes down to just modeling debt, accounting knowledge and the expertise on corporate banking products (treasure management etc)?

Slightly messy question, but thanks for the super good comments on this AMA :)

Apr 30, 2020 - 11:09pm

Let me unpack this for you. Corporate Banking has a good mix of technicals (modeling, financial analysis, accounting), and analysis (risk assessment, industry trends, competitive landscape). I would say that strategy work is light in CBG until you get to a senior level.

With regards to traditional corporate banking products, you must gain a solid understanding of debt products, TM, FX, and other trade services. However the product partners are the experts and end up handling much of that work. Hope this helps!!

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Apr 4, 2020 - 2:46pm

Do you know of any of your colleagues that lateraled from CD at another company? Is that a viable option/common path?

I am going to be starting at CD for a F500 company. I am sure there's going to be a time where I cannot advance a certain point in the hierarchy and will want to lateral for that next promotion. I was curious to see if you knew whether jumping company to company in a similar CD role was popular.

Apr 30, 2020 - 11:12pm

Absolutely. Actually 3 of my colleagues came over from a different large tech companies. I would say moving around companies is very very common because the skillset remains the same. I would only caveat that moving to a different company within a different industry can be tricky if you don't have the deep domain knowledge. Just something to consider!

Apr 5, 2020 - 11:00am

Hi TMT Lady, awesome experience and awesome mindset.

1 simple question to touch on, if you were to sum up 5 most important things that you have learnt in your career life other than the one you've mentioned on no hard & fast rules for your 5/10 year plans, what are the 5 most important (hard & soft skills) that you would give an advice to someone who would want to be involved in doing these type of work (comps, DCF, LBOs) corporate development work.

Apr 30, 2020 - 11:20pm

Hey! Great question, had to give this one some thought. Below is a list in no order of importance:

  1. The more you see the more you learn. Every deal you work on will be incremental to your skillset and knowledge since every deal has its nuances. To the extent you can, volunteer to be on a wide variety of transactions early on

  2. Be thoughtful to everyone you work with (colleagues, leaders, admins, partners). You would be surprised how much your reputation correlated to your success

  3. If you don't understand something, do what you can to research and figure it out yourself. I've found that you will remember so much more and it shows initiative

  4. Bring ideas. Don't be afraid to speak up if you have an interesting idea. I was afraid to do this when I was an analyst, but once I did I realized how much people valued my opinion

  5. Be a quarterback of your deal team. Create good relationships with cross functional partners and manage the process so the the people above you don't have to

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May 7, 2020 - 10:38am

I will touch on hours first. Hours in CB are episodic but you are not required to sit there all day and light like IB has to (even if they don't have any work). For me, I worked a lot and on weekends because I volunteered to be on a lot of deals. This was my own choice though because I knew I didn't want to stay long term. Many of my colleagues had great WL balance (maybe working one weekend a month or every two months) but they were also hoping to stay in the group long term. Another thing to note is we were able to WFH on deals if you weren't super new.

IB is definitely the more common path to CD. I think it will be easier for your CV to get picked up. That being said, FAANG does seek diversity so there is value in coming from a "non traditional" path.

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