How to Get a Corporate Development (M&A) Job

STEP 1: WHAT'S Corporate Development ALL ABOUT?

Valuation model

Valuation model

  • AKA: CorpDev
  • Overview: CorpDev is all about M&A. In other words, the acquisition of smaller companies that you’re constantly reading about in the headlines: Facebook gobbles up Instagram, Google buys Nest, Apple acquires Beats.
  • Example project: Lead the acquisition of a startup with a high-traffic news site.
  • What you do all day: Analyze opportunities, build relationships, negotiate deals
  • Roles: Corporate Development Analyst/Associate (more junior), Corporate Development Manager (more senior)
  • What they look for: Former financial types with M&A experience (investment banks, private equity)
  • Example job: Corporate Development Associate, HP Enterprise

STEP 2: WOULD YOU BE A GOOD FIT FOR CorpDev?

Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:

  • Evaluating the competitive landscape
  • Conducting due diligence on outside firms
  • Building financial models
  • Presenting M+A recommendations
  • Leading negotiations

If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for CorpDev.


STEP 3: WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED FOR CorpDev?

For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:

·      Evaluating the competitive landscape

o   Keywords: source investment and acquisition opportunities, identify companies to acquire, industry trends, competitive landscape, strategic gaps, corporate weaknesses

o   Sample Bullet: Developed competitive analysis of gaming portfolio, identifying weakness in the casual gaming segment that led to a $2B acquisition opportunity

·      Conducting due diligence on outside firms

o   Keywords: due diligence, company research, corporate financials, capital structures

o   Sample Bullet: Managed due diligence on three potential acquisition targets, eliminating a disastrous option based on an unexpected capital structure

·      Building financial models

o   Keywords: financial analysis, models, Excel, valuation, deal modeling

o   Sample Bullet: Created financial model for M&A opportunity, projecting a 27% ROI that was ultimately realized

·      Presenting M+A recommendations

o   Keywords: build/buy/partner recommendations, joint venture, business acquisition, storytelling, presentations, senior management

o   Sample Bullet: Recommended joint venture to the executive team that, within two years, generated $18M in incremental revenue

·      Leading negotiations

o   Keywords: deal negotiation, deal structure, integrations, M&A negotiation, execution

o   Sample Bullet: Oversaw negotiation with acquisition target, ensuring 100% employee retention in the first two critical years of the deal


STEP 4: WHAT CorpDev TRAINING DO YOU RECOMMEND?

If you want to brush up on any of these skills, check out Tim Galpin's Mergers and Acquisitions course on Lynda. I like two things about this course in particular:

  1. It's realistic about M&A. Instead of overconfidently pursuing every deal, Tim walks through all of the many reasons acquisitions fail and destroy value - not create it.
     
  2. Nearly half the course is focused on integration. While negotiation may be the sexiest part of the process, Tim recognizes that most deals succeed or fail long after the ink is dry - based on smart (or often foolhardy!) integration efforts.

STEP 5: HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY GET A Corporate DEVELOPMENT JOB?

To help you convert your passion and skills into an actual job, I've put together a step-by-step course that covers how to:

  • Design a resume that will mark you as an insider to tech recruiters
  • Make sure you find every single great tech job across multiple sites
  • Get a referral at just about any tech company - even if you don't know anyone directly
  • Prepare for every kind of tech interview question with point-by-point formulas