Corporate Development (Corp Dev)

An Overview of Corporate Development, Including Recruitment, Job Functions and Salaries

What Is Corporate Development?

Definition of Corporate Development: Corporate Development is the division of a large company that focuses on acquisitions and divestitures, including deal sourcing and execution, as well as joint venture (JV) deals and partnerships. They also spend time doing competitive research and determining which markets their companies should enter. Much of the work is similar to buy-side M&A deals at an investment bank, but the key difference is that you work at one single company and contribute to that company’s growth over the long term.

Corporate Development Recruitment

Corporate development (Corp Dev or CD) teams are looking for candidates who:

  • Have deal experience working on joint ventures, acquisitions, and other deals;
  • Know the industry and the specific company in-depth so they can come up with meaningful ideas; and
  • Can run deals by themselves.

In practice, this means that Corp Dev teams prefer to hire investment bankers who have worked in relevant industry groups.

It’s rare to break into Corporate Development just out of undergrad, although it can be done (refer to the linked article).

Check out our in-depth article on Corporate Development Recruiting for more details of how to ace your interviews and get hired. 

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What You Do In Corp Dev

An “average day” in corporate development varies a lot and depends on:

  • Whether or not you have any active deals, and how close they are to closing
  • The company you’re at and how active it is with acquisitions, divestitures, and partnerships

A typical “Day In The LIfe” includes the following, which you can read about in more depth in our full Corporate Development Careers article:

  • Deal Sourcing: finding other companies and market participants who may want to do a deal
  • Deal Analysis: evaluating the pros and cons of each deal, excluding financial modeling
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: creating financial models to frame your offers
  • Deal Integration: ensuring that acquisitions are successfully integrated into your firm
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Corporate Development Salaries and Bonuses

Corp Dev roles vary widely, making exact salary comparisons difficult between job titles difficult.  Here are some compensation ranges based on what you might earn at a large company in a major financial center:

  • Associate: Base salaries of $100K – $120K and bonuses worth 20-30% of base salary, for total compensation of $120K – $160K.
  • Manager: Base salaries of $140K – $160K and bonuses worth 35-50% of base salary, for total compensation of $190K – $240K.
  • Director: Total compensation of ~$300K – $400K, with a higher percentage from the bonus and stock (over 50%).
  • VP or Head of Corporate Development: Total compensation of $500K+, perhaps approaching $1 million depending on bonuses and stock-based compensation.

Corporate Development Training Courses

Most Corporate Development professionals will enter the industry via Investment Banking.  A strong grasp of financial modeling and quantitative analysis is important for Corp Dev roles, although strong interpersonal and “Deal Making” skills may also be required – especially in more senior positions. 

Some of the most relevant courses offered by Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street include:

Investment Banking
Commercial Real Estate (CRE)
Investment Banking
Investment Banking