by Brian DeChesare Comments (39)

Corporate Development Careers: The Definitive Guide

Corporate Development Career Guide

If you ever want to be confused, try searching for “corporate development careers” online.

Some people think corporate development is a great, underrated alternative to private equity and investment banking, while others think it’s a “slow glide to death” as you deal with managers straight out of Dilbert who enjoy making terrible decisions.

Some argue that corporate development gives you solid exit opportunities, while others argue that it’s overrated and not an ideal place to start your career.

And some believe that corporate development offers a laid-back environment with good hours and solid compensation, while others argue that professionals in this industry are underpaid for what they do.

We’ve published many interviews from readers who have worked in the field at different types of companies, so this article will summarize their experiences and highlight what to expect on the job in corporate development careers.

What is Corporate Development?

Corporate Development Definition: The corporate development ( “Corp Dev” or “CD”) team focuses on acquisitions, divestitures, joint venture (JV) deals, and partnerships internally at a company. Corporate Development professionals may also conduct industry research, map out markets, and work on post-deal integration.

If you’re in corporate development at a large company (i.e., Fortune 100), you will spend most of your time on M&A deals and you’ll do less sourcing and “random” work.

If you’re at a smaller company, you’ll often spend more time on sourcing and tasks that would fall under “business development” or “corporate strategy” at a bigger company.

Corporate development is a good option if you want to work on deals, stick with one company over the long term, and get a better lifestyle and hours than in IB/PE – at the cost of lower pay and slower advancement.

What Does Someone In Corporate Development Do?

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.

For example, if you’re at a large company and you’re near the finish line on a $2 billion acquisition, you will be working around the clock – similar to investment banking hours – to close the deal, verify the final terms, and handle last-minute problems.

On the other hand, if there are no live deals, your day might consist of internal meetings in the morning, followed by industry research and reviewing marketing materials for potential target companies sent by the bankers representing them.

Here are the main tasks you complete in corporate development:

Deal Sourcing

“Sourcing” means “finding and contacting other companies and other market participants and seeing who wants to do a deal.”

You do more of this at smaller companies and less at larger companies since bankers constantly come in to present deals.

Deal Analysis

This one refers to everything required to run an M&A or JV deal from start to finish, excluding the financial modeling and valuation.

Tasks include conducting due diligence on target companies, reviewing the definitive agreement, and keeping track of the data room and other potential buyers (often by using Excel database functions to slice and dice data).

For JV deals, tasks might include analyzing the potential partner’s customer and supplier relationships and agreements.

Financial Modeling and Valuation

Financial modeling is exactly what it sounds like: creating revenue, expense, and cash flow projections for companies, valuing them, and then using that information to frame your offers.

It’s similar to what you do in investment banking, but you go into more granular detail here because the line items represent actual people at your firm – not just abstract percentages in a spreadsheet.

Financial modeling is often more complex for JV deals because the revenue and expense sharing, commissions, and payment terms can be quite complicated.

Deal Integration

With this one, you work with acquired companies to integrate their systems with your company’s, report their financial results, and connect key people to make sure the acquired company performs well.

You work to ensure that acquisitions not only happen, but are also successful – the unglamorous parts of deal-making that bankers always skip.

Separate teams sometimes handle this task via a number of deal integration frameworks, so you may not do anything in this area at certain companies.

Miscellaneous Tasks

This category includes researching industries, doing internal calls and meetings with other team members and divisions, and planning out your firm’s strategy, which includes finding the most promising markets and potential partners.

A Day in the Life Of A Corporate Development Professional

Here are a few examples of how you might split your time between these tasks in corporate development careers at different companies:

Pre-IPO Tech Startup:

From a previous interview no longer on the site, here was the interviewee’s time split:

  • Sourcing: 20%
  • Deal Analysis: 25%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 25%
  • Integration: 0%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 30%

This time split was a bit unusual because he spent relatively little time on sourcing for a company this size.

300-500-Person Company in Growth Mode:

Here was the time split from this interview:

  • Sourcing: 50%
  • Deal Analysis: 20%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 20%
  • Integration: 0%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 10%

This split is typical for smaller companies – more time is spent on generating deals than on executing them.

Large Team in Fortune 100 Company:

Here’s the split for this one:

  • Sourcing: 0%
  • Deal Analysis: 50%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 25%
  • Integration: 0%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 25%

This reader spent no time on sourcing because it’s unnecessary at a company this size; the executives generate deal flow via their connections, and bankers pitch ideas all the time.

Multi-Billion-Dollar Public Company:

For this one, the split looks like this:

  • Sourcing: 10%
  • Deal Analysis: 25%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 15%
  • Integration: 30%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 20%

The unusual part is that this reader spent the most time on post-deal integration – which many CD teams do not do at all.

Another Multi-Billion-Dollar Public Company:

Here’s the time split for this one:

  • Sourcing: 25%
  • Deal Analysis: 25%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 25%
  • Integration: 0%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 25%

This one’s a more standard split for a mid-sized company, with roughly equal allocations to the four most common tasks and nothing for integration.

PE-Owned Portfolio Company:

Here’s the time split for this one:

  • Sourcing: 10%
  • Deal Analysis: 30%
  • Financial Modeling and Valuation: 30%
  • Integration: 0%
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 30%

He spends a bit less time on sourcing because the company is PE-owned, so the owners may generate more deal flow.

The CorpDev Career, in a Nutshell

From these stories, a few themes emerge.

First, you tend to spend more time on sourcing at smaller companies and more time on deal analysis/execution at larger companies.

Second, the tasks vary heavily based on company and industry – corporate development at a middle-market company with a 3-person team is a completely different experience from a 20-person team at a Fortune 100 company that executes billion-dollar deals.

Not much changes at a private equity-owned company, but sometimes the owners will do more of the financing and sourcing work.

The close rate tends to be quite low in corporate development because you need to win approval from each department that’s affected by the deal.

Winning consensus at large public companies is like herding cats, and you’ll often encounter risk-averse middle managers who will do anything to preserve their positions.

If your group looks seriously at 50-100 deals per year, you might be lucky to close 2-4 of them, and closing 0 deals is 100% plausible.

The process is slower not just because of office politics, but also because some companies are not represented by bankers, which tends to make due diligence disorganized and create more last-minute surprises.

In emerging markets, you’ll spend more time on “relationship management” and guiding the CEO and CFO through the M&A process.

My best advice is that you should carefully research the company’s acquisition and partnership history before accepting a job offer there.

If a company has not been acquisitive historically, it’s extremely unlikely to change in the next few years, no matter what it claims.

Corporate development careers can be great, but they can also be terrible if you’re in the wrong group or the wrong company, or if you come across as a threat to insecure managers and executives who are in “self-preservation mode.”

It’s a very different environment from banks and consulting firms, where everyone is ambitious and wants to move up by winning clients and doing deals.

Hours and Culture

Overall, you’ll work far less in corporate development careers than you would in investment banking, private equity, or hedge funds.

You might work 45-55 hours in an average week, rising to 60-70 (or more) if a live deal is near the finish line.

For context, 60-70 hours would be a slow week in investment banking, and a 45-55-hour week would be a unicorn.

The hours are better for several reasons:

  • No Pressure to Do Deals Constantly – If you don’t close deals in investment banking, you don’t get paid. If you don’t close deals in CD… you still earn your salary.
  • Less Grunt Work – You do not spend time creating 200-slide pitch books because they are completely unnecessary in CD. You do create materials for internal meetings, but they’re shorter and don’t involve the same level of grunt work.
  • Team Structure and CompositionTeams in investment banking skew young because very few people over the age of 40 will work 70-80+ hours per week consistently. By contrast, teams tend to be older in corporate development, and people come from more diverse backgrounds in terms of education and work experience.

The culture is more relaxed, though this varies by the firm as well.

You should expect that the CD team of a large financial institution or Fortune 100 company will be more formal than the team at a 300-person pre-IPO tech startup, for example.

The environment is more social than the average PE or VC firm, where everyone tends to work independently in “lone wolf” mode, but less social than most banks, where junior-level employees sit together and chat in between work.

Hierarchy and Promotions

The CD hierarchy at most companies is: Analyst -> Associate -> Manager -> Director -> VP or Head of Corporate Development.

There may be variations such as Associate Director vs. Senior Director or Junior vs. Senior Analyst, and some companies may not have Analyst roles at all.

At smaller companies, this hierarchy may be compressed into Associate -> Manager -> Director; at larger companies, there may be more levels, such as an EVP or SVP with many responsibilities who also dabbles in corporate development.

Even if there’s technically an EVP or SVP at the top, the VP or Head of Corporate Development runs everything, and it’s rare for top executives like the CFO to be involved with day-to-day activities.

Advancing up each level of this hierarchy might take several years, so if you start as an Associate out of an IB Analyst role and perform well, you might reach the Director level in 5-7 years.

Going beyond that is difficult and time-consuming because turnover is low.

Many ex-bankers win corporate development roles and then never want to leave because the hours are manageable, pay is still quite good, and it’s possible to have a family and outside life.

And there’s no “up or out” culture as there is in IB, so you could be waiting a very, very, very long time to advance to the top.

If you want to advance, it’s almost always better to transfer to a different division at your company and move up there, ideally in a product or marketing role.

Corporate development is not an ideal path to C-level roles such as CEO and CFO because the required skill sets are broader and require more leadership/management ability.

To become a CFO, you should start in the corporate finance career path in a role such as FP&A or Treasury, and to become a CEO, you’d be better off in sales, product, or starting your own company.

Corporate Development Salary and Bonuses

It’s difficult to pinpoint salaries and bonuses because they vary widely – and titles sometimes differ between different companies, making exact comparisons difficult.

So, these are very rough, broad 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.

These may seem like impressive numbers, and they are – but there are also a few caveats.

First, compensation at the Director level is about what Associates in investment banking earn, and it only takes 3-4 years to reach the Associate level at a bank (starting as an Analyst out of undergrad) vs. several more years for Director in corporate development.

So, the potential is there, but corporate development careers offer slower advancement to the same compensation level.

Second, these compensation figures are almost certainly lower outside of major centers like New York and London and at smaller companies.

Third, stock-based compensation plays a major role in these figures, so you need to be aware of the type of equity you’re getting, the company’s valuation, and the vesting period for any options you receive.

There are a few different types of stock-based compensation (SBC):

  • Stock Grants: You receive X shares in the company, which vest over Y years.
  • Stock Options: You receive the rights to purchase X shares in the company for an exercise price of Y, and those rights vest over Z years.
  • Stock Awards: You receive X dollar amount of compensation, the company then uses that dollar figure to purchase Y number of shares on a certain date, and those shares then vest over Z years.
  • Restricted Stock Units (RSUs): These are similar to normal stock grants, but there are restrictions on when you can transfer or sell the stock.

Each type of SBC has different tax consequences, and the treatment also differs depending on your country.

But the biggest issue is that it’s often difficult to request the relevant information from the company, especially if the company is private and doesn’t want to disclose its “cap table,” which shows the shares, options, and RSUs owned by all employees and investors.

If you’re at a large public company, stock-based compensation is much more straightforward and can be added reliably to your salary and bonus for the year.

But if you’re at a private company, then you should be very conservative and assume that your equity is worth nothing.

If it ends up being worth something, or you hit the jackpot by joining a hot startup before it goes public, great – but don’t assume anything.

Corporate Development Exit Opportunities

Reading everything above, you might think:

“Aha! You work on M&A deals in corporate development, and you gain a skill set that’s useful for investment banking or private equity. Corporate development careers must be great if you want to get into IB or PE later on!”

The first two parts of that statement are true, but that does not mean that it’s easy or particularly common to move from CD into IB or PE.

Part of the problem is cultural: yes, you work on deals in CD, but the culture and hours are more laid back, and the key challenges are different.

On the PE side, it’s ridiculously competitive to win interviews and offers even if you’re in investment banking at a top bulge-bracket bank – so you can imagine the difficulties if you’re in corporate development at a lesser-known, mid-tier firm.

Also, there’s less ownership of deals in CD. You do not monitor the “portfolio” of acquired companies the same way PE firms do, and if a transaction goes wrong, you can just blame it on the incompetent General Manager in some other division.

Of these two, it’s easier to get into investment banking from corporate development, especially if you do so earlier (e.g., a year or two out of undergrad if you win a rare entry-level role in CD).

If you want to pursue private equity, you’ll probably have to find a firm whose industry focus matches your company’s and time the move perfectly (e.g., apply just as someone has left or after the firm has raised a new fund for a major expansion).

Winning public-markets roles, such as in equity research, asset management, or hedge funds would be virtually impossible coming from corporate development because the skill sets and mindsets are too different.

Most professionals stay in corporate development careers or move to other divisions at the company, such as corporate finance or specific product groups.

In both cases, the usual motivation is faster/better advancement and the possibility of reaching a C-level executive position in the long term.

Is Corporate Development A Good Career?

Summing up everything in this article, here’s how you can think about the trade-offs of corporate development careers:

Benefits / Advantages:

  • Long-term, singular focus on building a company.
  • Exposure to executives such as Group Heads and the CEO, which can help with transfers and references in the future and even business school.
  • Great work/life balance and good compensation relative to non-finance jobs.
  • Interesting work and relaxed culture.
  • Good opportunity to transfer to other divisions/groups and advance more rapidly there.
  • Can be a good “side door” or “back door” into high finance if you don’t have the traditional background required to get into investment banking.

Drawbacks / Disadvantages:

  • Slow advancement, especially to reach the top levels.
  • Compensation is a big discount to what you earn in IB and PE roles.
  • Small industry with relatively few job openings.
  • More office politics and risk-averse middle management than in IB/PE/HF roles.
  • Less ownership of deals than in fields like PE/VC, and less of a link between your individual contributions and your compensation/advancement.
  • You’re more of a “facilitator” rather than an original idea generator, at least at large companies.
  • OK-but-not-great exit opportunities.

So, are corporate development careers right for you?

It’s impossible to give a universal answer, but if you understand the trade-offs above, you’ll be able to cut through the online confusion and start framing your personal answer.

And if you interview for a corporate development role and run into anyone who reminds you of a Dilbert character, cut your losses and run the other way.

Further Corporate Development Resources

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hello, great article. How likely would it be to move from I/C FP&A Manager (7 YoE, 4 in accounting, 3 in FP&A) at pre-IPO tech company (~1k employees) to Corp Dev, both internally and extrenally, assuming that the candidate understands the business strategy quite well?

    1. Possible but likely pretty challenging because you don’t work on deals in most FP&A roles. Your best bet would be to find a corp dev role that is more about partnerships/JVs or one at more of a startup/growth company so you can show more of a skill set overlap.

  2. Hi Brian – curious, are the salary/bonus figures listed here still accurate?

    1. I would imagine they are at least slightly higher now because this article is from a few years ago. But there’s no way they are on par with PE/IB pay if that’s what you’re asking. There’s less money to go around, promotions are slower, hours are much lower, etc.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I saw your response from a few years back to another commenter saying that someone can exit out of an associate role in IB into Corporate Development as a manager. I was just wondering if that is still likely/common.

    I was also wondering how important an MBA would be in moving up the hierarchy to become a corporate development director and beyond if you have that IB experience and transfer in. Some roles say MBA is “strongly recommended.” Thanks in advance!

    1. It’s still possible to leave an IB Associate role and enter CD as a Manager, yes. I don’t know how likely/common it is.

      I don’t think an MBA is that important for advancement in most CD roles. The job descriptions may say that, but if you have experience at a brand-name bank in IB, I don’t think an MBA would add much. It’s only worthwhile if it’s an actual requirement to advance or if everyone above a certain level in the CD team has it.

  4. Hi Brian, thanks for the insightful article as always. I have a question: How easy is it to go back into PE (thinking more growth than traditional PE) after a CD stint? My background is that I live in Asia and started my career at a local middle market PE firm (but didn’t get to do many deals, hence lagging behind bankers in terms of technical experience) and then moved to a regional tech VC (focusing on series A/B). I recently came to terms that I’m not that passionate about early stage startups (especially in emerging markets) and the overly qualitative nature of VC. I want to move to CD to sharpen my understanding about a lucrative industry to PE (e.g.: healthcare) and modeling skill. I also want to do Bschool in North America for the brand name and network. Would that make me more or less competitive in the eyes of global PE funds that want to invest more in APAC? Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. It should be possible to go back into PE after doing CD since you’ve already done PE and VC (even if at smaller firms). In terms of your competitiveness, I don’t think CD will help a lot if your long-term goal is PE because you’ve already had PE experience. More deals will help on the margins, but it’s not the same as it would be for someone who has literally no deal experience. A top business school would actually be more helpful for the brand/network/access to recruiters, especially since your experience has been in emerging markets so far. So, if you can afford the time/money, a top MBA would be more useful in this situation. If you simply want to return to PE, though, I don’t really think you “need” either CD or an MBA to do it. It’s more that the MBA would be useful if you want to work outside your current geography and/or at larger firms.

  5. Roy T. Diamond

    How common is it to go from Strategy (corporate/business strategy) to Corporate Development?

    After 2-4 years in Strategy, I’m trying to build a strong case for jumping into corporate development. I’ve seen corporate dev to strategy before but it seems to be more difficult the other way around. Welcome your thoughts.

    1. It is definitely more difficult this way (strategy to corp dev rather than the reverse). I don’t think it’s especially common, but it should be doable at large companies (e.g., Fortune 500) because if you can prove yourself in one area, you should have a big advantage in internal recruiting for others. You will probably need some evidence of learning accounting/valuation/financial modeling and deal analysis to do it because that will be one of their key objections.

  6. Happy to say I used this guide in helping me land a CD role straight out of undergrad at a Big Tech Fortune 50 company.

    1. Thanks! Congrats and glad to hear it.

  7. Hi Brian – how common is it for people to go from doing the traditional 2 + 2 of IB and PE and then exit to corp. dev. at a large company (with or without MBA)?

    1. It’s possible but not that common because there aren’t that many corp dev roles, and most people who work in IB/PE generally want higher compensation. But it is probably more of a demand issue than a supply one.

      1. Makes sense – but certainly doable right? I’m in a similar situation and don’t care as much about higher compensation but would like to have more free time / lower stress etc.

  8. Wanted to comment because i found this post tremendously accurate.

    Starting from the fact that for an IB any trade in terms of money is a loss, which are the best options if we exclude corporate development? I struggle to find what is the best exit opportunity, just PE, which is a softer IB way?

    CD is good. I started as an accountsnt for b4, then DD for a b4 and then valuation and modelling for a b4. From that i transitioned into a public company as a CD associate (total experience by that time 5.5 years). In terms of transitioning, i acknowledge that coming from an IB you can accelerate way easier the transition, but i think the most valuable skill this department looks for is modelling and valuation, so if you have it, you can jump from b4 into CD, although as said in the article is not the most common.

    From CD to PE would me maybe my next step, so i wanted to ask how feasible it is.

    Thanks :P

    1. Thanks. It’s possible to get into PE coming from CD, but not that common because so many bankers with deal experience are also going for those roles. But you might be able to do it if you target a specific industry or firm type that matches your experience closely. Another option might be to get into CD at a PE-owned company and move from there to the investing side.

      There isn’t really any other job that pays on par with IB/PE while also offering less stress and reduced hours. Outside of corporate development, the main other options are VC and HF roles, but VC actually doesn’t pay that well, and HF roles are quite stressful as well.

      There are other options if you’re willing to settle for lower pay and reduced hours, such as corporate banking (more of a “DCM/LevFin lite” type of role).

  9. Currently in IB tech M&A and thinking about moving into Corp dev at a large growing tech company (lyft, snapchat, zoom, etc.).

    It seems that traditional pe would be out of the question, but growth equity or vc after a Corp dev stint at one of those firms seems very very doable given the skill set of tech ib and Corp dev at a fast growing tech unicorn.


    1. Yes, agree. Traditional PE might even work depending on the firm and your previous bank.

  10. How hard is it to transition into corporate development from accounting at big 4? Is it common for people to switch from public audit roles to corporate development?

  11. Hi Brian,

    I’m looking to find sources for compensation. Would like to be better equipped when I go towards salary negotiation.

    Thank you.

    1. Sorry, I don’t have anything definitive. The data here came from previous reader interviews and some Google searches.

  12. Ahmad Ahmad

    what is the mean role of corporate development officer is it like coordinator role and it is low position in the department or something with authority ?

    1. Not really sure what you are asking, sorry. The article here explains exactly what you do in corporate development.

  13. Hi Brian,

    I’m currently working for a Fortune 100 technology company in a corporate finance role. I have an MSF (not an MBA), and am hoping to join the corporate development group in the future. I know your courses are geared primarily towards investment banking and private equity, but was wondering how applicable each would be towards corporate development in order to strengthen my modeling skills/overall knowledge and making myself a more appealing candidate (Excel and Fundamentals and/or Advanced Modeling). Would you recommend the “IB Interview Guide” to help with corporate development interviews as well given my current situation?


    1. Yes, the courses still help with corporate development roles because the modeling skills are the same. If you have little time and need to prepare ASAP, the Interview Guide is better. If you have more time (several months) and can go into the topics in more depth, the Excel & Fundamentals course is better.

  14. Hi, I’m curious as to whether it is possible for an IB associate to exit into corporate development? If so, do they typically go in at the director or manager position?

    1. Yes, it’s possible. The exact position depends on when you exit, but the Manager role is more likely because they rarely hire outsiders directly into higher-level roles. They usually only want to promote from within.

  15. Brian
    Thanks for your comprehensive write up.
    Just a side comment: I got into CD after doing stints in IB (started in DCM restructuring) before joining large commodity firm to trade commodities for them. After spending years trading for them and leaving to go back Wall Street refiners, I rejoined same firm to do CD (which has evolving roles from JV, Divestments to PE).
    Fully agree that hours are better, compensation not comparable to IBs but it’s really work life balance that only one can decide for him/herself.
    Good platform to get visibility but expect lots of internal politics
    For new grads – it’s pretty rare for direct CD as transaction experience is usually preferred

    1. Thanks for adding that, glad to hear your experiences match up.

  16. Hello,
    I’m Elie Ngoie. I’m trying to download the 57 pages ebook about investment banking but it doesn’t work.
    I’m being asked for a valid email address while i have provided one.

  17. Hello,
    I’m Elie Ngoie. I’m trying to download the 57 pages ebook about investment banking but it doesn’t work.

    1. Please contact us at to get this – we’ve been having email deliverability issues lately.

  18. I am in the interview process for a CD role. I have been given a take home case study asking to create a
    small business plan for a partnership with another company. I have been given some information on the company and the market but no historical financial information. I have searched the site for how to approach this, but was wondering if there’s a best way to do so.

    1. We don’t have much on partnerships or joint ventures here. It’s an interesting topic, but a bit too specialized for us and outside the core subjects.

      Partnerships are usually based on some type of revenue and expense sharing agreement if certain performance goals are met. So… maybe look at the market data, figure out what kind of growth rates might be reasonable in the first few years, and then estimate sales based on Units Sold * Average Prices, and propose revenue splits as the partners reach certain goals.

      Beyond that, I can’t say much because it depends on the details of this specific market and the companies.

  19. In terms of the exit opportunities, Is CD experience usually discounted for IB?
    Also if one wanted to skip IB altogether and aim for PE how would you recommend prepping other than networking (I.e. should they be doing LBO models and investing in stocks in their own time etc.) – otherwise from the article it sounds like the only missing knowledge gap is on the ‘ownership of deals’

    1. Yes, it’s discounted a bit because bankers perceive anything outside IB/PE to be “lesser.” But the skill set is still very relevant, so CD professionals often do get into IB.

      If you want to aim for PE roles directly, yes, you need to practice with modeling tests, forming investment theses, taking strong views on deals, etc., but the main problem is networking and gaining access because PE recruiting is extremely heavily slanted toward students who attended top universities and worked at the top banks. You will probably have to spend 90% of your time networking and 10% of your time preparing to have a good shot. That means looking for smaller/newer funds, finding professionals at them on LinkedIn, and being very aggressive with your outreach. Recruiters won’t be super useful here unless you happen to find one who’s looking for CD professionals.

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