Corporate Development (Corp Dev)

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

What Is Corporate Development?

Corporate Development Definition: 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.

Corporate development teams 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 difference is that you work at one single company and contribute to that company’s growth over the long term rather than advising many clients.

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 is sometimes possible, especially at startups and younger companies without well-established CD teams.

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


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

Corporate Development Salaries and Bonuses

Corp Dev roles vary widely, making exact salary comparisons difficult between job titles difficult.

But 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.

If you work at a smaller company, expect to earn less, and if you’re outside of cities such as New York, London, or Hong Kong, you should also expect to earn less.

Finally, note that like most other finance jobs, corporate development tends to pay the most in the U.S. – compensation is lower across the board in most European countries, for example.

Corporate Development Training Courses

Most corporate development professionals work in investment banking before entering the industry, so the IB skill set is highly relevant here.

Even if you have not worked in investment banking, CD teams expect you to have similar skills when you interview for these roles: accounting, 3-statement modeling, valuation, M&A and LBO models, and the Excel and PowerPoint know-how to facilitate all of these.

And if you get a case study in a CD interview, it will almost certainly be in one of these categories, similar to the case studies that banks give to lateral recruits.

Therefore, we recommend similar courses and packages as we do for investment banking roles:

  • Excel & VBA – Get up to speed quickly on the most important shortcuts, commands, and formulas
  • Core Financial Modeling – Good preparation for both interviews and internships, as it focuses on the concepts and shorter case studies
  • BIWS Premium – Ideal for “on the job” prep since it bundles the Core Financial Modeling course with Excel and PowerPoint training
  • BIWS Platinum – Our entire collection of courses, all for a deep discount off the regular price
Excel & VBA (BIWS)
Core Financial Modeling (BIWS)
Corporate Development (Corp Dev)
Investment Banking