There are no jobs in finance other than investment banking.
Most people who get a finance degree do not end up becoming investment bankers, despite practically everyone putting it down as their first choice.
Many students make the mistake of going investment banking or bust and never realize that they never wanted that job anyway and do not have anything lined up after school.
It is much harder to find a job when you have a job, so even if you still want to join investment banking after starting in a finance job at a Fortune 500, you will have a far easier time getting in (with relevant experience).
These are very well paying jobs and far easier to apply for because everyone is applying for jobs at investment banks. It is also easier to network for (corporate development staff do not get 100 annoying emails for coffees a day from undergraduate investment banking zealots) and you do not have to say that you only want to do treasury because no one will believe that you have a lifelong ambition to work as a treasury analyst.
So as a second, third or final year student, go on Google and LinkedIn and look for people in corporate development, corporate strategy, treasury, investor relations and financial planning and analysis/budgeting.
In larger corporates, each of these will be separate divisions reporting up to the CFO (they may even have an Office of the CFO or Office of the CIO or Office of the CEO). In smaller corporations, all of these functions may be done by one guy.
The base salaries of all of these jobs tend to be similar – the larger or more prestigious the organization, the higher they will tend to be. The base salaries will be from $40,000 to $80,000, usually, with bonuses from $0 to $20,000. Finance and tech firms will also pay more, all things equal.
The catch is that while investment banking promotions are based on an up-or-out culture (2 years analyst, 3 years associate, 3 years VP, 3 years Director, Managing Director), corporates are much slower for career progression. This is why it makes a lot of sense to start at an investment bank even if you see yourself at a corporate long term so that you are not a 7 year treasury analyst.
Also, the VP role at an investment bank is a middle management role. A Vice President, SVP or EVP role at a corporate is very senior and equivalent to a managing director or above (and equally well compensated, usually).
What Do You Do in Corporate Development or Business Development
A simple way to describe the CorpDev team is an internal M&A division. It should be no surprise that qualified corporate development teams are led predominantly by ex-investment bankers.
Corporate development teams maintain the corporate model and look at potential acquisitions and combinations. They may also look at what to divest and run the same analysis as investment bankers. Obviously the lens that they are looking from is biased towards conservatism as they are the ones making the purchase.
This would be different than a private equity shop because corporate development looks at acquisitions based on how a target company would fit in the broader corporate. A private equity shop would look at the IRR (corp dev may also look at IRR).
All companies have their own investment philosophies, and this view tends to come from the top. Using the corporate model, the corporate development team may also see if it is better to build or buy (organic versus inorganic growth).
What Do You Do in Corporate Strategy
Sometimes the corporate strategy team is lumped together with CorpDev. In strategy, many employees are ex-management consultants/strategy consultants from firms such as MBB.
Strategy would inform corporate development on what sort of companies they are looking to acquire based on what direction the corporate wants to go. It will look at markets that it should address, map out the market opportunity and show to the board of directors in board meetings.
They will do this using a data driven approach and are increasingly adopting data and trend analysis software such as Alteryx to make decisions (similar to McKinsey/Bain/Boston Consulting Group).
What Do You Do in Corporate Treasury?
Treasury is in charge of money coming in and out of the company. They usually deal with the corporate banks and will be looking at the company’s weighted average cost of capital.
They will interface with the investment bank’s DCM and ECM teams and will also work with the investment bank/corporate bank’s cash management team for deposits and short term borrowing. They may also be the point of contact for the short dated paper divisions of the banks which may involve commercial paper.
Swaps and derivatives are also in the purview of this division. There are extensive treasury articles on this website.
What Do You Do in Investor Relations?
Investor relations is in charge of those glossy presentations in the investor section of corporate websites (although sometimes those are outsourced to investment bankers). Investor relations is the company’s bridge to the investor community. The IR team will also be in charge of management presentations.
They work closely with debt and equity investors in clarifying what the firm does and where it is going (which should be taken with a grain of salt).
As an investor relations professional, you need to analyse relative stock movements and look at where the company is trading relative to its peers in order to see where the market perceives the company’s positioning.
For earnings calls, the IR team will usually set this up and also arrange for the dial-ins and logistics. For most investors with questions about how they should model the company and think about the strategy, they can contact the IR representatives who will have their email addresses and phone numbers on the website.
Usually, equity research analysts will interface with the IR guys for their modeling assumptions offline (after the calls) to get clarity.
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