Maarten De Jeu On Starting A Career In Corporate Development

Maarten De Jeu On Starting A Career In Corporate Development

August 12, 2019 21 By Stephen Callahan

One interesting career choice that still seems to be shrouded in mystery is corporate development. It certainly sounds intriguing to many leadership-prone people who are interested in a career in the corporate world. Some people assume that it comes with relaxed hours, very little hard work and a high salary. However, many people who are familiar with the career say that these professionals are underpaid for their hard work. To better determine if corporate development is the right career path, it is important to fully understand what it is, the benefits, the drawbacks and what to expect. This is Maarten De Jeu’s advice for prospective corporate development professionals.

What Is Corporate Development?

Corporate development involves the establishment of important relationships within a large company. It may include internal partnerships, joint ventures, divestitures or acquisitions. Deals that come from this type of development are arranged by hard-working individuals who have extensive industry knowledge. To be successful, corporate development projects demand both short-term and long-term vision. Corporate development restructuring projects are usually planned and executed with the goal of scaling a company.

What Do Corporate Development Professionals Do?

A considerable part of a corporate development professional’s day is spent doing research. These professionals conduct extensive industry research to map out various markets. With smaller corporations, professionals may not have routine days. There may be random tasks and a lot of sourcing work. Sourcing involves finding companies in the target market that may be compatible candidates for deals. Additionally, it involves finding companies that are willing to deal. Many of the tasks are tied to developing corporate strategies. For those who are involved in Fortune 100 companies, the majority of the day is spent on mergers and acquisitions. Post-deal integration tasks are often part of the daily list of work duties as well.

Working with a small or large company can be rewarding for a person who wants to stay with a business for a long time. Although some of the time is spent making and arranging deals, a good portion of the time is spent analyzing those deals. Analyzing partners, suppliers and other connected parties is important. After this, there is also the process of creating financial projections. Cash flow, expense, revenue and other projections are critical for the success of the deal. Payment terms, revenue sharing and other figures can be complex and demand precision.

A corporate development professional’s job does not stop when a deal is finished. This is especially true with mergers and acquisitions. Since bringing together two companies or entities can cause problematic friction, there are many important tasks that professionals perform to make the transition smoother. Team building, education and performance monitoring are important to ensure that the merged company performs well after the deal.

Benefits of a Corporate Development Career

For most people who work in corporate development, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. These are the main benefits for people who choose a career in corporate development.

It offers a good balance between work and personal life. Although the hours can be long when a deal is ready to be wrapped up, the hours are not always tedious. Those times are nicely balanced by slower times with fewer hours of work. This is especially beneficial for professionals who have families.

It offers the opportunity to work with executives. Building a good rapport with executives can be beneficial in many aspects. They make excellent references for professional resumes, they may help facilitate advancement and they may be more receptive to ideas from people they know.

It offers an attractive culture and favorable work. For those who enjoy stability in a job, corporate development is rewarding. In comparison to many other work cultures of similar career paths in the industry, corporate development is more relaxed. This is beneficial to people who value the mental and physical health benefits of reduced stress.

Drawbacks of a Corporate Development Career

Like any career, corporate development comes with some potentially negative effects. However, some of the disadvantages can bring advantageous changes later. These are the three main drawbacks.

Advancement can be slow. While this is a good long-term career, it takes time to advance and earn a higher salary. However, this does not mean that advancement is slow in every case. Some people have quick advancement opportunities within their companies or across merged divisions.

There are not many job openings. Entering the world of corporate development can be tricky. However, for those who lack the proper background for a career in finance, a corporate development job can provide a strong foundation for entering high finance in the future.

The salary may not suit all professionals. In comparison with IB and PE roles, the salary is much lower. However, there is the potential to earn more with future advancement.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate for a Corporate Development Career?

Those who like long-term careers and enjoy both organizing and executing deals are ideal candidates for this career path. Since advancement and salary growth are slower, this career is good for someone who values family time or personal time as highly as professional advancement. Being able to establish and maintain good relationships with other professionals, departments and firms is an essential talent to have for this career. Also, clear communication is essential.

Since there are often multiple deadlines and projects to juggle, a high level of organization is important. Corporate development professionals work with a wide range of people from different cultures, countries and industries. For this reason, it is important to be conscientious and mindful of cultural differences. Having good problem-solving skills is also a helpful asset. For those who embrace challenges instead of fear them, this may be a rewarding career choice.

As someone who enjoys the world of corporate development, Maarten De Jeu encourages people who are interested in this path to research it more. If interest grows after that, prospective corporate development professionals should look for ways to enter the industry. Since there are not a lot of open positions, job seekers must be patient. When recruiters look for candidates, they look for individuals who have verifiable experience in handling joint ventures, mergers or other deals. Also, they want experienced professionals who are comfortable carrying out deals on their own. One important piece of advice to remember is to network extensively. Although recruiters exist, most job interviews are secured through professional connections.

About Maarten De Jeu

Maarten_de_Jeu_HeadshotMaarten De Jeu was born and raised in the Netherlands, and he speaks four languages. His current home is in Chicago. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. While Maarten De Jeu was a student, he ranked first in his class and earned a prize for the most outstanding achievements. His specialty for his MBA was in finance.

As a strategic business adviser, Maarten De Jeu started SVM Business Advisory in 2012. His knowledge spans multiple industries, and he is especially versed in financial services, commercial real estate investments and international business. His global business experience includes operations in Europe, North America and Asia. During his career, he developed a deep understanding of various cultures and types of institutions. In addition to SVM, Maarten De Jeu co-founded SpeakUp, which is a compliance and ethics solution provider for public companies in Europe.

Maarten De Jeu advises Fortune 100 senior executives, wealthy individuals and several types of startups. He is especially known for his ability to guide participants through each step of development projects, and his ability to teach people how to make critical decisions is what makes him notable to many entities. He helps companies build stronger multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams. Before he launched his own business, Maarten De Jeu worked for several other notable firms. He held the titles of director of strategy and corporate development, international strategy manager and consultant. While he worked with those companies, he was instrumental in facilitating several high-profile deals between famous brands.

When he is not working, Maarten De Jeu spends time with his family, plays tennis and participates in community projects in the Chicago area. The Dean’s International Council at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are the organizations that he works with the most.


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