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5 Best Corporate Development Courses and Training (2023)

Kison Patel
CEO and Founder of DealRoom
Kison Patel

Kison Patel is the Founder and CEO of DealRoom, a Chicago-based diligence management software that uses Agile principles to innovate and modernize the finance industry. As a former M&A advisor with over a decade of experience, Kison developed DealRoom after seeing first hand a number of deep-seated, industry-wide structural issues and inefficiencies.

CEO and Founder of DealRoom

For people that are passionate about M&A but cannot spend sixty hours a week at their desk in the investment bank, corporate development can offer an antidote as a career.

The M&A specialist within a medium- or large-tier company can usually enjoy many of the same day-to-day activities as an investment banker without the furious pace and the sometimes cut-throat levels of competition.

Best Corporate Development Courses List

  1. M&A Science Corporate Development Suite
  2. Columbia Business School: Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)
  3. Stanford Executive Education: Mergers and Acquisitions
  4. University of Illinois: Finance of Mergers and Acquisitions
  5. Yale University: Introduction to Negotiation

1. M&A Science Academy Corporate Development Courses

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: $150/month (paid annually)

Link(s): Building Corporate Development

How Corporate Development Sources Deals

Sourcing/Strategy

M&A Science offers a comprehensive set of courses to suit whatever part of the M&A spectrum you’re most interested in. The three we’ve outlined above are what we believe best suit somebody looking to brush up on corporate development before an interview or career move. Students learn at their own pace, taught by seasoned professionals who share expert advice about the nuances of each part of M&A.

The best part about this course is its thoroughness and that it’s constantly being added to. Want to dive deeper into a different part of M&A such as valuations or due diligence? No problem, it’s all here. The idea is, that by the time you’re finished, you won’t just be closely acquainted with the workings of corporate development, you’ll feel you’ve already had a headstart on anybody else in the department.

2. Columbia Business School: Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)

Certification: Certificate of participation

Price: $3,700.

Link: Access the course here

This fully online course offered by Columbia University over 9 weeks aims to enable students to strategize and execute deals. In addition to providing students with good networking opportunities and ability to leverage the Columbia brand, this course addresses key questions such as: “Will an M&A transaction add value?”, “What is the target worth?”, “What role does valuation play in M&A?” and “What does the M&A process look like?”

The course’s nine modules, each lasting 3-4 hours, have been structured to build on the previous week’s learnings. Examples of the earlier modules include ‘introduction to M&A’ and ‘strategic and practical considerations of M&A’ before ramping up to heavier topics such as ‘merger agreements and sell-side alternatives’ and ‘takeover defense and financial perspectives.’ An excellent course

3. Stanford Executive Education: Mergers and Acquisitions

Certification: N/A

Price: $14,500.

This intensive one-week long in-person course at Stanford isn’t cheap, but for those that have never worked in the corporate development sphere before, it offers a broad-based introduction to the field. Students are presented with a mixture of lectures, case studies, classroom discussions, and guest speakers. Best of all for novices, unlike many courses at the executive level, previous experience in M&A is not required.

Course topics include M&A tax planning, post-merger integration, and financial valuation and strategy. Students are also divided into groups and given case studies based on real life M&A transactions, where they are challenged to make investment theses, valuations, and conduct due diligence. The networking opportunities are also outstanding, with a typical class mix comprising executives from across the five continents.

4. University of Illinois: Finance of Mergers and Acquisitions

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: Free

Link(s): Access the course here

This course, which is one of six in the University of Illinois’s M&A Specialization on Coursera, is an excellent jumping off point for anybody interested in a career in corporate development. While many looking to enter the field will know their company, its strategy, and its industry quite well, the financial component of M&A can be highly challenging for those without a background in accounting or finance.

Students are taken through various valuation methods, and can complement their studies with practice quizzes, course videos and learning materials, and graded assignments with peer feedback. This particular component of the M&A course takes approximately four hours to complete, with the complete course taking approximately 18 hours. Definitely one to consider for those on a budget and wondering whether corporate development might be the way to go.

5. Yale University: Introduction to Negotiation

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: Free

Link(s): Access the course here

Although not strictly a corporate development-themed course, this fully online Yale University course (full title: Introduction to Negotiation: a strategic playbook for becoming a principled and persuasive negotiator) would be a useful addition to the armory of any aspiring corporate development professional. Whether it’s with internal or external stakeholders, in corporate development, you’re going to have to know how to negotiate well.

The course takes an estimated 33 hours to complete, which is a good indication of its completeness, and includes 11 fascinating modules that include case studies, video lectures from management gurus, and additional reading materials. Essentially, the course will be useful for everyone whether or not they land a position in corporate development. Well worth the time invested.

Summary

Given the range of courses available online and in-person, there’s no excuse to approach the corporate development interview without preparing with a course.

From our perspective, the best option for most students would be to combine M&A’ Science's corporate development suite (enabling students to dip into other areas as they require) with one of Illinois’s valuations course (providing background on valuations) and the Yale negotiation course.  

Additional Resources

How to Get Into Corporate Development (Story by VP Corp Dev)

How to Evolve Your Corporate Development Function (Pro Tips)

How to Create Corporate Development Acquisition Strategies

Corporate Development Software & Solutions - DealRoom.net

For people that are passionate about M&A but cannot spend sixty hours a week at their desk in the investment bank, corporate development can offer an antidote as a career.

The M&A specialist within a medium- or large-tier company can usually enjoy many of the same day-to-day activities as an investment banker without the furious pace and the sometimes cut-throat levels of competition.

Best Corporate Development Courses List

  1. M&A Science Corporate Development Suite
  2. Columbia Business School: Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)
  3. Stanford Executive Education: Mergers and Acquisitions
  4. University of Illinois: Finance of Mergers and Acquisitions
  5. Yale University: Introduction to Negotiation

1. M&A Science Academy Corporate Development Courses

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: $150/month (paid annually)

Link(s): Building Corporate Development

How Corporate Development Sources Deals

Sourcing/Strategy

M&A Science offers a comprehensive set of courses to suit whatever part of the M&A spectrum you’re most interested in. The three we’ve outlined above are what we believe best suit somebody looking to brush up on corporate development before an interview or career move. Students learn at their own pace, taught by seasoned professionals who share expert advice about the nuances of each part of M&A.

The best part about this course is its thoroughness and that it’s constantly being added to. Want to dive deeper into a different part of M&A such as valuations or due diligence? No problem, it’s all here. The idea is, that by the time you’re finished, you won’t just be closely acquainted with the workings of corporate development, you’ll feel you’ve already had a headstart on anybody else in the department.

2. Columbia Business School: Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)

Certification: Certificate of participation

Price: $3,700.

Link: Access the course here

This fully online course offered by Columbia University over 9 weeks aims to enable students to strategize and execute deals. In addition to providing students with good networking opportunities and ability to leverage the Columbia brand, this course addresses key questions such as: “Will an M&A transaction add value?”, “What is the target worth?”, “What role does valuation play in M&A?” and “What does the M&A process look like?”

The course’s nine modules, each lasting 3-4 hours, have been structured to build on the previous week’s learnings. Examples of the earlier modules include ‘introduction to M&A’ and ‘strategic and practical considerations of M&A’ before ramping up to heavier topics such as ‘merger agreements and sell-side alternatives’ and ‘takeover defense and financial perspectives.’ An excellent course

3. Stanford Executive Education: Mergers and Acquisitions

Certification: N/A

Price: $14,500.

This intensive one-week long in-person course at Stanford isn’t cheap, but for those that have never worked in the corporate development sphere before, it offers a broad-based introduction to the field. Students are presented with a mixture of lectures, case studies, classroom discussions, and guest speakers. Best of all for novices, unlike many courses at the executive level, previous experience in M&A is not required.

Course topics include M&A tax planning, post-merger integration, and financial valuation and strategy. Students are also divided into groups and given case studies based on real life M&A transactions, where they are challenged to make investment theses, valuations, and conduct due diligence. The networking opportunities are also outstanding, with a typical class mix comprising executives from across the five continents.

4. University of Illinois: Finance of Mergers and Acquisitions

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: Free

Link(s): Access the course here

This course, which is one of six in the University of Illinois’s M&A Specialization on Coursera, is an excellent jumping off point for anybody interested in a career in corporate development. While many looking to enter the field will know their company, its strategy, and its industry quite well, the financial component of M&A can be highly challenging for those without a background in accounting or finance.

Students are taken through various valuation methods, and can complement their studies with practice quizzes, course videos and learning materials, and graded assignments with peer feedback. This particular component of the M&A course takes approximately four hours to complete, with the complete course taking approximately 18 hours. Definitely one to consider for those on a budget and wondering whether corporate development might be the way to go.

5. Yale University: Introduction to Negotiation

Certification: Certification of completion

Price: Free

Link(s): Access the course here

Although not strictly a corporate development-themed course, this fully online Yale University course (full title: Introduction to Negotiation: a strategic playbook for becoming a principled and persuasive negotiator) would be a useful addition to the armory of any aspiring corporate development professional. Whether it’s with internal or external stakeholders, in corporate development, you’re going to have to know how to negotiate well.

The course takes an estimated 33 hours to complete, which is a good indication of its completeness, and includes 11 fascinating modules that include case studies, video lectures from management gurus, and additional reading materials. Essentially, the course will be useful for everyone whether or not they land a position in corporate development. Well worth the time invested.

Summary

Given the range of courses available online and in-person, there’s no excuse to approach the corporate development interview without preparing with a course.

From our perspective, the best option for most students would be to combine M&A’ Science's corporate development suite (enabling students to dip into other areas as they require) with one of Illinois’s valuations course (providing background on valuations) and the Yale negotiation course.  

Additional Resources

How to Get Into Corporate Development (Story by VP Corp Dev)

How to Evolve Your Corporate Development Function (Pro Tips)

How to Create Corporate Development Acquisition Strategies

Corporate Development Software & Solutions - DealRoom.net

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