Traditionally, corporate development professionals come from banking roles. And while nothing is wrong with that, it is always fascinating to hear other ways that professionals start their careers in M&A. Sharing his career development in M&A is Caleb Shafer, Corporate Development Associate at Electrocomponents plc.
“Corporate development is about having a strategic view of where you are today and where you want to go, identifying what those gaps are, and being proactive about it.” - Caleb Shafer
Caleb is a newly graduated college student with an Industrial Distribution Degree. He started his internship as a developer of value-added solutions for a company. During Caleb’s time there, he exceeded expectations and caught the attention of the Vice President of Corporate Development. He was instantly recruited to source M&A targets for the company.
After a successful internship, Caleb was recruited to be a part of the newly built Integration Management Office. While Caleb was extremely happy to be a part of something strategic, the IMO function was a bit too rigid for him. Caleb wanted a place where he could express his creativity, so he transferred to a corporate development analyst role where he is currently happy and thriving.
One of the most important skills to have in M&A is gray-zone leadership. It starts with empathy, being able to understand the people, processes, and systems that are at play in order to detect the underlying problems, be able to answer questions, and find solutions.
Recognize your own strengths and find a way to use them to help people on your team. Being able to anticipate the needs of stakeholders is the key to success.
For aspiring practitioners - believe that anything is possible and no opportunity is out of reach. Show how much value you can add to the organization by being proactive.
When practicing grayzone leadership, find a way to strengthen the organization and not your own personal gain. Do your best to make heroes out of every individual around you, because that's what it means to be a part of a team.