4 Key Skills of Corporate M&A Professionals (According to them) [Survey]

What are the core skills that Corporate Development and M&A professionals need to be successful?

In our previous articles, we covered how Corporate M&A professionals collaborate internally, and how they originate deals.

In today’s article, we’ll focus on the core skills for Corporate M&A professionals.

We surveyed 200+ buy-side Corporate Development professionals, from associate to Senior VP level, with a simple question: “What’s the most important skillset for Corporate M&A?”

The answers resulted in a solid set of 4 core skills that our community thinks as the most important for today’s Corporate M&A professionals.

Core Skill #4: Technical skills & valuation

Technical and analytical skills were mentioned, but more as a necessity than as an important core skill. You have to be able to do the groundwork, but it isn’t your #1 priority.

Most deals fail because of overpayment and/or improper integration planning and execution.

15% of Corporate M&A professionals mentioned technical skills and valuation as a core skill for Corporate M&A

Core Skill #3: Interpersonal skills and stakeholder management

The understanding for different business lines is key to build internal alignment.

20% of Corporate M&A professionals mentioned interpersonal skills as a key skill.

What’s surprising is that these skills were not mentioned for negotiation purposes, but to connect the dots with internal stakeholders.

Stakeholder management is a key skill for Corporate M&A professionals to “make the most out of all opportunities”.

Depending on the part of the process, both social abilities and technical abilities are required to excel in CorpDev.

Core Skill #2: Project management

My experience in a large organisation required significant project management skills and a good understanding of the different business lines

Especially large deals can create an overwhelming flow of information.

Managing these projects accordingly is a key strength for successful Corporate M&A professionals.

Core Skill #1: Strategic integration: Seeing the big picture

It’s easy to get pulled away by the details, as one respondent described:

Being able to constantly take a step back to check the big picture and the rationale to prevent from being absorb by the flow and flooded by the details.

A surprisingly large number of professionals described this skill as creativity:

M&A requires a creative mind, focused on what could be rather than what is.

Over 65% of respondents named the ability to view a deal from a holistic angle as the core skill for M&A professionals.

It’s by far the most complex skillset required, as it combines a deep understanding for the business with timing, and a constant desire to evaluate the rationale behind a deal.

On top of this, it’s crucial for successful post-merger integration to combine the big picture with internal stakeholders, and realize the value

Read the previous editions of our survey here:

Inside M&A: From Origination to Execution [Survey]

Inside M&A: How Corporate M&A Leaders collaborate inside their organization [Survey]

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