Private Equity Business Development Directors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Business development directors must be excellent communicators, so you should take as many English and speech classes as possible to build these skills. Psychology classes will help you to understand human behavior—which might give you an edge when sizing up new contacts. Other important courses include business, economics, computer science, and marketing.

Postsecondary Education

Business development directors typically have degrees in business, finance, accounting, marketing, or sales, but people in this career come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Many firms prefer BDDs with master’s degrees in business administration. While in college, be sure to take classes that focus on private equity and other alternative investments. Some schools, such as Northwestern University, offer a specialized academic track in private equity and venture capital. Courses in Northwestern’s private equity track include Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital; M&As, LBOs, and Corporate Restructuring; Strategic Decisions in Operations; and a Private Equity Lab. The London School of Economics and Political Science offers a master’s degree in private equity.

Other Education or Training

The Sales Management Association offers webinars, workshops, and classes that might be useful to business development professionals. Past offerings included "Sales Simulations: An Emerging Platform Poised for Explosive Growth," "Designing Effective Sales Processes," and "Compensating Recurring Sales." Contact the association for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

No certification or licensing is available for business development directors. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Business development directors need five to 10 years of experience in lower-level business development or sales positions.

To be successful in this career, you need excellent sales, communication, and interpersonal skills. You should have drive and determination and be a self-starter, organized, and able to work independently. Proficiency in the use of customer relationship management software, a comprehensive knowledge of private equity funding, and, ideally, a strong contact list of potential investors are also important for success.