There is no single path to becoming an acquisitions manager, and the requirements depend largely on the industry in which you work. Businesses employing acquisitions managers include corporations, government agencies, and military divisions. This can be an executive position, so candidates typically need years of experience to become an acquisitions manager. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is usually required, and a master’s degree adds greater advantage.
You will likely need a minimum of five years of experience, and sometimes up to 10 years, before you can become an acquisitions manager. Career ladder positions include assistants or junior managers within the acquisitions or purchasing department. Other stepping-stone jobs include purchasing managers, buyers, contract negotiators, and financial program supervisors or managers.
Experience alone will not help you become an acquisitions manager. A college degree is standard for management jobs working with acquisitions. Some companies prefer a bachelor’s degree in business, but accounting, finance, marketing, and liberal arts are also acceptable. High-level positions frequently require a master’s degree in acquisition management, business, finance, or contract law.
Depending on where you work, responsibilities can range from purchasing supplies to buying or merging with another company. Military agencies offer opportunities for a career in acquisitions management, where duties include supply acquisition and procuring ordnance. Special certification and testing may be needed for promotion in government or military jobs, and there is often a defined career ladder.
A corporate acquisitions manager is a high-ranking executive tasked with the job of identifying companies to purchase and then coordinating the buy-out or merger. If your goal is to become an acquisitions manager for a large corporation, plan on at least 10 to 15 years of experience. A master’s degree in acquisition management or business is highly recommended for work in corporate mergers.
Special training and certification may boost you above the competition when trying to become an acquisitions manager. Being a certified public accountant (CPA) can help with a career in acquisitions. Instruction in negotiating and the legal aspects of mergers and acquisitions may beneficial in this complex field.
Join associations and attend conferences and seminars to meet and network with industry colleagues. Industry-focused training can help you learn and understand the world of mergers and acquisitions. This industry is about making deals and negotiating contracts. The more tricks you have in your bag, the more valuable you are to potential employers.
Having a career in acquisitions management requires a certain skill set and personality. You should be naturally persuasive and able to communicate easily and expertly. Good judgment and sound decision-making skills are vital, especially as you move up the ladder to corporate mergers and acquisitions.