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What are the differences between CDD and VDD with regards to Due Diligence?

Due Diligence
New answer on Dec 26, 2021
4 Answers
6.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Dec 24, 2021


May I know what are the differences between CDD and VDD with regards to Due Diligence?

Thank you.

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replied on Dec 24, 2021
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

In both cases you are providing an assessment of the market and of the competitive position of the company in that market. While there are potential differences in the type of content and scope (read my last paragraph), the major difference is in the process. 

The biggest differences are:

  • Access and interaction with the company's management
  • Data sources (more internal vs. more external)
  • Expert use
  • Schedule flexibility

CDD: you have a limited number of touch points with the management and they won't have access to whatever you are writing in your report. You will have lower access to their data (other than the company's financials), and will resort to a large number of expert interviews to understand the market and competition. Usually the project is shorter and with a fixed deadline (i.e., no ability to extend).

VDD, you have significant access to the management team. You can have regular calls to understand their business and they may be the starting point to understand the market and competition, as well as company's positioning and strategy. You will resort to experts as well, of course, but mostly to confirm that information. You may also have access to their clients in calls arranged by them (this can also happen in a CDD, but more frequent here).

Since they are your client, you will always present your findings before you issue the report and as such provide them with the opportunity to address any red flag or relevant risk you identify. You never do this in a CDD. So this means they have a better opportunity to positively influence your conclusions. The project usually takes a bit longer (i.e., 1 extra week) because they are gathering information on their side for the first time and it is also more intensive on their side. Moreover, they need time to read thoroughly your report and gather additional information if they think that is necessary in order to help presenting their case in a better light. If necessary, they can slightly extend the scheduling.

In both cases you are independent. But in a VDD, the company has a stronger ability to make their case. Of course, in a CDD you will usually start by looking into the VDD and then challenge it.

Having said this, in some instances the CDD is actually testing a very specific investment thesis (e.g. can they be successful if they enter XYZ market? can you do a deep dive on a specific narrow topic?) I.e., in some cases you have multiple CDDs on a company, and the first one is more or less what I described above (overall market and company) and there's an overlap between the CDD and VDD, but then in the subsequent DDs you start working on topics that weren't yet addressed by any DD.

Hope this helps!

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Content Creator
replied on Dec 24, 2021
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • From my own experience within Bain's PEG (private equity group), for the operational team, there hardly is any difference since the core activity is still making a judgement on the investment thesis of the PE fund.
  • For the (senior) leadership of the consulting company, however, there seems to be more need for tactical discussions on how to best present as a vendor.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on private equity consulting, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Dec 25, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Pedro has already given a fantastic answer here.

I also highly recommend you 1) Do a google search (there are some great explanations across company websites, forums, etc.) and 2) Network within the company to better understand how they handle each.

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Content Creator
replied on Dec 26, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

+1 Pedro, nothing to add there!

When it comes to preparing DD cases, however, the difference is neglectable, since most cases focus on synergy calculations and risks. 



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