From Two Large Corporations to a Boutique Firm
This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Gyda Sumadi ’18.
All of my internship experiences have consisted of working for large corporations, ones with many satellite offices and international locations. The first corporation I worked for was Dunkin’ Brands, this was my introduction to the 9am to 5pm lifestyle, the rows of cubicles, and getting lost in the building trying to find the finance department. Next, I ventured to the headquarters of Boston Scientific, whose office was bigger than my college campus. To give you an idea of the size of this office, there was a company bank and hair salon on site. It took me a while to find my car in the parking lot when it was time to head home.
Both of these experiences were very exciting. There are a lot of benefits to working for a large corporation. One of the most relevant perks for us students is the established intern programs. In most cases, you will not be the only intern in the department because larger corporations really value interns and the work they provide. From my experience, large companies use interns to spearhead projects their full time employees have not had the time to implement. So, all the projects are relevant and valued. The presence of other interns allows you to make friends from other schools and you feel part of a community. Having a program coordinated for you also adds a little fun during the day as there are a number of scheduled intern events to facilitate networking, team-bonding, and often times the opportunity to meet the executive team. I am thankful to both Dunkin’ Brands and Boston Scientific for valuing my time and input. Other benefits that large corporations can provide is career mobility within the company, established mentorship programs, rotational opportunities, etc.
So, why did I title this blog From Two Large Corporations to a Boutique Firm? Well, it turns out despite my positive experiences working for large corporations, I wanted to try a shot at working for the opposite extreme. Rather than coming to work expecting to see thousands of people in the hallways, I decided to switch gears to collaborating with a small handful of individuals. My most recent internship is with VDC Research, a boutique technology research and consulting firm. There are less than 20 employees and I can definitely recognize my car when I leave the office.
However, I would argue that these experiences are not extremely different. VDC Research does indeed have an intern program; the only difference is rather than having 40 interns, there is 4 of us. VDC has me working in the most relevant areas of technology and I am an active member in producing their syndicated reports, which accounts for 80% of their business. As you can see, I am given equally as impactful work at VDC as I was given at Dunkin’ and Boston Scientific.
At all three companies I have felt included, valued, and part of a community. One would think that in a large company no one knows each other by name or says “Good Morning” to their cubicle neighbors. One would think there isn’t any cross-functionality, or team lunches, or face time with higher executives. For this reasons, people opt to work for smaller companies. Then there is the opposite opinion where people think small companies will not provide them with enough mobility, or the work will not impact a large pool of people, or that you will get bored seeing the same small group of people daily. All valid concerns on both spectrums, but all company dependent.
My experiences have proven this wrong; but, as I previously said these are company dependent issues. I have been privileged to work for companies where none of these common issues were a concern of mine. Dunkin’, Boston Scientific and VDC Research have all offered me a welcoming atmosphere, cross-functionality, face time with senior management, impactful projects, and have over all made me feel valued.
My personal recommendation, when deciding to work at any company, is to not focus so much on size but rather if the company has a history of maintaining qualities you deem valuable.