SBDC: Finding the right internships

SBDC Internship

Published: October 30, 2015

Small Business Development Correspondent

Finding the right internship can be tricky. With so many different opportunities out there, it can be hard to figure out which one will be the perfect fit for you. In her article, Lily Herman addresses one of the main questions students have when applying for internships: “Is it better to work for a big company or a small one?”

When working for a big company, one of the biggest advantages is name recognition. When you mention that you work at a certain company, people in your field will immediately recognize it. When applying for a full-time job, it could boost your chances and help with your future career path. Another advantage of working for a big company is stability. When working for a large company, it is likely to have a well-defined internship program and lots of networking opportunities.

Although there are many advantages to working for a big company, there are some disadvantages as well, one of them being bureaucracy. Often times, the work that you do will have to go through long processes of revisions and authorizations before it is used, if it even is used. You might not be given as many responsibilities as you would like, and you might not be able to work to your full potential. Big companies also often lack personalization. You could end up feeling lost among the numerous other interns and employees, and you might end up feeling that your work is overlooked.

When working for a small company, lack of personalization is not a problem. Small companies offer students the opportunity to really build skills and demonstrate expertise in their area of interest. Since you are working in a smaller environment, it is easier to get the help that you need and to get answers to any questions you might have. Another advantage of working for a small company is that you do lots of meaningful work. Small companies give you the opportunity to work one-on-one with the owner or department head and create useful work. These people can also be great mentors to you and help you expand your skill set.

However, just like with any job, there are some disadvantages to working for a small company. Sometimes, students can feel overwhelmed with the amount of different hats they wear. It might be hard to identify what your actual job is because you are involved with many different aspects of the company. Sometimes, students have also found the work environment a little too personal. Since you are only working with a small number of people, there tends to be a mix of personal and professional lives.

Ultimately, deciding whether you want to work for a big or small company depends on your personality. Any experience is good experience, but do not overlook an opportunity that offers you the chance to gain a lot of experience for one that lets you slap a big name on your resume, and do not work for a place you are not passionate about.

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