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large compay or small consultancy?

large compay or small consultancy?

large compay or small consultancy?

(OP)
Hello. I am currently deciding between two job offers. I am a graduate however I will be going into work not on a graduate scheme as I am trying to focus on CAE specifically FEA.

One offer is for an incredibly large company working in a specific area of FEA.

The other is a small consultancy company (with very large reputable clients) that cover a wide range of FEA applications in various industries.

I am struggling to decide between them as I am thinking long term in light of my personal development and future career choices. I will be using an in house piece of software with the large company and widely available software such as Ansys with the smaller company.

Does anyone have any advice for me? I did receive some excellent feedback in the FEA forum however the thread was removed for being non-technical so I am reposting another draft here.


Thanks. J.

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

If you want to do the same thing all your working life, go big. However, small companies have the need for mufti-diciplined guys. Also your chances for advancing into higher level, usually more administration oriented and higher pay will happen for the smaller one. However, changing workload possibilities of each also should be checked out. When things get slim, the last hired are first let go, all other things equal.

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

In addition to what's been said, realise that the projects you work on will be vastly different too. In a big company, you will likely see a product from cradle to grave if you stay long enough. In a small company (e.g. a consultancy), your projects will be short and varied. As a new graduate, short and varied will probably be more appealing and stimulating than cradle to grave. But short and varied can rapidly become simply a matter of turning the same handle for a different customer. Over and over.

If you can, ask some engineers what they are actually working on and how long they've been working on it.

Steve

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

Small consultancy, hands down. You get lost in the shuffle of large companies and have less opportunity to show your technical growth and progress. Been in both....small is better.

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

Seems like your other thread about the same subject got deleted. I don't think that anything is cast in concrete.

"If you want to do the same thing all your working life, go big. " Not strictly true; as I stated in the other thread, I'm a generalist in a relatively large company (80-person division in a 3000-person corporation). When there's a multitude of specialists, all looking at optimization of their own universes, generalists are needed to adjudicate the inevitable conflicts in requirements.

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RE: large compay or small consultancy?

(OP)
With either company I will likely be there for a couple of years only, due to my partner living else where in the country. So my thinking is stick it out with the larger company, generate some savings or go with the smaller company and gain potentially a wide range of skills. Although with either company I will leave with a diverse skill-set and transferable skills.

It's a tough decision but not a bad one to make!

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

Early in your career the diversity available in a small company could be a big benefit for next career step.

My first full-time employer was a little start-up outfit employing five of us including three partners. I did everything at some point including design, procurement, assembly, test, despatch, invoicing, making up wage packets, cleaning the washroom - all on a small scale but I learned loads about pretty much everything. I only made about the same wage as I was making in my bar job while studying, but it was a fantastic stepping stone to better things. Sometimes I remind myself just how bad it was there - the occasions when we didn't get paid because a customer hadn't paid us, or the winter when the water in the toilet bowl froze solid because paying our material suppliers took priority over keeping us warm - but other times I look back with a rueful smile about how much we seemed to achieve with so few resources.

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

jd90: With your plans for a 2 year stint, as an employer I'd have misgivings about hiring you. Better keep that secret.

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

go small so you can later go big
it's all about learning in the beginning
small normally gives you broader learning opportunities

RE: large compay or small consultancy?

I interned with a larger company. I would go for the small consultancy and it's not close. You'll likely get to do a wider variety of more interesting stuff and likely work closer with people that have a ton of experience so you'll learn more. Also better opportunities for advancement. If you impress, you'll likely be impressing the people who can actually reward you and push your advancement. Not your manager who has his/her hands tied by bureaucracy and politics.

The other thing with smaller firms is you may actually get to see the business side of things. The writing of the proposals, dealing with lawyers/insurance, may even get roped into business development. At smaller firms you can get a lot of the soft skills you didn't get in school, whereas larger firms can tend to be more higher ups dropping a project on your desk and then you do it and they drop another project on your desk and you do it and so on. Just being a cog in the machine doesn't necessarily give you a great understanding of how the machine really works (or doesn't work).

The main downsides I've seen:
- Small firms disappear more often. There's a higher likelihood that the firm isn't around in the near future than the large firm. Given they have large reputable clients, that's probably not an issue. You're also young. If they fold, they fold. You'll rebound just fine.
- If firm culture is bad at a small firm it can permeate everything. Not that this can't happen at big firms, but you can find small pockets of good culture that can insulate you from the rest of the muck. Not as easy to do this at a small firm.

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