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Is bigger better?

On hearing the typical words of wisdom from family elders that 'the world is your oyster', there are several questions that require hours, days and sometimes years of pondering. Where in this vast world do I want to live? What job am I prepared to spend 40 hours of my precious time doing every week? What do I want my career to look like? When it comes to your career, there's one question that is often overlooked but is growing in importance... what size of business should I work in?

Many students, bombarded by freebies from the biggest organisations, will often presume a graduate scheme in a multinational is the way forward, so smaller companies struggle to get a look-in. But there are an increasing number of ambitious graduates who are now making a swift leap to a smaller company only a few years into their careers.
So is bigger better? Last week, the FreshMinds Talent team held the first Big Business to Boutique event  in the Adam Street Club to discuss this very question. Joining us were 30 guests and 3 panel members who have worked in both large multinationals and small companies in their career.

Niyi-Duro Emanuel had three years at Bank of New York Mellon as a relationship manager. His last three years have been spent with pay per click agency Periscopix where he's experienced the entrepreneurial edge that a small company is sometimes more able to harness. Ideas can be put into practice more quickly without the bureaucracy of a larger organisation. This seems to have extended to the training experienced in a smaller company. Nick Anderdon, who has made a recent move from Accenture to Spayne Lindsay as a Retail M&A Analyst, can see that while there may not often be structured training handed to you on a plate, smaller companies often allow employees to request bespoke training or to study for a particular qualification if it's relevant to the job in hand; but if you don't ask, you may not get! Nick has also felt the level of responsibility change from being one of hundreds of analysts to being a fundamental part of the business. This may lead to more pressure when the profit of the company rests on few individuals but it can also feel more rewarding when you bring success to a smaller group.

Our very own Head of Team, Kate Temple-Brown, has experience of moving from a big business to a boutique. Kate joined FreshMinds in November 2012 after a career within Financial Services, resourcing within the likes of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Blackrock. She's noticed that the benefits package within a smaller firm can be less generous; for example fewer days of annual leave. However, the up-sides of quicker progression and more opportunities to develop new skills allow for a different career and one that, for Kate, appear to be a much better fit given her personal career objectives.

So after finding out that small businesses can offer a different but sometimes more rewarding career opportunity, the next question is- how do you find the right one? With information on larger businesses readily available on the net and at careers fairs, how do we find out about which smaller businesses are hiring and when? Nick Anderdon found Spayne Lindsay through his own network. But if your own network fails you, I know a rather wonderful small consultancy that would love to put you in touch with their vast network of businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinationals. If only I could remember the name....