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Veronika Remiger

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Working in start-ups and large corporations – how my internship differs

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Your first professional experience is critical for your future career. That's why I'm fully convinced you need to seek out as many different opinions as possible and, above all, gain experience with various different employers. An internship is just the thing in this situation. While I was studying, I worked with small companies and start-ups as a student trainee and intern. Before I started my career, however, I also wanted to get to know what it was like to work in a large corporation. You might be asking yourself whether you want to do an internship with a large corporation like Deutsche Telekom or with a small start-up. I'd like to share my experiences with you in this blog post:

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Because my team makes the difference!

Why you should join a large corporation

Do you want to set-up a large professional network? Then a large corporation is the place for you! During my internship at Deutsche Telekom, I was involved in numerous international topics and projects. Thanks to this, I was able to connect with a great many colleagues internationally. It meant I got a lot of support, learned from my colleagues, and was able to contribute my own knowledge.

Large corporations are way ahead when it comes to salary. As a rule, you earn more in a corporation than you would in a newly founded start-up which has less capacity. At some start-ups it may even be the case that you have to do unpaid overtime.

On top of that, there are often flexible working time models at big companies. At Deutsche Telekom, I can organize my working time independently. 

Of course, I also make sure to work during a similar time frame to my colleagues, but if I start an hour earlier or later is up to me. It means I can often avoid tedious traffic jams on the freeway and get my day off to a more positive start!

I have also really come to appreciate the canteen at our location. Thanks to it, I don't have to worry about what I'll be eating every lunchtime. At large corporations you can often buy your lunch for a reasonable price and there is always something for everyone, even vegetarians and vegans.

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Working life in a start-up

The advantages of start-ups

Start-ups usually have small teams with flat hierarchies and a small number of management levels. Employees work on their own initiative and therefore take on more responsibility, which is an incredible way to learn. Decisions are also made more quickly. Thanks to flat hierarchies, the company is more flexible and adaptable as a whole.

The bigger the company, the longer it can take to conclude a process. The paths of communication are generally shorter at start-ups, which can cut down on time and any misunderstandings. There is often no physical separation between the management and other employees. You can get your answer quicker by simply speaking to your colleague or superior personally.

On top of that, I myself have always had the experience that in smaller companies, such as start-ups, you really get to know each one of your colleagues personally. Large corporations often have multiple locations, meaning that you may only have contact with your colleagues via digital means or at special events. Big companies are on the whole more anonymous since it's impossible to get to know each individual employee. You will of course know the others in your own department and those in the next office, but a large part of the workforce tends to remain unknown.

Of course, my experiences are subjective and it's also not always black and white. For example, a lot of large corporations or individual departments are transforming themselves by using agile working methods. This can shorten decision-making processes and employees are given even more encouragement and support for taking initiative.

Day-to-day work in other large corporations and start-ups could be altogether different. I can just give you one piece of advice: try it out for yourself and gain your own experiences! It's the only way to decide whether the working style in a large corporation or in a start-up is more to your liking.

What experiences have you had during your internships? Feel free to leave a comment :-)

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