Getting your first job is a milestone in your life. You’re out in the real world and finding your path. It might seem intimidating when you realize that you have to make a lot of decisions that could define the rest of the course of your life. One of the most common decisions that graduates have to make is to choose between going with an MNC or with a startup as their first job. Through this article, we would like to guide you in making a decision that’s best for you. There is no clear-cut threshold that will help you choose, but we want you to consider the important pros and cons of both choices and make a well-informed decision. Before jumping into the perpetual debate of MNCs vs startups, we would like to congratulate you for making it this far. Pat yourself on the back because your hard work has paid off and now you have more than two offers!
Now, let’s take a deeper look into what MNCs and start-ups are, and what makes them different from the other.
Wikipedia defines a Multinational Corporation as ’an organization that owns or controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Most of the largest and most influential companies of the modern age are publicly traded multinational corporations.’ The main factor that sets them apart is their large size and that they have global activities that are controlled by their parent company. You might be familiar with companies like Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and many more. On the contrary, a start-up ‘is a company or project undertaken by an entrepreneur to seek, develop, and validate a scalable business model. They usually begin with a founder or co-founders who have a way to solve a problem.’ So this makes them generally smaller and narrower than MNCs. You may have come across names like Zomato, FreshToHome, Cure.Fit, Razorpay, which are some of the many top Indian start-ups. Since startups have a more focused goal and a smaller team, you might feel that you have better control over your work. But on the other hand, an MNC can ensure better job security and balanced life. You might also be aware of another choice either of them – product-based or service-based? All this information might seem overwhelming, do let’s go over each of those choices and read through specific pros and cons that should be taken into consideration.
Multinational Corporations – The Pros
First, let’s deep dive into the benefits of choosing an MNC!
- Package and Perks
The main advantage of working for an MNC is that it’s properly structured and follows a well-established process. This ensures that you have a steady compensation, which might be comparatively greater than that of a start-up. Although there could be differences from company to company, MNCs usually offer other perks and benefits which include proper accommodation, paid leaves and vacations, and health benefits like insurance and vaccination drives for your family. MNCs usually grow by having top talents on board and will offer a lot of benefits for the health, wellness & satisfaction of their employees. Since MNCs have a good reputation and name, it helps you get better recognition in front of future employers.
- Job Security
As you have read in the introduction, start-ups typically focus on one problem or goal initially. Thus they don’t have a lot of clients or projects. On the other hand, an MNC will have an array of trusted clients. If a project prospect falls through, you won’t lose your job. Instead, they will have a mechanism where you’ll be ‘put on the bench’ and assigned to a future project. As compared to start-ups, there is a lesser chance that the company will go bankrupt, or fail and get you laid off.
- Work-life balance
As evident through the previous points, having an established structure and job security means a better work-life balance. Working extra long hours is uncommon and you get the weekends off. Typically, a stress-free life!
Multinational Corporations – The Cons
Although MNCs do provide attractive perks and a comparatively relaxed environment, there are some important drawbacks that you should look into.
- Career Growth / Learning Curve
Fundamentally, career growth in any company be it a start-up or an MNC, depends on the company and how ready you are to upskill yourself. We do not speak for all MNCs, but a lot of companies who do mass recruiting will be assigning you to training and projects randomly. You may not have a choice over the technology that you will be working on. There is a chance that you will be working on the same level for a very long time with little or no growth. Ultimately, it’s up to to you to keep learning and expose yourself to the domain you would like to work on. It’s also important that you work under good leaders and mentors in your first job.
- Rigid and Restricted Work Environment
As mentioned before, an MNC has a proper structure and that follows for the work environment as well. You might not get enough freedom to experiment and provide your inputs to the projects you are working on. Customarily the management will have well-defined processes and rules that might make you feel restricted. Again, we do not want to club all of the popular MNCs into this category, there are good companies that promote creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
Start-ups – The Pros
Now that you’ve read about MNCs, let’s move on to what start-ups have to offer
- Learning Curve
The most popular advantage of choosing a start-up is that you have a better chance at getting yourself exposed to a lot of domains. A start-up will have a lesser number of employees, which means that you will have a better grip over the project you are working on. You will be able to provide more input, get better creatively, and upskill yourself on the job regularly.
- Motivated Team
Start-ups will have smaller teams as compared to an MNC. The company as a whole will be working on a common focus and will include fewer clients. This will instill a better sense of ‘team’. All the members of the team will be much more motivated and eager to reach your collective goal.
- Flexibility & Freedom
Contrary to the last con of MNCs, a start-up will have a flexible work environment. You don’t have to follow a well-established structure. Working with a motivated team will also be more fun and pleasant. As compared to an MNC, you might have a better say in the project that’s being assigned to you. You will also have more freedom to experiment. They will also give you a chance to present yourself with daily challenges.
Start-ups – The Cons
That being said, the flexible work culture of a start-up also brings along a set of disadvantages.
- Risk of Failure
Start-ups have a huge risk of falling through. There is a higher chance of you getting laid off out of the blue.
Here are some of the top reasons startups fail compiled by CBINSIGHTS in their article – The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail
- No Market Need / Lack of Customer Need
- Bankruptcy / Ran out of Cash
- Not the Right Team
- User Un-Friendly Product
But if the start-up overcomes all the above challenges, it might get picked up by a bigger company and can go huge. But it’s hard to distinguish which ones will get there.
- Fewer Perks & Lesser Compensation
Start-ups can only very rarely match the salary of an MNC. Your pay will be low as compared to the work you are doing. You may not get enough perks like health benefits and transportation. But you will have flexible work hours. You may also get a share of the company’s equity.
Through this article, we aspired for you to have a better idea of what you will and won’t get for both start-ups and MNCs. Again, we do not intend to speak for all the MNCs or all the start-ups. This compilation is an overview of some common trends. Ultimately the main factor that your choice depends on, is the company and the team you’ll be working in. Other personal factors come into play too, like location & domain. Recognizing your needs and understanding what you are looking for in your first job is crucial. We hope that this article has guided you in choosing the option that works best for you! Good luck 🙂