Working in a Startup vs a MNC

Are those days over and done when people were diligent to join an established Multi-National Company (MNC) and lead a settled life subsequently? Today’s youth is immensely seeking a challenging career in a startup environment and choose the bandwagon of a learning career than a settled one. Working in a startup set up is challenging, not to say that there are no challenges in the MNCs.

Although we do not advocate that startups are better than the MNCs for all categories of people, for the ones seeking newer challenges every day and like to thrive on it because that brings the best out of them, then a startup is the right place for that person.

Here are some points that separate them both in many ways:

• New Challenges and Possibilities : With startups, you are always working in multifaceted roles, which assure daily encounters with new challenges and you are expected to find solutions to those problems. This problem-solving capability develops the leadership qualities within an individual.

• No Set Pattern : Like as any MNC works based on ‘Standard Operating Procedures’, any startup will never have a pre-decided set of ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ that helps in building the best practices. They are very important to form a culture of any organization. This allows the employees to construct close-knit teams who treat it as their organization.

• You are motivated to Experiment and Learn : In the MNCs, you have a set of roles that are assigned to you and a designated way of doing that task, whereas, in startups, you have to find out the best way to finish the task effectively and efficiently. This develops the analytical thought process in the employee’s mind, which is crucial in problem solving and decision making.

• C-I-D Flow and Learning Curve : Any employer’s delight is the person who can take care of the three essential aspects of any project viz- Create, Innovate, Develop. Create a blueprint of the exact project requirements, Innovate to find out best fit solutions to the problem statements, and Develop best practices in the successful implementation of the solution to the project. In the MNCs, three different people are performing these roles, whereas, in a startup, there is a high chance that one person is designated the end to end responsibility and therefore, the learning curve is always on the rise.

• Dynamic Environment : Truckloads of researches have shown that a healthy and interactive workplace with everyone being valued is the most respected and the ones which succeed at a rapid pace as the employees also tend to give their 100% to take the organization ahead. With policies such as anyone can seek anyone’s help and anyone can walk in anyone’s cabin with their issues and concerns, the startups tend to flourish more with such a dynamic work environment. In the MNCs, people are always stuck in following a hierarchy.

• Set New Goals : With authority, comes responsibility. When one is accountable for what one does, there’s always going to be a strong urge to beat one’s own expectations. This is where targets are set to beat high standards set by the team and all possible efforts are made to achieve them.

• Focus on New Challenges : That’s what anyone joining a startup craves for- New Challenge every day. With no set procedure, added responsibility, and exposure to experimentation, they are bound to be challenging. Challenges are meant to help a motivated person to soar through the ranks and attain a great position in the professional setting. 

With MNC having a sense of security associated with it, a startup promises new challenges every day that is the major difference between working in one of the two. With the situation that the pandemic has brought in, no job even in MNCs is secure. The challenges have gone up multi fold with startups. So how does someone chose one over the other.

Honestly, there is no one choice that you can deem as the right one. It totally depends on an individual’s personality and his thought process. MNC and a startup are two different ends of a spectrum. With MNC things are more structured, you have large teams with multiple hierarchies and most importantly you have a sense of job security (mostly but not always).

With a startup, you have a different set of actions, and you need to be ready to to work and excel in a chaotic work environment. It is all about hustling and running around all the time when you are working at a startup. There are no fixed sets of working hours and working for long hours and providing support during product deadlines or client requirements usually stretch working hours in a startup.

There are a certain set of skill sets that you need to master in if you wish to excel in a startup type of setting. You need to be multi-dimensional and have the mindset of a problem solver. Startups push your career to the next level and your growth is fast tracked. Depending on the stage of startup you are in, you may usually face a lot of instability as well as insecurity. There can be instances when the startups face lack of funds and/or resources.

The challenge of MNC environment is conflicting egos of people which leads to unhappiness within the team whereas in startup, everyone gets a fair share of sharing their ideas with the team and a collective decision is taken in these regards. If you like a fast-paced life then choose a startup, but if you like more structured and process driven jobs, then MNC should be the best way forward.

There is a matrix that one needs to set and bifurcate between the two based on ones individual aspirations and personality. The one which weighs more is probably the best decision for you to take. We have tried to collate some of these points for you, here they are :

• Security or Challenges

• SOPs or Experiments

• Execution or Solution Finding & then execution

• slow growth but stable work life or challenging but Fast Tracked Growth

• Risk Appetite

• Flexibility or Fixed work Hours

• A normal employee or a valued contributor.

It is said that higher the risk, higher is the return. This rule applies to the situation that we are looking at MNC or Startup. The Risk-Reward Ratio is something very crucial and critical in understanding the demands and needs of a job seeker and eventually drive the decision as well. It may be fun and exciting to work for a startup, but at some point you’ll need to evaluate the risks involved—90% of startups fail, meaning the chances of a startup succeeding is very less and no job security. MNCs, on the other hand, usually have longer and secure framework and won’t go out of business in a day.

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