What only a few startup interns know

Internship in a start-up or a large company?

If you are looking for a company in which you would like to do your internship, you may at some point ask the question: Am I doing the internship in a start-up or in a well-known large company? In other words: do you tend towards a more relaxed founding team or do you want concentrated business experience? If this corresponds to your current situation, you should first think about what you primarily expect from the future internship position. In addition, you should also keep in mind which learning goals you are pursuing with the internship and what kind of person you are in general.

Start-up - what is it anyway?

Even if you sometimes lose track of naming in today's Anglicism-laden (work) reality in Germany, the meaning is quite obvious in start-ups: It is a young, ambitious and mostly very innovative and flexible company that is still in the start-up phase, so to speak.

Overview vs. an eye for detail?

For an intern, an internship in a start-up means, on the one hand, that he is usually actively involved in company activities from the very beginning and, on the other hand, that he is given the opportunity to gain comprehensive insights into the general work processes of the entire company, rather than in a large company to obtain. In addition, in a start-up you are usually given a high degree of personal responsibility. Further advantages of a start-up company are the generally relatively young average age of the teams, the relaxed working atmosphere that comes with it, and a larger range of different tasks. You often gain technical knowledge here, which makes it easier for you to understand how the company fits into the business and market environment. Is it important to you that you are challenged and given the opportunity to incorporate your own ideas and creativity? Then maybe you are right in a start-up company. Another advantage, if you will, is that you get to know them much better due to the manageability of the employees, which can also contribute to a pleasant working atmosphere.

In a large company, on the other hand, you often get to know a single department better. This, however, is very extensive and detailed. An internship in a department of a large company makes sense if you are interested in or can easily imagine a later job in this department. Another motivation for an internship in a large company could also be the possible prestige that the name of the company brings with it. The level of awareness of the company is of course quite good on the résumé. Another advantage of an internship in a large company is that certain business processes, which can only be implemented with a certain number of employees, can be tracked. In a large company you will usually find fixed processes and a very well thought-out organization that has been tried and tested for years.

Security vs. Flexibility

So it really depends on how you classify yourself in terms of character and what priorities you set or want to set in an internship. The decision should be made depending on how much you can identify with the above-mentioned aspects. Fixed work processes and regular instructions, as well as a fixed contact person give you security? Would you like a permanent position at a specific position in the company? Then a large company might be the right path for you. Are you flexible, communicative and appreciate variety? Would you like to be able to contribute your ideas and have them registered? Then you are more likely to be in the right place in a start-up.

Unfortunately, we cannot make the decision for you whether an internship in a large company or a start-up company is right for you. There are of course a number of companies that may represent the exact opposite of the aspects mentioned here. There are already very professional start-ups and large companies in which you can get involved creatively. You can never generalize such things. However, we hope that we have been able to give you a few useful pointers for your internship search.