Case Study: My Placement Experience in an SME
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So, you've decided to do a placement. That's brilliant news. The next thing to think about is what kind of employer you want to work for. You might want to work for a large company with lots of perks. Or you might prefer to make a big impact in a small team.
We spoke to Abigail Shelvin - a marketing placement student at ProspectSoft - about her experiences working in a small-to-medium sized enterprise (SME). Find out what she had to say below...
Whilst multinational corporations (MNCs) only account for 2% of the world's jobs, students tend to focus their search for work experience on employers they've heard of. As such, SMEs can get overlooked, despite the fact that there are so many opportunities for young people to secure quality work experience in smaller companies.
At first, I too was a student desperately trying to secure a placement with a multinational brand. I was looking for a placement that would allow me to implement my business knowledge from university, whilst also developing my skillset. But I hadn't actually researched the vast range of opportunities that were out there...
Looking past the fancy perks and lucrative salaries typically associated with a job in an MNC (that don’t necessarily always result in job satisfaction), I was drawn to the opportunities and level of responsibility I could gain during my placement year. That's where my journey with ProspectSoft began.
ProspectSoft is an SME that creates, develops and delivers a cloud-based, Stock-Aware CRM and B2B Trade Portal SaaS solution to fellow SMEs, both nationally and internationally. Upon researching this company, I was instantly drawn to their award-winning placement scheme.
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ProspectSoft stood out for me because of the extensive training offered during the first month of the programme. This immediately relieved my fear of being thrown in at the deep end. Whilst my role is marketing-focused, I gained a brilliant insight into the whole company as the CEO, directors, managers and previous placement students were all involved.
Although I had a solid understanding of marketing from my degree, my placement has exposed me to new challenges that you just don't come across in a lecture hall.
Working for a small company means you'll take on much more responsibility. For instance, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in managing all of ProspectSoft's social media channels, whilst creating innovative content for our target audience to boost engagement.
I’ve also organised the entire recruitment process for the next intake of placements, from screening CVs to running assessment centres. Planning and attending events is another key responsibility of the marketing department at ProspectSoft, as well as acknowledging the hard work of the whole team through awards nights.
A major thing to consider in the “MNC vs. SME” argument is the culture difference. If you’re seeking a hierarchical and objective-driven environment, then an SME is not for you. But, if you flourish in a flexible, dynamic and fun environment, you may want to consider an SME.
ProspectSoft's culture is defined by its close-knit, community feel. All employees are treated as integral to the company’s success. I’ve been involved in organising regular social outings, ranging from welcoming drinks on our first day to the annual Christmas party!
If you want to get the most out of your placement year, the fast-paced, hands-on approach of an SME offers an insightful learning experience. The things you learn won't just benefit you during your placement, but throughout your entire career.
Despite only working with ProspectSoft for a few months, I’ve gained invaluable experiences by applying what I've learnt in my degree to real-life situations. Moreover, I believe the level of responsibility I’ve embraced derives directly from working at an SME and would recommend any student to consider taking on the same opportunity!