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How Many Work For A Small Company?

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How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2008, 12:27
I was just wondering how many people on this forum work for a small no name company. I do. How do you think this affects admissions? Of course I have all the impact stories, leadership stories, career progression, etc that the adcom supposedly cares about most. Also, my current career fits well with my short and long term goals and so that essay shows achievable, logical and detailed goals. But how much does it hurt your chances if you come from a small no name company? How many people on this board work at a small company?
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2008, 18:11
I am from a small publishing company with 15 employees. Before that, I worked at a small consulting company with 12 employees.

I looked into this a great deal (asking current students, MBAs, and consultants) and I think the general consensus is, it will not hurt you....it may even help in differentiating yourself depending on the specifics (industry, role, etc).
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2008, 19:07
I work for a small company, as well. $100-200M revenues, ~2000 employees.

Obviously, working for a small company or a big company each have their positives and negatives. The negatives of working for a small company is that you don't have the brand recognition, and small companies have varying standards of quality in their culture, work ethic, employee quality, etc. The positives are (hopefully) that you have been able to see a lot of different sides of your business, and you have gained a lot more responsibility than your industry peers that work for the larger companies. The difference is obviously the age-old debate of "Would you rather be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond?" You need to demonstrate how the latter has worked out for you with good stories/essays/recommendations, etc. and also if possible demonstrate that your pond is still a fairly clean and high quality one, even if it may not be the size of Lake Michigan.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2008, 17:17
Depending on the strenght of the brand name of the company you work for, it may also be worth it to devote a few words in one of your essays talking about why you chose that company instead of a larger/better known one. It may help explain the lesser brand...
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 08:20
I worked at a small high-tech company of 15 employees for 4 years. In those 4 years I worked in sales, operations, and engineering. In fact, I was promoted to operations manager of the company after only 1 year (the old ops mgr quit and they put me in to plug the hole) and it was a hell of a learning experience. I'm able to draw a lot out of this experience for my essays.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 09:35
I worked for a small strategy consulting firm (5 employees including me) and the guy who interviewed me (LBS) actually said it's a good way to differentiate myself from all the applicants who worked for the big consulting firms. Though I must say that I did work for one of the major consulting forms for 1.5 years before moving to the small one.

Still, working for a small firm should not hurt you in any way as long as it comes across as a professional places (something like Bob's Business would probably not be too favorable).
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 10:21
Thanks for the input guys. I'm glad that the consensus is that it won't hurt. As some of the other posters mentioned, I definitely have some great stories for essays from this company. Working at a smaller company gives you many opportunities to show initative and make an impact on your company. So, I guess if you make the most of the opportunities available to you that should counterbalance the effect of having a no name company on your resume. It would also be nice if some adcom members saw it as a differentiator, as some have metnioned.

I wonder if the adcom would take the time to look at the company website for a small firm they'd never heard of? Or would they just rely on the info in the data forms and resume, which describe your company and responsibilities pretty completely.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 12:08
when it comes to whether u are a potential admit I'm sure they'll look into your companys website if they haven't heard of it.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 18:05
tmino wrote:
when it comes to whether u are a potential admit I'm sure they'll look into your companys website if they haven't heard of it.


That's interesting. I was thinking they wouldn't. I mean they must not know the company names for a third of their applicants - international companies, small companies, companies in niche industries, etc, etc. It would seem like checking the website for all those companies would be a lot of work when your resume and data forms already explain your company and responsibilities. Plus, they still have to read a 20 page application with essays, recs, transcripts, data forms, resume, etc.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 18:31
IHateTheGMAT wrote:
tmino wrote:
when it comes to whether u are a potential admit I'm sure they'll look into your companys website if they haven't heard of it.


That's interesting. I was thinking they wouldn't. I mean they must not know the company names for a third of their applicants - international companies, small companies, companies in niche industries, etc, etc. It would seem like checking the website for all those companies would be a lot of work when your resume and data forms already explain your company and responsibilities. Plus, they still have to read a 20 page application with essays, recs, transcripts, data forms, resume, etc.


This doesn't surprise me. They obviously won't have the time to check these out for everyone, but if they are getting ready to admit someone, it only makes sense. If I was an Adcom and I was about to admit someone, I would not only check out the website of their company, but I would also do a google search and facebook search for the person.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 21:15
Schools arent nearly as obsessive about checking people as companies are. I dont think many facebook and myspace pages get checked by adcoms but they definitely are reviewed by companies. They may google the name of a company of an admit to see if it exists but I dont think they are going to dig too deeply due to time constraints. That said, I think you would be shocked at where people worked prior to school...there are certain companies and industries that feed the top schools. Especially the very very top schools where its an even smaller selection of companies feeding the schools.

That said sometimes being in a small place is better than being in a mid size company. You can show greater impact and since both wont have the brand of a top consulting company or bulge bracket bank, having the ability to sell your importance is a good thing to have. During your interview, you may definitely have to answer more questions about your company than someone who sat down with BCG on their resume.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 05:42
I work for a small company as well, about 15 people.

I feel it gives me the opportunity to take on different roles, and not be so narrowly defined.

Hopefully AdComs will feel the same way!

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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 05:54
riverripper wrote:
Schools arent nearly as obsessive about checking people as companies are. I dont think many facebook and myspace pages get checked by adcoms but they definitely are reviewed by companies...


I don't understand what the big deal is with companies searching facebook, etc. If you have your profile set to private/only friends, then they will only be able to see your profile picture, networks, location, etc. Even if you have the least private settings, only people in your network can see your profile. Am I missing something?
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 06:23
maverick2011 wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Schools arent nearly as obsessive about checking people as companies are. I dont think many facebook and myspace pages get checked by adcoms but they definitely are reviewed by companies...


I don't understand what the big deal is with companies searching facebook, etc. If you have your profile set to private/only friends, then they will only be able to see your profile picture, networks, location, etc. Even if you have the least private settings, only people in your network can see your profile. Am I missing something?


I think the issue comes if you don't have your profile set to private/only friends; then there is a high risk that random strangers can see photos of you, read about your interests, etc and if there's something off-color there, use that as a reson towards a ding. For a corporate example: I know my company regularly does facebook searches of prospective hires (we hired around 700 recent grads this summer) and they have an unofficial rule that if they see pictures of the Prospective in stages of drunkenness, smoking weed, etc, that person is dinged.

If the profile is locked down such that someone googling can't read it/see photos of you, you should be fine.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 06:25
Also out of curiosity, how are people defining "small company"? less than 1000 employees? by revenue?
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 07:06
ac8706 wrote:
Also out of curiosity, how are people defining "small company"? less than 1000 employees? by revenue?


I was curious about this as well. I thought that I worked for a fairly small company, but we still have 2000+ employees and $100M+ in revenue. Would this technically be considered a "mid-sized" or "middle-market" company? My guess is yes, but different people have different definitions. I think many bankers consider companies with under > $500M and < $1-2B of revenue to be middle-market, but would consider companies of my size to be "small".
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 08:13
terp06 wrote:
ac8706 wrote:
Also out of curiosity, how are people defining "small company"? less than 1000 employees? by revenue?


I was curious about this as well. I thought that I worked for a fairly small company, but we still have 2000+ employees and $100M+ in revenue. Would this technically be considered a "mid-sized" or "middle-market" company? My guess is yes, but different people have different definitions. I think many bankers consider companies with under > $500M and < $1-2B of revenue to be middle-market, but would consider companies of my size to be "small".


I think your company would be considered midsize, especially in LA.

The companies mentioned by sam, soni and raabenb (and my company) would be small. I would think most MBA applicants that are from small companies are coming from boutique consulting firms (financial, tech, or mgmt consulting) with under 100 employees.

I wonder whether adcoms consider the region you're coming from when they look at your company. LA, for example, is made up almost entirely of small to mid size companies. We have less than 5 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here and even the big companies (say a regional office of a bulge bracket) have small offices. If you are in finance or consulting in LA working at a small to mid size company is pretty common.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 08:23
IHateTheGMAT wrote:
terp06 wrote:
ac8706 wrote:
Also out of curiosity, how are people defining "small company"? less than 1000 employees? by revenue?


I was curious about this as well. I thought that I worked for a fairly small company, but we still have 2000+ employees and $100M+ in revenue. Would this technically be considered a "mid-sized" or "middle-market" company? My guess is yes, but different people have different definitions. I think many bankers consider companies with under > $500M and < $1-2B of revenue to be middle-market, but would consider companies of my size to be "small".


I think your company would be considered midsize, especially in LA.

The companies mentioned by sam, soni and raabenb (and my company) would be small. I would think most MBA applicants that are from small companies are coming from boutique consulting firms (financial, tech, or mgmt consulting) with under 100 employees.

I wonder whether adcoms consider the region you're coming from when they look at your company. LA, for example, is made up almost entirely of small to mid size companies. We have less than 5 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here and even the big companies (say a regional office of a bulge bracket) have small offices. If you are in finance or consulting in LA working at a small to mid size company is pretty common.


I agree. I would hope that adcoms realize this for the LA folks.
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 16:54
so on the flip question, is working for a big company a positive? i work for a fortune10 ..and its hard to show the kind of leadership one can have in a small company. I think working for a small company is better than in a fortune10..
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Re: How Many Work For A Small Company? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 17:40
I worked for both, a small (25 people) and large (6000) company.

Both experiences are very very very different. For me personally, a smaller company gives you more meat for your essays. Its hard to demonstrate impact and leadership within a large company. At the big company, they are so stringent with so many rules and regulations to the extent that when I am cc'd on emails going out to clients, the people in the cc list are listed in order of rank. its retarded sometimes.

The smaller company was a lot of fun. A lot more casual to say the least. I was also given more and bigger responsibilities and promoted in just over a year to a team lead role. The same role would take an average employee at the big company about 4-7 years to achieve.

From a business school application point of view, a smaller company gives you more material to discuss. It also provides you with more intimate recommenders.

As for the big company, I highly doubt the AdComm would have ever heard of my company, even though we are the world leaders at what we do, with global presence, and about $4 billion in annual revenue (my department of 160 generates $80 million). I feel the AdComm may know the general Fortune 100 companies, but not the niche companies, even if they are quite large.

I am also requesting my previous boss from my previous small company job to be one of my recommenders.
I still haven't figured out if I made the right move in moving to the big company. I guess only time will tell.
Re: How Many Work For A Small Company?   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2008, 17:40
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