Startups and SMEs or large Corporations, which provide better employment opportunities and experiences? This can be quite a tricky question as there is no one right answer. Things like culture, learning opportunities, responsibilities and structures all come into play when deciding which route is the best for you.
So, to give you some insight into what’s it really like to work for one of the largest global brands, we spoke to Dunia Mudara, Head of Marketing at McDonald’s Bahrain* and this is what she had to share about her experience:
How has working at a global brand like McDonald’s impacted your career progression and learning?
Traditionally, people think it's good enough to simply have a ‘big brand name’ on your CV, claiming that would lead to big career opportunities. I find that to be untrue. I believe that the experience of working at a ‘big brand’ is only as good as you make it. Working at McDonald's, being the largest food brand in the world, comes with its pressures and stresses, which I believe shape your professionalism and work ethics. Needless to say, the global exposure to all of the brand's assets and training material – in quite literally any field – could be equivalent to a higher college degree. In terms of career progression, McDonald's believes in dynamic talent with a love for the brand. If you have these two covered, along with the willingness to learn and grow, you'll find career progression to be a breeze.
Being a large corporation, how does your company manage to create a cohesive culture and vision?
One of the most exciting things about working at a global franchise is that you adopt the culture, vision, and overall environment of the global brand, localised to best suit each market. Similarly, the ‘head office’ culture of McDonald's is a true reflection of the restaurant culture we create for our customers. We take the same care, attention, love, and precision in which we serve our customers and hold them dear at a managerial level.
A common stereotype associated with large companies is that they tend to be rigid and bureaucratic. What would you say to that?
I think it's important to note that there are many small companies with a more rigid culture than larger ones, and 'bureaucracy' otherwise known as 'processes' plays a crucial role in establishing strong companies and building solid company knowledge with employees. That being said, it doesn't have to be a bad thing. These characteristics are inherited through years of procedures and a "this is how we've always done it" mentality at any place, not exclusive to larger companies, but they can definitely be changed with the incoming of new joiners into any system. Therefore, companies can inherit, adopt, or create their own if they are willing – keyword here is WILLING – to benefit employee morale and overall business performance.
As someone who’s experienced both small and large workplaces, what is your main take-away in terms of the differences or similarities?
In both small and large organisations, you can be having a blast at work every day and be subjected to strict processes and procedures. These aren't exclusive to size at all. But the main difference between the two is definitely the ability to create close and reliable relationships with colleagues and peers. It won't be easy if your colleagues in a small company are unfriendly, but personal interaction is much more rare in a larger one.
What words of advice would you give to young people looking to start out in a big corporation?
My advice would be to forget about the size of the organisation – focus on the value it will add to you instead. And don't think of the value it will add to who you are today, rather think of how it will serve your potential. After you've selected your dream company, do not be overly impressed or intimidated by the size, style, people, or even the website! Go to the offices yourself, use your time before and after an interview to look around and get a true feel of the place, ask practical questions about their values and their culture. Only then will you be able to make the best decision. And, if you fail, try, try again!
* This is an opinion piece by an employee of McDonald's Bahrain, and is not an official statement by the company itself.