Which startup or MNC

What are the risks and advantages of a start-up compared to an established company?

First, let me disagree with the comments that say this question cannot be answered. It is, but with an important note:

There are many factors that differentiate large companies from smaller ones.
Each factor can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your personality .

So there is no definitive answer how "Go for a big company, period" . Let us consider the determination of Good Subjective in the light of the SE principle, how every factor will work for you who are reading this answer (in simple terms, whether it is a benefit or not), and Why You should choose a large or small company depending on who you are.

What are these factors?

Let's start with money, of course. Studies from 2012 show that less than half of small businesses (up to 99 employees) have their employees advantages Offer.
It sounds like an objective factor: the more money the better, but it's not that simple because money isn't just your salary. See next topics.

In a small business, you are often on the second level immediately after the owner of the business. This opens up great opportunities for you. If you work hard enough, your success will be easily felt (see Appreciation below), and you can occupy a higher position even if you don't have adequate background, formal training, etc.
Remember, even if you quit, apply for a new position and are asked if you have a degree in a position you are applying for, you can reply that you have N months of hands-on work experience in the position.

Large companies have a hierarchy (see below) so you can't just jump over the steps.

Large companies often have many different positions, some of which are open. If you are passionate about something else (e.g. as a software developer who wants to try his hand at being a QA engineer), sooner or later you will have such a chance.
In a small business, your current responsibilities are usually burdened and difficult to replace. You can work overtime to learn something, usually without reimbursement. Decide if you are ready to do this.

Large companies offer their employees free training and certification. This can be a huge benefit to you, especially if other factors are negative (e.g. if you don't have a college degree in your line of business).

When a small company goes public (IPO), you may be offered to buy shares at a discounted price or as a premium. This will quickly transform you from "just a worker" to a co-owner. This entirely new level can change your entire career dramatically.

Large companies usually have a more obvious hierarchy and therefore a chain of responsibility.
In smaller businesses, people often have to make decisions because the next upper tier is the owner of the business, who is just too busy to sort out every little thing.
Believe it or not, many people do not make decisions and are solely responsible for the consequences. However, others do not feel comfortable as a small cog in a large machine, they think that this offends their dignity.

In a large company, you often work on large projects, but not alone. If any of your coworkers make things fail, all of your efforts will be thrown away.
Working in a small team gives you more chances to break into the project and save it if something goes wrong.

In a small business, all of your successes and failures are visible. Quote from Dean Medley, Senior VP at Medical Methods:

"Every success you have in a small business is increased by a hundred."

Change is slow in large companies. If you are excited about a good idea and you want it (to generate profit for your business and some respect for you, see above), you need to come to an agreement with so many people.
However, some people are quite conservative and they don't like quick changes. See for yourself.

In smaller businesses, everyone knows each other, while in large corporations you may not even know those working three cubicles away from you. Again, this can be good or bad, depending on how much you enjoy socializing.

Corporations do have problems occasionally, we admit. Large companies are less prone to average and small problems. A larger company has a larger financial base, so it is not as likely to work out quickly.
A small startup can survive paycheck to paycheck. Decide how much risk you want to take.

If you don't do well in a small business, there are few chances of you recovering. I had the problem of sending a single incorrect email that cost me my entire relationship with the employer.
In a large company, it's not so obvious that the fault is yours (see above), so there are more chances to recover.

As you can see, there is no rocket science in any of the above topics. Anyone facing the dilemma of choosing a large company over a smaller one should think about these factors and decide how each of them fits your personality.

If you prefer a more complex math approach, here's how:

  1. Assign a number from 1 to 10 to each factor, where 1 means "I don't really care" and 10 means "This is important to me".
  2. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns: "Pros and Cons";
  3. Record the number in an appropriate column.
  4. Compare the totals to find out what works best for you.


This is a great list that does exactly what I was hoping for with the bounty.

Seth R.

A large company will have more opportunities to change jobs, but it is more likely that a particular role will become more specialized / more isolated. A small business often needs people who can do many things and "wear multiple hats".