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#1 ct456568  Icon User is offline

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Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:12 PM

I'm a freshman CS major who's in the middle of the interviewing season for summer internships, and I just got 3 offers (so far). I'm having trouble deciding between them, and I was wondering if someone could give me some advice about whether it would be better to start off at a relatively small tech company or a big company like JPMorgan? I already looked on glassdoor.com for some reviews, but there's little to nothing about the internship programs. If you'd like to see the specifics, they are below, but otherwise I just need some general advice.

Reddwerks (Austin, TX)

relatively young and fast-growing tech company

creates software for warehouse management systems, logistical stuff

casual atmosphere, people seem like they would be fun to work with

a new internship program, I would be one of their first interns. Potentially less organized, but they've gone to some pretty great lengths to recruit me so far (taking me to lunch on campus, 2 phone interviews, visiting the office soon), so it seems like I would get plenty of attention

substantial ramp-up time needed to work on the main products, so I would probably be limited to doing mobile app development in C# (which I have never worked in before, though I am comfortable in Java)

pay not specified yet, but likely to be close to JPMorgan

JPMorgan Chase (Dallas, TX) - Summer Technology Analyst Program

I'm from Dallas, so I would be able to stay at home instead of live on my own for 3 months; so that's a big plus considering I'm only a freshman

the name alone seems like it would be a good asset to have on a resume, but I'm not sure how much this would matter in a software engineering career path (comments?)

pay is great ($28/hr) and $1500 one-time housing stipend

not sure what I would be working on; they say they won't be able to tell me until April, could possibly working on a pricing system used on the trading floor

kind of wary of how much attention I would be getting in the program, considering I was given an offer after just one interview (no technical questions, mostly informational)

Halliburton (Houston, TX)

good pay ($21/hr) and generous housing ($1200/mo), potential to continue working past the summer into the fall

not really interested in what the company is doing

I would be converting their applications to WPF initially, moving on later

Any advice would be appreciated. Which do you think would be better for an intern just looking to get some experience and exposure to the industry? Thanks in advance.

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Replies To: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

#2 The Architect 2.0  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:03 AM

I recommend JPMorgan personally, that is a huge name to have on your resume, even for an intern position.

...what on earth does your resume look like? it must be amazing to get you shortlisted, much less an actual offer.
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#3 ct456568  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:58 PM

I'm wondering about that myself. I really don't know why I was able to get an offer, especially as a freshman, but my guess is my first semester GPA (4.0) and my high school class rank (5/998) made me look good on paper, even if I hardly have any technical experience.

Anyway, thanks for the quick reply. I just got some numbers back from Reddwerks. They're paying about $22/hr, so it looks like I'll stick with JPMorgan Chase. I would prefer to stay at home for the summer anyway.
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#4 maccard  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:38 PM

I was in a similar situation to you about two weeks ago. I had two big firms offering me internships, and one smaller. I decided to take the smaller company, mainly because it was what I wanted to do. The reason I was struggling to choose was because I didn't want to turn down the offers from the bigger company. Also, I wouldn't take pay into account for this. What good is it going to be if you end up making coffee for the summer?

When I chose it boiled down to:
Which of them do I want to work at more?
Which interview process challenged me the most?
Which do I think I'm likely to be most challenged in?
Which will I enjoy most?

Remember that in a big organisation, you might be shunted into some position doing the same grunt work over and over again all summer, but in a smaller company, you could very well end up making a contribution on the product itself, something which feels great!
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#5 ct456568  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 14 March 2012 - 08:18 PM

It sounds like you had already sort of decided on the smaller company from the beginning. Which companies were they, if you don't mind me asking?

The tricky part about my situation is that I really don't know what JPMorgan Chase has in store for me as an intern. They say they can't tell me the details until April, by which time I will have to have decided already. Reddwerks, while it seems like an enjoyable place to work, is really only offering me the option to work on mobile app development, which I can't say I'm all that interested in. Of course, it beats making coffee, if that's all I would be doing at JPMorgan.
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#6 maccard  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:22 AM

View Postct456568, on 14 March 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

It sounds like you had already sort of decided on the smaller company from the beginning. Which companies were they, if you don't mind me asking?

I had and I hadn't. I applied for the bigger companies and the smaller companies all at the time, and when I got the offers I was stumped. The big ones were MS and IBM.

Quote

The tricky part about my situation is that I really don't know what JPMorgan Chase has in store for me as an intern. They say they can't tell me the details until April, by which time I will have to have decided already. Reddwerks, while it seems like an enjoyable place to work, is really only offering me the option to work on mobile app development, which I can't say I'm all that interested in. Of course, it beats making coffee, if that's all I would be doing at JPMorgan.

I can't comment on JPMorgan, let me get that clear before I start. My point was that you're far more likely to be doing something like that in a larger company that just want to sieve the brightest from the bunch(pro tip, if you're shortlisted, you're already in there). Freshman is first year, yeah? (I'm from europe) If you're a first year in college, and already have two offers like this in front of you, I wouldn't worry about down the line.

Why did you apply to Reddwerks, and JPMorgan? Is JPMorgan a development internship?
Why are you against Mobile Development, have you tried it yet?

As a first year, you're in an awesome position. I'm not sure what to say other than the above, and this:
If you take JPMorgan, the name will look awesome on your CV, especially for next year. It also means that you may end up back in banking next year.
If you take reddwerks, you'll probably learn a huge amount very quickly, and be in a very good position starting back in second year(whatever you guys call it).
I worried that rejecting one of the offers would hurt my chances of employment with that company, but a well worded letter seems to have sorted that out.

tl;dr: Big name looks good, but will probably lead you back there next year. Small company learn lots, less of a chance of mucking up a big company next year(althoug with a GPA like that, I doubt that's a problem)
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:01 AM

Since you don't know really what you're going to be doing, and additionally the Reddworks position is a new thing for them as well, it's all a bit of a pig in a poke. My gut feeling is that if you intend to go into financial services, the JP Morgan gig is likely the better shot, otherwise the Reddworks is likely a better move. Won't try to justify that, though. Just my reading of what you've presented.

I will say for sure that you shouldn't give much weight to the pay differential in this decision. It's a summer job, the pay difference won't mean much in the long term, or even a month after you're back in school. The important thing is what you get out of the position.
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#8 ct456568  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:48 AM

View Postmaccard, on 15 March 2012 - 03:22 AM, said:

Why did you apply to Reddwerks, and JPMorgan? Is JPMorgan a development internship?
Why are you against Mobile Development, have you tried it yet?


I guess I was lot like you when I applied to these companies. I just applied all over (big and small companies), and now that it's time to choose, I'm stumped too. I'm not really sure how a "development internship" differs from other internships, but yes, the official title of the JPMorgan internship is "Technology Summer Internship Development Program". How does that figure into all this?

I'm not against mobile development in itself, and I've never tried it before. It's just that the stuff that I would be working on, applications in C# for the Motorola (ES400 I think?) devices used by warehouse workers, doesn't strike me as very interesting, or very applicable outside of Reddwerks. I could be wrong though; that's just my impression.
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#9 maccard  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 15 March 2012 - 03:12 PM

View Postct456568, on 15 March 2012 - 09:48 AM, said:

I guess I was lot like you when I applied to these companies. I just applied all over (big and small companies), and now that it's time to choose, I'm stumped too. I'm not really sure how a "development internship" differs from other internships, but yes, the official title of the JPMorgan internship is "Technology Summer Internship Development Program". How does that figure into all this?

I meant was it development, or was it admin/banking etc, as if it was to do with investments, it wouldn't be much good to your CS skills.

Quote

I'm not against mobile development in itself, and I've never tried it before. It's just that the stuff that I would be working on, applications in C# for the Motorola (ES400 I think?) devices used by warehouse workers, doesn't strike me as very interesting, or very applicable outside of Reddwerks. I could be wrong though; that's just my impression.

Ah, now that sounds quite different to the mobile I was thinking, I have to admit.
Unfortunately, you're not going to know whether you've made the right decision until you start in your choice.
For your first internship, the specifics of what you're working on aren't going to tie you down. No matter what you choose to do, It's going to be applicable. For instance, I worked in web dev last year, loved it, but don't want to work in it as a career. Still though, I learned a lot from that job (how to actually read the documentation, I mean READ it, not just look at it blankly and expect something to happen.) that on it's own was worth it, even though I'm never going to touch web development for a while.

The way I see it is, reddwerks will probably give you some seriously helpful knowledge, but alot of the stuff you'll never use again. It seems like it would be a cool place to work, and that it would benefit you hugely. The downside is you mightnt be working on something you enjoy doing.

JP morgan is a tough one, you're taking on something that you're not sure of yet. It'll look great on your cv, but who's to say you're going to be working on something you enjoy? You'll learn alot about working in a company, with lots of people, and hopefully some skills on the way, but I wouldn't bank on it really (excuse the pun.)

If you don't like what you're doing in reddwerks, you could always ask to try something different, that's the big advantage of a smaller company.
3 things,
1) i'm just a stranger on the internet, so don't feel compelled to take my advice,
2) I ignored the third company since you were so dismissive of them in your first post, seemed like you didn't actually want to work there anyway
3) No matter which one you take, you're going to have a blast. You're going to learn, and hopefully have fun, so what it boils down to is do any of them interest you in the future, and which work do you think you'd enjoy?
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#10 Utael  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:04 AM

Also remember as an intern if all your doing is getting coffee. Bring it up to the feds its illegal. To call you an intern 100% of the time they are required to teach you something.

Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk
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#11 &rew  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 31 March 2012 - 02:42 PM

I know that this is a little late in the discussion, but I can tell you that an internship at JPMC is a good way to go. You likely won't get to do too much development, but you will learn a ton about how a large corporation runs. The internship should also give you many valuable contacts and a list of things to work on before getting out of school. I can also tell you that most JPMC interns in the development program are able to get positions in the full-time development program after graduation.
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#12 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Big Company vs. Small Company for Freshman Summer Internship?

Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:41 PM

Coffee: Don't wait to be asked, make/offer it anyway. Stock the printers with paper first thing in the morning too. Bring cakes on Friday. People appreciate small gestures like this and they will notice when you are gone.

Moving away from home: Staying at home may be a financial advantage but if you can afford it (and on that pay it looks like you can) I strongly recommend moving away. It sounds like it will be your first time and a short Summer intern is ideal as your first taste. You learn life skills that are far more important than whatever you are doing in your job and it's the first step to real independence. Being only for a couple of weeks, it is pretty safe too. It won't be long before you are back home and your parents are cooking and doing your washing for you again.

The other side of the coin is that you won't be answerable to anyone (except your boos at work). You'll be free to go out, spend your wages as you with, eat what you like, sleep with who you like (or who likes you). There are a lot of firsts with staying away from home and I wouldn't put them off for the world!

Oh, you wanted to know which job. Follow your gut. They all sound good, except numbers two and three.
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