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What is a better location to get an internship at? Bigger business or smaller?

I am very interested in going to school to be a Urologist. When applying for an internship, would a bigger or smaller facility give you more on experience.? I feel like a bigger location would be stressful for an intern. On the other hand, I feel like there is more experience. Then I feel at a smaller location you get more of a one on one experience. Which would be better? #internship #college

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Ro’s Answer

There are a few factors to consider when doing an internship - especially in the medical field. If a larger company will a good name in your community would benefit your future, that could be a great path. However, sometimes a larger company doesn't pay or give as many opportunities as a smaller business/company. A smaller place could offer you more "hands-on" experience, and give you a change to know your mentors better - resulting in a reference for your future employment.
Review the reputation of the location, the kind of work that you would be doing at the internship, and if there are any benefits (pay, school credit, opportunity to work with a good doctor or alumni, etc.)
Big or small, an internship is an opportunity to practice your craft and network - so I'd go with the one that offers more hands on experience, and teaches me things I wouldn't normally be able to do at school. Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. You gave me the answer I was looking for. Nikki
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Kevin’s Answer

I have interned in a few different size companies, although this was about 10-15 years ago.

My experience is as follows:
1. Large Company - You will most likely be only working on a specific part of the job as most large companies have every part of their business broken down. However, with larger companies - they generally have a structured internship program where you rotate every few weeks to a different part of the process. This allows you to see end-to-end and is really good to gain exposure to different parts. Also, when you speak to individuals in their area - they are really subject matter experts in that area and can really give you a thorough explanation & insight into their role. Also, with larger companies & having structured internship programs, they generally host a bunch of networking events amongst your cohort & employees. This is really helpful to help you build your network!
2. Small Company - My experience was not as good here. You will most likely be shadowing someone. Generally, this person will have multiple tasks throughout the day and you kind of just watch them throughout the day. They may give you a task here or there that can be medial. Because it's a smaller company, your mentor or supervisor is very busy & wearing different hats, he or she may be too busy to give you the attention & support you need. Although - the one benefit I thought was really good was I got to see what it was like to work in a small business & how chaotic but fulfilling it can be. You really see how your role plays a impact in the overall process. This is usually masked at a larger company as you are just a small piece to the puzzle!
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Simeon’s Answer

You actually tend to get more experience and handed more responsibility at smaller organizations. Since they don't have the same staffing or resources as a larger facility, they are more likely to entrust you with a wider variety of tasks.
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Michael’s Answer

There are advantages/disadvantages to both and when you are starting out, you always can learn from any experience. It is always about how you can make it an opportunity for growth.
On the plus side for a small firm, you might get exposed to many more aspects of the business and get a chance to see first hand how things work together. You also might get a chance to do things and pitch in on jobs like writing, working with numbers and filling in on anything and everything that needs to get done like grabbing coffee, doing errands etc. While those tasks might seem like they wouldn't be building blocks for your career, you have an opportunity to learn important lessons like working and getting along with people, figuring out what needs to get done, reading people's need before they do and so many critical lessons.

On the other hand, working for a big company has other advantages. You might be exposed to more people and learn the important lessons of protocol, hierarchy, and get the experience of a large company.

How do you know which one is the best for you if you have the choice? Trust your "gut" and go from there. Remember, it is up to you to figure out a way to grow from it ,and even if you don't like it, what can you learn from it?

Michael recommends the following next steps:

Get as much experience as you can and use it as a springboard for the next one!
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