Would you consider a job at a start-up?
As a graduate business student, there are broadly speaking three options when looking for a job. You can start working at (1) a multinational company, (2) at a SME or (3) become an entrepreneur / start working at a start-up company. According to the RSM faculty, RSM graduates are more or less evenly distributed among these three options. However, when I speak to fellow students and look at the career events organized at the university, I sometimes wonder how many of us are really considering a job at a start-up, or would be interested in starting their own start-up from the beginning. The companies that participate in the events organized at the university are mainly the big multinational companies, which is kind of logical considering their big recruitment budgets. Starting your career at such a company can have many advantages, as it can be good for your future career, working conditions are good and such a job brings little uncertainty. You might wonder, why start working at a start-up company then?
The Netherlands has everything a start-up needs
To begin with, you are in the right spot. The Netherlands might not be Silicon Valley, but it does have a lot of ingredients to become a mature technology start-up ecosystem.
The Netherlands has got a good combination of technical and business schools with RSM and TU Delft, but also with TU Eindhoven and Tilburg University. With Neelie Kroes as a supporter of start-ups, the government can be seen as supportive. There is space to physically expand growth companies. Furthermore there is a good mix of accelerators, angels and VC’s that are willing to invest. Dutch start-up Adyen recently received a huge investment and is now being valued around $2.3 billion. The only ingredient that might be missing is you: a critical mass of people that want (and are able) to start their own company.
The personal benefits
With the right environment, the opportunity is here. Still the question remains; why work for – or start a start-up company? Working at a start-up brings multiple personal benefits. First, start-ups are the new sexy. Explaining at a drink that you started your own company in the tech business is simply more interesting than you talking about being the master of the universe because you are a king in making Excel-calculations. Just as IT loses its dusty image, start-ups are becoming more broadly accepted and recognized as good learning schools. Second, start-ups will give you a lot of responsibility – which you will certainly not be getting at a multinational start job. You will be able to call the shots and meet with interesting people. Finally, if you make it, you can make it big. Leading companies such as Google, Facebook and Airbnb didn’t exist 20 years ago and all started small. There are plenty of Dutch start-ups that are making or have made a name for them self as well such as Adyen, Booking.com, WeTransfer and 22tracks.
There are probably more benefits to come up with, and on the other side there are of course downsides as well. Yes, working at a start-up brings more risk. If the start-up fails you are unemployed. You probably won’t get a car from your employer; the salary and secondary working conditions are way worse. But the potential upside and the personal benefits on the other side can cover for this. Besides; the disadvantages aren’t that bad at this moment in your life. As a student you are used to not having too much money around, not having a car and you probably don’t have kids yet to take care of.
In the end I think there should be a personal fit. If you are a creative, risk-seeking person, starting your career at a start-up might be the best option. If you like routine and want to work in a structured professional environment, starting your career at a multinational might be your best option. As a BIM student, would you consider working at a start-up?