Some of the lucky ones have only worked in big multi-national companies ever since they graduate. And some of us have swam only in the smaller pond. Let me explain the terms of SME and MNC. SME means small medium enterprise and MNC means multi-national corporation.

Recently, I read an interview with Jack Ma (the founder of Alibaba) and he was quoted on something interesting. He advises fresh graduates in China to only apply to work in a SME and don’t aim for a big corporation. His reasoning is that you will learn more in a small firm as you will have to do everything yourself. I can tell you his advice makes a lot of sense. Let me break down why in this article.

I have worked in both before and both of them have theirs pros and cons.

board-156654_6401. Learning 
SME
I have learnt a lot of stuff during my days with local companies and because it is small, I have loads of opportunities to try out different roles. At one point, I was managing both telesales team and customer service team. If I’m in a bigger corporation, I would never be allowed to have dual roles. Everything was hands on and initiatives are appreciated.

However, this also means I don’t have much of proper training before I was thrown into the deeper waters. I have to learn on the spot, makes mistakes, grit my teeth and apologise if I couldn’t recover from my mistakes and need my boss to step in. I am sure these experiences made me a much better person and a much better manager.

MNC
I have proper training in proper classes. There are always be proper guidance by an assigned mentors. And the training doesn’t stop there. Bigger companies believe in investing money on their employees so we got seminars and specialised classes every now and then.

In bigger companies, I only have one designated role which I’m hired for so I get to perfect my skills in that role and master it.

shield-492993_6402. Opportunities
SME
Not much space to move up or move sideways as the companies are pretty small. However, if there is space available and if you are the right fit for the role, smaller firms tend to promote within more often than big companies.

You probably have a lot of chances bumping into the company’s founder or the CEO and may have opportunities to work along side with him or her or even have a project directly under him.

But because the company is small, there is not much room up there so look at your own company, do they have plans down the road for expansion?

MNC
Lots of room to move upwards, sideward almost everywhere. Plus you may get opportunities to travel for work or even a choice to relocate to another country for work. How exciting!

However, bigger companies have more and tougher competition too. Your colleagues will be vying for the same opportunity as well. It’s alright if it’s friendly healthy competition but do watch your back if things get nasty.

Photo Credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coolinsights/ Coca Cola Shanghai Office
Photo Credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coolinsights/ Coca Cola Shanghai Office

3. Environment 
SME
If your firm is small, you probably will lunch mostly around the vicinity of your office area. Your cubicle is probably been there since the start of the company. Your computer is also probably 3 years or older. Why change when it hasn’t broken yet? One thing I found smaller firms lacked in is the care of the work environment we worked in.

I spent at least 8 hours a day producing some of my finest work hence I think I do deserve a fast and reliable computer, a printer that won’t jammed the papers every time I need to print something urgently, a working Nespresso machine and perhaps a really comfy office chair to support my back. I used to work in a tiny firm that allows me to use the latest laptop which is actually meant for customers. While I’m not complaining about having the latest laptop, it is a hassle to back up my data and transfer it over to my next new laptop every other week.

When I talked about environment, I’m also referring to the people you work with. SME has some closeness feel to it and because the staff strength is so small, you tend to know everyone in the company. This makes excellent cohesiveness and allows the company to work seamlessly together. One of my previous company only have 80 staff and we worked along fantastically as we all know each other weaknesses and strengths. We are a tight bunch together and people stayed in the company because of the relationships formed within the company.

MNC
The cubicle is probably a few months old, you will have a nice pantry within a few steps from your desk that comes equipped with a fridge full of beverages and snacks, your meeting rooms will come equipped with the latest projector and gadgets (so that when you need to do a Powerpoint presentation, you won’t need to fumble with set up especially in front of clients). And if you are really really lucky, you will have an in-house canteen like Google or an indoor swimming pool like Unilever or a Starbucks coffee machine like Apple. You also have cleaner restrooms with regular in-house cleaners who doesn’t just clean the toilets twice a day.

You probably will not know everyone in the office. Heck, you will be fortunate if you know more than 10 folks outside your department (the HR personnel that call you up don’t count nor does the IT guy who fixed up your laptop when you ever you have an issue with it). But if you know how to network yourself around, you will find the most interesting characters. I am lucky to have worked with a lot of different nationalities with different culture and backgrounds. I know how to get things across to a French, how to voice my opinions to a British and how to manoeuvre my way around the Chinese. I love getting to know them as a person and am lucky to get to form lasting friendship with some of them.
I realised that this article is getting too long and for easy reading, I am breaking down into two parts. So for my continuation of this article, I’ll be writing about the compensation, benefits and the work you do in smaller firms vs the bigger ones.

Be sure to catch my next article, go ahead and subscribe to my website or join my Twitter at middleme_net or follow me at Facebook middleme.net.

58 replies on “SME vs MNC: What’s the difference? (Part 1)

  1. I like it! To get to know you is exciting little one! I am joyfully mourning a good, more than good, a very dear especial friend. His death opened many doors for the message of the power of love from on high to go forth. Can’t hardly believe the way things are turning around for me.

    Also now, I am taking a course for Authors with Adam Gouge–excellent teacher. Soon I will be earning my living with my writing skills. Still enjoying my roof apartment in this town of Amman, Jordan.Talking about a learning experience? Phew! Super awesome! Later! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very helpful. I had a parallel experience in libraries. I began in a small general (public type of library) where we were responsible for everything from building maintenance and budget to reference, circulation, computers, and cataloging. That exposure to everything required to keep a library running served me well in the second half of my career when I moved into an academic library and specialized in automation, later running the section that included automation, cataloging, acquisitions, and serials.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bonjour ou bonsoir
    voici mon petit message de ce jour
    Pour embellir ta journée ou ta soirée
    Où les mots ne sont que bonheur
    Pour une douce journée en douceur ou une nuit de rêves
    Avec tendresse et amitié
    L’amitié c’ est comme l’oiseau
    $i tu la laisses s’envoler
    tu auras du mal à la rattraper
    L’amitié est un joyau
    Comme les battements du cœurs
    Le bonheur, comme tous les délices
    N’est entier que lorsqu’il est partagé
    Je te souhaite une agréable journée OU soirée
    bisous.Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The fact that happy workers bring on success for the company. The photo of the Coca Cola Shanghai office reminds me of McDonald’s International offices in Chicago. In the 70’s they had a room on the 7th floor, that was much like a Flying Saucer. The design was much like a round Water Bed. The Room was a Quiet room with a sound system that you could crank up and not bother anyone. They used it for brainstorming sessions. Also in this area of Creation was a chair that was located in a tube that you could be sitting in complete silence. It is very interesting that companies have been in the business of making their employees better and more creative workers for many years. This is a great post. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bonjour Le joli mai a pointé son nez depuis quelques jours

    Mai est si gai d’habitude que les fleurs s’en amusent
    Le muguet en premier, il sourit par son parfum
    Lui le lilas rit aux éclats

    Mai est un mois ivres des senteurs, de liberté
    Les oiseaux sifflent à cœur joie
    Le joli mois de mai joue avec le soleil
    fait bondir et danser les enfants
    Le mois de mai réveille le printemps qui dormait
    c’est la fête des prairies, des parcs, des arbres
    des sous bois, ou se cache muguet dans ses feuilles vertes

    Mais MAI chez moi nous a réservé une surprise la semaine dernière
    Les toits , champs , arbres ce sont retrouvés sous une couche de neige

    Gros bisous
    Belle journée , bonne semaine

    Like

  6. Bonjour ou Bonsoir Ami ,Amie

    Tu vois
    Avec beaucoup de sincérité
    Je suis mon cœur
    Il a ses pensées , ses choix et ses propres idées
    C’est alors et seulement
    Que l’on devient acteur de sa vie

    Il faut dans la vie savoir aussi
    Tendre la main à qui en a besoin
    Sans en espérer un retour
    Juste se dire que c’était bien

    Alors s’installe une belle harmonie avec soi-même

    Je te souhaite ce qu’il y a de meilleur
    Profite bien , belle journée
    Bisous , Amitié Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read Jack Ma’s interview as well and think his advice is sound for many young graduates. But as with all things, one size doesnt fit everyone. We all have to find our own way through trial and error.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Coucou toi, mon Ami, Amie KALLY
    Je viens déposer
    Le soleil dans ton coeur
    Ma douceur dans ton âme
    Un ciel étoilé dans ton regard
    Lorsque ton coeur
    Parlera à mon coeur
    Nos âmes brûleront ,d’une douce chaleur
    Lorsque je viens te rendre visite
    Il me semble que je prends ta main
    Afin d’être unis d’une grande amitié Céleste
    Agréable journée ou soirée belle semaine
    Gros bisous Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bonjour ou bonsoir mon Ami,Amie

    Chaque jour, je vois défiler le temps
    devant moi la réalité, derrière moi un passé
    Chaque jour, je fais les mêmes gestes
    Les mêmes mouvements
    Assis devant un café, je viens te retrouver
    L’ordinateur est devenu mon ami avec lui
    je t’offre un peu de joie un peu de bonheur
    et toute l’amitié que j’ai au fond du cœur
    Profite bien et ai pleinement conscience du bonheur de vivre
    Je te souhaite un bonne fin de semaine

    Bises amicales
    Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bonjour mon Amie

    S’il existe un sentiment
    Qui n’est pas toujours perçu a sa juste valeur
    C’est bien de s’être connu par les liens du net
    Sur WordPress
    Ce sentiment est sincère et profond
    Nos écris nous redonnent souvent de l’espoir quand la vie est difficile
    Quand tout est dans un climat de respect et d’honnêteté
    Voila donc pourquoi
    Jouir d’une personne comme toi
    Et un très beau cadeau et un immense privilège
    Que rien au monde ne serait remplacer
    Je te souhaite une belle et agréable journée ou soirée
    Amitiés de la Franche-Comté
    Bisous.
    Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’d read that post before, but I read it again with pleasure. I too worked in both, and your experiences are very true. I think AliBab’a chairman is right, start with a small company then promote yourself to an MNC, and maybe go back as chair of a small compnay? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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