Question 15: Does working for a big brand help your career?

Hey A.S.,

Thank you for such a great question. Here’s what I think:

1. In regards to networking and speaking to family and friends about your career, I think BIG brands definitely make them think more highly of you only because they recognize the name or use the product themselves. But a BIG company doesn’t always mean a BIG salary or BIG responsibility. If you told your parents you were VP of Operations for McKesson (#14) or American International Group (#16), they would probably prefer that you said Amazon (#100). Most people only know the Fortune 100 anyway, therefore, what they think doesn’t matter.

2. A lot of people want to work for BIG, BIG, & BIG, but the greatest financial opportunities may be at Smalls, Smalls, & Smalls. Imagine the financial canyon between someone who chose to work at Google on August 25, 2005 ($282.59 to $451.39 = 59.7% growth in stock price over 5 years) instead of Yahoo ($33.18 to $13.40 = 59.6% loss in stock price over 5 years). Though Yahoo had more brand recognition at the time, whoever chose Google probably has 2-3 times the money considering the salaries were equivalent.

3. Whereas BIG companies start developing traditional career paths and you have climb the corporate ladder, smaller growing companies tend to have more leadership opportunities and you can rise to the top faster.

At the end of the day, a BIG brand is a credibility stamp like a GOOD school, but real results wherever you are will always trump reputation.

I hope this helps.

D.R.E.A.M. awake!

Hey Jullien,

Often when I speak to people, whether it be co-workers, family members, and even entrepreneurs – they always seem to reinforce their background by talking about a large Fortune 500 company they work for currently or they previously worked for, or one they provided some sort of good or service to. Do you think having experience working in, or with a larger company enhances a persons reputation, and is it necessary to really succeed financially in America?




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