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Life at MNCs vs Startups
March 22 2024

Career options for both newcomers and experienced professionals can be perplexing. It's always difficult to choose between working for a multinational corporation and working for a startup. It's a classic battle about which is the better workplace and has the ability to propel one's career to new heights. Both types of organizations provide unique work experiences but differ significantly in terms of work culture, environment, growth potential, and possibilities. Your experience and expectations will mainly influence the type of organisation you choose. Let us look at many factors to better understand startups and MNCs

Also read: Startups withdraw internships to B-school

Differences Between MNCs and Startups

1. Company Size and Structure

Obviously, a multinational corporation is large in size due to its global presence and large workforce. In contrast, the startup is small both in terms of size and staff strength. MNCs have well defined hierarchical structures, but startups are tiny, agile, and have a flat organizational structure.

2. Work Culture.

MNCs have a structured work structure that, while often rigid, is well-defined in terms of roles and duties.They have a strong, established brand value as a workplace, whereas startups provide extensive and real-time exposure. The work culture at startups is informal, and professional advancement is unpredictable. Startups, on the other hand, have a more flexible and dynamic work atmosphere that encourages collaboration. Startups also have open communication, with founders and executives being more approachable.

Also read: Career After MBA

3. Work load

MNCs frequently have a more structured work environment, with more predictable workloads and less pressure. Startups have a fast-paced and dynamic environment, which can lead to longer work hours and increased stress for certain employees.

4. Career development and learning

Both startups and multinational corporations provide excellent possibilities for learning. MNCs provide structured learning programs that allow employees to develop their abilities and advance within the firm. Learning occurs when multinational corporations undertake large-scale efforts, which can be quite beneficial. Startups, on the other hand, allow you to work in areas where you have no expertise, therefore the possibility to develop new abilities is very strong. 

They have a fast-paced and dynamic work atmosphere, which will teach you adaptation and a sense of urgency. Learning is incredibly broad in a company, and everyone learns together, regardless of hierarchy.

Also read: Growth Aspects after Executive MBA

5. Compensation and Benefits

The most significant benefit of working for an MNC is the compensation and benefits package that they provide. MNC employees benefit greatly from benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, paid time off, bonus sharing, and ESOPs. Startups, on the other hand, provide the benefit of stock options, which can result in significant profits when the firm goes public. So, while a startup requires effort to advance, an MNC will overwhelm you with advantages and incentives. 

6. Innovation and Creativity

Startups drive innovation and offer an interesting, creative, and dynamic working environment. They typically work in sectors focused on generating new products, which allows for a high level of invention and creativity. In contrast, multinational corporations (MNCs) are concerned with maintaining the status quo and optimizing existing products and services. Startups are excellent places to work for people who are looking to fresh ideas.

7. Work-life balance.

MNCs have a structured work environment, which leads to predictable work hours, but startups have a dynamic and fast-paced work environment, which leads to extended and potentially stressful work hours.

Learn about the life at an IIM

Benefits of Working at a Startup


  •   Growth opportunities
  • Great autonomy and recognition for work done
  • Creative freedom


  • Financial instability
  • No work-life balance with long working hours
  • Lack of infrastructure

Working In An Established MNC


  • Stability and clearly defined career path
  • Established processes
  • Strong reputation


  • Slow career progression
  • Limited autonomy
  • Less creative freedom

If you want job stability, an MNC is your best bet, but if you want to establish your own business, you should work for a startup that will teach you vital skills.

Startups and multinational corporations have quite distinct work environments, making it difficult to choose one as a career option. However, this decision should be based on personal priorities and personality. MNCs are more lucrative and provide more benefits, whereas startups may be a viable option for those seeking a fast-paced learning environment.

Also read: International exposure in MBA

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Anisha Mukhija

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