Like most architecture students, I heard the debate about whether it was better to work at a large or small design firm numerous times during my collegiate career. There are undoubtedly benefits offered by firms of each size, and you’ll find tons of people eager to discuss how the resources of a large firm can compare to the creative flexibility of a small firm and similar such discussions during your student journey. Truthfully, there’s no one best option or preferred path, but, with thousands of students set to head back to architecture or design school this fall, I wanted to share my perspective.
It was just a few years ago that I was in my final year of school and faced with a decision: what size firms should I pursue for my first job? There were numerous aspects of small firms that spoke to me, but ultimately, I chose the large-firm experience. Big offices, big projects, job security, the latest tech, modeling and 3D printed resources—this all sounded great to me. Two years in, I’ve found most of those benefits to ring true, but I’ve also uncovered several benefits I didn’t know I should have been looking for in the first place. These unplanned discoveries have made a significant difference in my day-to-day experience and in helping to kickstart my career. I thought it might be helpful to share them so other students can consider them when making their decision in 2018 and beyond.