"The bigger the better" isn't always true. My internship at RjM is living proof of why.
Internships are more than another line to add on your resume - it's about experience. Never heard of that one before, right? On a serious note, you need to make sure you're getting an authentic and useful experience. I mean, I'm spending 40+ hours in an office while most people my age are traveling and boozing through their summer. I chose to learn and get ahead, therefore, I want to get the most out of it. I don't regret my decision because of the staff and environment at RjM. I'm not completely discouraging internships at large companies; I think that any internship you are still gaining some sort of experience. However, I believe small companies can give interns more out of their experience. Here are my top three reasons.
Other interns can't be your scapegoat
It is more likely than not that you'll be solo or accompanied by only one other intern during the duration of your internship. Most large companies have you work on projects with a group of interns. When you work for a smaller company, meeting deadlines and contributing content all falls on you. Other interns cannot be your scapegoat. This is a good thing. It forces you to be responsible fast and how to handle situations by yourself. Being the only intern constantly reminds you that your work is not only representing your company, but also, yourself. You get to see your contributions come to life. Additionally, you get all the satisfaction when you make an impact.
Constant interaction and making a meaningful impact
A small company allows constant interaction with all of the staff. I see everyone who works for RjM on a daily basis. I am frequently asked, "how's your day going?" or "what did you do over the weekend?" or "what are you working on?" or "do you need help with...". They make a noticeable effort to get to know me and help. Some of my friends have only met the owner of the company they work for once. Once.
Additionally, no matter how an office is laid out, you can't slack. Small companies will notice quickly if you are slacking, so you better step it up. RjM keeps me busy with real life kind of work - not busy work. The kind of work that makes an actual impact.
Quality of your work
This reason stems off the second perk. The quality of your work increases when you actually know who you are working for. Yeah, you can argue that at a big company you are assigned to someone you frequently report to. But do you really know them? And are all your tasks tailored to the one person you report to? Some tasks require me to work with other members and I get a variety of new insights.
Another perk of working with various employees is being able to test out different positions, finding your niche. Additionally, when you are fortunate enough to work with a close staff that is supportive, you enjoying working for them. This results in better work. Being surrounded by people who appreciate you pushes you.