What’s In a Name?

By: David Ross

While considering employment options, it can be very easy to focus only on opportunities at “brand-name” organizations. When you think about it, the reasons for joining a well-known, established company are quite clear. Working at such a firm carries a certain cachet which can be a source of great pride. Well-known companies may provide excellent training programs to prepare you for future opportunities. Or perhaps employment with a highly-recognized firm provides that “stamp of approval” that resonates in the eyes of future prospective employers.

While these are all benefits to working for a widely-known organization, keep in mind that today’s “brand-name” may not be tomorrow’s. We live in a world today with a multitude of company mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies. There are countless stories of well-known firms from years past that are no longer in existence due to financial troubles or corporate malfeasance. (Remember all of those stores you used to shop at when you were younger that are just a distant memory?) As much as these now defunct brands developed their reputations over a number of years, their memories could very well fade over time.

Thus, joining an organization primarily for name recognition can be a risky proposition. If working for a well-known company appeals to you that’s great. There are many amazing jobs and internships at world-renowned organizations. But carefully consider all of the other elements of the work environment and experience that are important to you – for some people that may be autonomy over their work product, a collegial atmosphere or perhaps a having a variety of duties. While everyone has different preferences and interests, focusing beyond the “name” increases the likelihood your experience will be beneficial both today and for your future.

Author: David

David Ross is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Wharton undergraduates and occasional blogger for "Penn & Beyond."