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My Placement Experience in an SME

By Abi Shevlin on Thu 21 November 2019 in Placement Blog

Gain an insight into what it's like working in an SME and the different ways in which it can benefit students undertaking a Placement year!

Students are often enticed into applying for the multinational corporations that dominate the current market, despite only accounting for 2% of the world’s jobs. The perception that encompasses these MNCs boasts about the plethora of opportunities that derive from gaining such a placement and inevitably, this overshadows the SMEs that are competing in the same pond.  

Hypocritically, I too was a student engrossed in aiming to secure a placement with a brand known on a multinational level, before further researching into the vast opportunities that were actually out there. What I was in search for was a placement that would allow myself to implement my current business knowledge from university, whilst also utilising my skillset that I could ultimately advance upon. Overlooking the “fancy perks” and wages that are typically associated with a job in an MNC (that arguably don’t result in overall job satisfaction compared to other enrichment techniques), I was drawn to the opportunities and level of responsibility I would gain during my intercalating year. This is where I initiated my application with ProspectSoft.  

ProspectSoft is an SME that creates, develops, delivers and supports a cloud-based, Stock-Aware CRM and B2B Trade Portal SaaS solution to fellow SMEs, both nationally and internationally. Upon researching this company, a key aspect that I was instantly drawn to was their award-winning placement scheme. The array of roles and opportunities were far more appealing in comparison to other placements that simply didn’t meet the standards and effort that ProspectSoft deliver. 

Training  

A key factor that sets ProspectSoft apart from the rest was the extensive training provided during the first month of the programme. With the initial worry of being thrown into the deep-end (that any student faces!), I was immediately relieved as many of the ProspectSoft team, including the CEO/Directors, Managers and previous placements were all involved. Despite being Marketing-orientated, I gained a holistic view of the company, tapping into the operations of each department to cross-fertilise knowledge. Although having a foundation base for Marketing through University and past experiences, there are always new skills to learn and differing challenges to face that I wouldn’t have been exposed to previously.  

Responsibility 

I believe that, in most circumstances, working for an SME provides an immeasurable amount of responsibility, in comparison to working for an MNC which can have more rigid practices that aren’t as flexible. Personally, I’ve been involved in managing all our social media platforms, whilst creating innovative content for our target audience to boost engagement. In addition, I’ve been given the opportunity to lead the entire recruitment process for the next intake of placements, involving screening CVs, conducting telephone interviews and running the upcoming assessment centres. Planning and attending events is also a key attribute of the Marketing department at ProspectSoft, including acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the whole team through awards nights.  

Culture 

A major aspect presenting itself in the “MNC vs. SME” argument is the culture difference. If you’re seeking a hierarchical, strict-process and heavily objective-dependent company, then an SME will not be for you. However, if you flourish in a flexible, change-adaptive and bespoke environment, you may want to start considering SMEs. ProspectSoft possess a culture that’s enriched with a close-knit, community feel to treat all staff as an integral part to the company’s success. I’ve been involved in many social outings that are frequently planned throughout the year, ranging from welcoming drinks on our first day to the annual Christmas party! Working for an SME may not suit everyone; however, to get the most out of a placement year, this fast-paced, hands-on approach allows for an insightful experience that won't just benefit students for their year out, but will also enable them to excel their career aspirations into the foreseeable future.  

Despite only working with ProspectSoft for a few months, I’ve obtained invaluable experiences by gaining a real-life aspect of the degree I’m studying. Moreover, I believe the level of responsibility I’ve embraced derives directly from working at an SME and I’d recommend any student to consider taking on the same opportunity!  

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If you’re looking to kick-start a career in an SME, ProspectSoft offer 6 exciting roles in the Commerical and Technical side of the business. Take a look on our website - placements.prospectsoft.com to apply today!  

By Abigail Shevlin 

(Marketing Assistant at ProspectSoft) 
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