Does Big Always Mean Better?


Our newest Graduate Engineer, Mohammed, has been working with us for six months now, and is a fully integrated member of team AWD. Mohammed shares his thoughts and experiences about the difficult decision facing many graduates this season – which employer should I work for after graduation?

‘’I started working for Alan White Design (AWD) during the summer of 2016, soon after graduating with an MEng in Civil Engineering from the University of Strathclyde. Alan White Design is a civil engineering consultancy, based in Kilmarnock, and we specialise in Access Engineering, Temporary Works, and Structural Design, working with clients across a variety of industries.

So, what do you do when you finish university? Do you work for a large, corporate company, with a well-known name, alongside hundreds of other graduates of different disciplines? Or do you opt for a small firm with only a handful of engineers working in a small office? I will be honest, I had never heard of AWD prior to sending in my application, which I saw advertised on the careers page of the university website.

Working for a smaller engineering consultancy, I am not just a cog in a production line which can happen within a large organisation, but I feel like I matter. I feel important, and that my contribution is valued and I can see that my colleagues and managers depend on me to get projects completed on time. 


  Mohammed on a trip to London with AWD

Training and coaching is always available to me whenever I need it to help me develop my professional skills. I was the only graduate that AWD hired at the time which means I get the full attention and support of my colleagues whenever I need assistance or would like to discuss an issue. AWD are a highly ambitious company and continually invest in training for graduates and other staff. This is very beneficial for my career development, particularly when it comes to gaining professional qualifications through the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE). I also have opportunities to play a role in making business decisions, acting as a key player, and gaining a broader insight into the decision-making processes at every level of the business.


  Mohammed with AWD colleagues at the British Construction Industry Awards 2016 

Working for a smaller company, I feel closer to my colleagues and have developed a more intimate working relationship with them. This also means that my hard work and ideas receive the recognition they deserve. If you work hard, or have a great idea while working for a small company, and the company director is likely to find out about it by the end of the week, if not the end of the day. In larger companies, you might never meet the company director, or any of the senior management team at all.

To sum up, working for a small consulting practice not only offers a fun, team-orientated working environment, but it can also carve out career-changing opportunities that are tough to find in larger companies. For me, it was an easy decision to make. When it comes to choosing the right path upon completion of your degree, big doesn’t always necessarily mean better. Think about where you see yourself fitting in, and what you hope to achieve over the next five years, and pick the opportunity that is right for you.’’