December 1, 2017, by Carla

Why You Should Consider Working at a Start-Up

By Andy Powell, University of Nottingham Law Graduate and the Head of Host Acquisition at HeadBox

I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2015 with a degree in law. I secured a training contract at a large law firm at the end of my second year, and began the Legal Practice Course in preparation for beginning my career as a lawyer.

However, it just didn’t sit right.

I felt like pursuing any other career would be wasting my degree, so I wasn’t sure what to do. All my friends were applying to graduate schemes at established corporates at the time. After lots of deliberation, I ended up leaving the course and travelling around Bolivia with some friends from university. 

When I returned to the UK, my conundrum hadn’t gone away. I wanted to use the experience I’d gained at Nottingham, but I was convinced that a career as a lawyer wasn’t for me. That’s when I was approached by a recruiter. He asked to put me forward for a position at a London start-up, which I interviewed for and got the job. I have now been working at HeadBox for over a year.

When you join a startup, the opportunities available are unlike anywhere else. Working at a start-up was absolutely the right choice for me, and here’s why.

The variety keeps things exciting

You are involved in so many aspects of the company that you are not limited by your job role. While I work in sales, I often find myself in meetings about how to improve our marketing strategy or product development. I’m constantly learning more about other departments.

You are pushed to develop

At a startup, there is no chance to slack off. If you take your eye off the ball, it will be noted. The environment is fast-paced and challenging, demanding that you keep up the pace to have the edge over competitors. You are pushed to develop as you learn on your feet, and the benefits are huge. You hone your professional skills at a much quicker pace which means, as you’re working in a small team, your efforts are clearly evident in the results.

The office culture at a startup is unique

You’re all invested in the future of the company, which creates a level of camaraderie that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. As you’re working as part of a small team, everyone mucks in to reach the collective goals of the company. When you reach those goals, you celebrate. A lot.

The opportunity for job progression is greater

As you learn on-the-go and cram in as much experience as possible, you will thrive on the increased responsibility and that thriving won’t go unnoticed. As the company grows and they begin to bring in more team members, you naturally graduate to more senior roles. When I started at HeadBox I was in the team who brings in new suppliers, I now head up that team.

All in all, working at a startup has been a great introduction to the world of work beyond university. If I had one bit of advice to offer you it would be this: if you’re unsure about what to do after graduating, don’t worry, that’s completely normal. Know that there are plenty of options out there aside from graduate schemes; you’ve just got to know the right place to look. Find high-growth start-ups on Angel List, and then see if they have any vacancies. Don’t feel you need to accept the first thing that comes along; maybe try an internship first to test the water.

Thinking about your next career move? Changed your mind about what you want to do? That’s where our  team are on hand to help. You can find out more about booking appointments here.


Posted in Alumni Stories