Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IS A SMALLER FIRM BETTER OR A LARGER FIRM BETTER FOR TRAINING?

This is one of the questions that all architectural students face at one time or the other while deciding on a suitable place for training. It is also a very important question as the type and exposure received during the training will play an important role in developing the individual. So here are a few thoughts on the same –
 ADVANTAGES OF SMALLER FIRMS
  • The trainees usually have direct access to the chief architect. Will be able to observe closely how he works, which is one of the real purposes of training.
  • Will be given more responsibilities in the office.
  • Will be more involved in the design process, discussions etc and may even be given projects to handle.
  • Will get a detailed idea of running an office, including administration, accounts keeping etc
  • Trainees will have to do the drafting most often, which is good for the trainees, as they will be able to better understand design and detailing
  • Trainees will have opportunity of interacting more with service consultants, structural consultants etc, hence gaining additional exposure
  • There are more chances of being asked to work in the same office after graduation, if the trainee does good work
  • Sometimes, trainees will get the opportunity to interact directly with the clients
ADVANTAGES OF LARGER FIRMS
  • Will be exposed to larger scale of projects
  • Often there will be thorough procedures and systems of work in place, which may be a lot more professional
  • Larger firms tend to be better organised in terms of dedicated material libraries, databanks, resources etc
  • Larger firms tend to stress more on presentation techniques. Will get more exposure to latest techniques of presentation, detailed 3D making etc.
  • Larger firms tend to handle a lot more projects at a given time. Trainees will be able to understand effective delegation of work
  • Larger firms tend to work for architectural competitions which can be interesting for the trainees.
DISADVANTAGES OF SMALLER FIRMS
  • Some of the smaller firms tend to be more informal set ups and may not be professional enough
  • May not have dedicated material libraries, resource banks etc
  • Scale of work tends to be smaller to medium size projects
  • Some of the firms may not get involved in architectural competitions
  • Stipend may be less

DISADVANTAGES OF LARGER FIRMS
  • Trainees might not get opportunity to interact with the chief architect, hence reducing the exposure to their thinking & philosophy
  • Site exposure may be limited
  • May not get adequate interaction with other consultants
  • Level of responsibilities may be less
  • Trainees may not get a good idea of the administrative functions, accounts etc.

Ultimately, there is no one type of office that is best. It all depends on what the individual trainee wants, what kind of exposure he is looking for. Thus, it is important to first decide on what an individual wants from the training period. Once that is clear, look for firms which suit your purposes. Always do detailed research early and finalise on your training place.




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