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I Am Just Graduating. The Big Question Is, Client Or Supplier: Which Way Should I Go?

Since I am on the advisory boards for the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Georgia, the University of Wisconsin, and Southern Illinois University and mentor lots of students, I get asked this question very often.

Client or supplier: which way should I go?

  • Is it better to start in one direction or the other?
  • Which part of the industry is more enjoyable?
  • Where can I learn more?

And of course the really brave students will ask…

  • Where will I make more money?

For me this is a real difficult question because I have NEVER worked on the client side but definitely have an opinion. (There’s a shock! Of course I have an opinion! I’m from Boston!)

First of all I am not sure you can go wrong with either choice. As someone who truly loves the industry, I am just excited that the person is choosing to be part of it. When I think about what I enjoyed and looked for in a job way back when I graduated from Hofstra University it was:

  • Learning new things
  • Working in different industries
  • Being exposed to seeing new products and services
  • Being challenged during the day

Because of that, I truly believe someone graduating and wanting to start in this great profession, should start with a supplier. I believe the learning in year one can be much greater at a supplier because of the mix of projects, industries and different methodologies that you are exposed to in your first few years. By doing this it will become a platform for growing as a professional down the road and give you many options.

There are many benefits for going the client way. You are much closer to the ultimate decision process and yes, you probably will make more money starting out.

Let the debate begin.

I would really like to hear from both clients and suppliers about the benefits of going in either direction.

  • What did you do and why?
  • Have you worked for both types of companies?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What is your recommendation: client or supplier?

I really look forward to your comments.

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