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Joining an Industry Giant vs. a Start-up: Prodigy Finance Start-Up Your Summer Event Series part 2

Prodigy Finance - October 27, 2016


NYC: Tewfik Cassis, CEO, Daily Pnut; Rutger Flohil, Consultant, Bain & Company; Naveen Bazaj, Director of Strategic Development, Phosplatin Therapeutics

Our “Start-Up Your Summer” series continued in both NYC and San Francisco; debating the benefits of joining an industry giant versus a start-up. Which path leads to the most opportunities? What are the strengths and weakness of gold standard brands versus a new company?

In NYC, Tewfik Cassis, CEO at Daily Pnut; Naveen Bazaj, Director of Strategic Development at Phosplatin Therapeutics; and Rutger Flohil, Consultant at Bain & Company, shared their career paths and stories.

All three professionals used their MBAs to land their current positions at an early stage start-up, a scaling start-up as well as an industry giant.

Cassis is the CEO and founder of an early stage start-up; he thrives on energy and being an entrepreneur.

Bazaj said that for him, he learnt lessons on every corner. However, whether it is in a project that fails or a company that does not take off, it can be harder to grab attention without a noteworthy name on your resume.

Flohil, who is at a large firm, has never been short of opportunities, including switching teams internally and traveling and working across continents.

The common thread? In the modern career world – stay curious and constantly challenge your employer, whether present or future, for growth opportunities that excite you.

Meanwhile in San Francisco….

Our three speakers, John Laughlin, CEO at; Jan Plutzer, COO at Apcera; and Ted Dale, Chief Creative Officer at Aperian Global, spoke about their personal journeys from industry giants to start-up careers and how they grew through these experiences.

The first difference was the culture of working for a start-up in comparison to an industry giant; part of this process was adapting to younger generations, new styles and platforms of communication. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley were good places to make this transition due to rapid growth, it felt as though start-ups were becoming the new industry giants.


SF: John Laughlin, CEO,; Jan Plutzer, COO, Apcera; and Ted Dale, Chief Creative Officer, Aperian Global

Plutzer also shared her experience of a woman in the tech world; both start-ups and established companies were similar yet uniquely challenging. At times, the start-up culture felt overly fraternal, and finding her place was different to when she was in a traditional industry environment.

Ultimately, as with any position, it is who you work with, not which company you work for. Not every industry or company is right for everyone, so it’s important to understand what you want so you can determine whether the organisation is the right fit.

Find out about our other events here, and get in touch if you have any questions.

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