Agency versus corporate: what is the difference?

By: Irene Pool

Once you graduate college, you have to scramble to decide what your first job will be. Do you want to work for an agency, or go all in with a corporate as big as General Motors? These two choices can have some big differences. Knowing what they both offer beforehand is crucial to job hunting. You have to find out what type of job you are best suited for.

Here are a few points about each:


 The agency life is all about a fast-paced, continuous learning, collaborative thinking, teamwork driven, and constantly moving environment. Agencies are always taking on new tasks, and you could be working on multiple projects at once.

Going into an agency, it’s okay to ask for help. You always have a team readily available. The learning is nonstop and fun, but not always easy. Like I stated before, you most likely will be working with multiple clients at once, and trying to juggle their needs and wants can get chaotic. Your clients are coming to you for help, so they are always looking for your best. You want to study your clients, see what they have done in the past, and what has worked and what has not worked. Make sure you have put in a lot of time to give them an organized product.

What draws most people to an agency is the constant work, keeping you on your toes and learning new things. You get to build a lot of relationships and work with many different people. If you’re someone that is very organized and wants to always be on the go, then an agency might be the life for you.


Compared to agencies, corporate life is much slower. There is a good amount of work that goes into one project. You have to make sure you can work with your team effectively to get the work done. Finding resources may seem tough at times, so you have to find a way to work with others to get what you want. Also, in a corporate setting you’re able to see your project all the way through, fixing the problems that you see, meaning you can make your idea the best it can be.

Because you’re working with just your business, you know what your employers and your consumers want. With an agency, you have to analyze both those points before getting too deep into the project. You have formed relationships with the type of media your company already works with and also have a deeper understanding of your company overall.

Overall, you really have to understand yourself as a person to decide which category you fit in. You never know, you could be well-balanced enough to be able to work in both settings. But don’t let anything deter you from the other. If you see yourself as a corporate person, maybe try working in an agency for a few years and learning new traits you never knew you had. In this day and age, it’s about learning as much as you can and becoming a better professional.

Irene Pool is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. This is her first year in EMU’s PRSSA chapter. She was drawn to social media because she likes being able to connect with others in many different ways. Irene is an outgoing person who enjoys learning something new every day. She loves finding the beauty in the world and facing new challenges.


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