June 23, 2017

Intern report: Stephanie Hagen at Tektronix

Stephanie Hagen is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

Before starting this internship, I’d never heard of a waveform monitor or a rasterizer, let alone understood the business models they represent. That’s all changing, though, as I get deeper into my work with the Product Line Finance team at Tektronix. Tek, as everyone here calls it, manufactures test and measurement equipment from its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The best-known devices are probably their oscilloscopes, which graph electrical signals; I haven’t quite figured out how it works, but am still very much in awe of the new model they just launched. (It’s so cool!) Although I was expecting to hear a lot about break-even analysis and NPV, I’ve been struck by how much my work draws on other classes from last year. One of my first tasks was a correlation analysis that had me missing Statistics (and wishing that “call up Professor Solow” wasn’t just a classroom joke). My main project focuses on Software as a Service (SAAS), providing solutions that were previously hardware-based on demand through the cloud—it reminds me a lot of our design discussions about the transition to digital. I’ll also be working with the marketing team in developing a strategic pricing analysis. And of course, this wouldn’t be a finance internship if I weren’t spending much of my time tweaking models in Excel. After living in Cleveland for several years, it’s been interesting to see some of the cultural differences back in Oregon. The style is a little more casual, rain is accepted as inevitable, and people take their coffee very, very seriously. Not only does Tek have its own Starbucks in the heart of its campus, but it also has a “coffee cam” on the company intranet where caffeine-deprived employees can check the length of the line before heading over. It’s also just a quick trip on the MAX to downtown Portland and its hipster coffee shops on every corner. Thanks to the “summer hours” policy at work (working longer hours during the week to take a half-day on Friday), I’m looking forward to the chance to check out as many of them as I can!

June 9, 2017

Intern report: Lauren Nelson at Goodyear

Lauren Nelson is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

Four years ago as I was sitting in the office of the career counselor of Teach For America Chicago, I was mapping out my dream of becoming a human-centered designer. I must admit, at the time it seemed quite lofty. I knew most people doing the jobs I aimed for had considerable experience, MBAs, and/or design degrees, hence my pursuit of Weatherhead’s design-focused MBA program. I couldn’t have imagined that in three short years I would be applying human centered design to problems around tires at a Fortune 200 company in Akron, Ohio. (Literally, who knew a tire company could be this cool?)

My first three weeks with the Goodyear Customer Centered Innovation team got off to a great start. Here are my top three highlights from the experience so far:

  1. Global collaboration. I couldn’t have started my internship with Goodyear at a better time. My start date happened to fall in the week of the Global Innovation Retreat, during which our partner team from Luxembourg joined us for a week of norming, vision-setting and team bonding. How do a bunch of business designers bond? Over computer programming, logo creation, and competing in a “hackathon”, of course! More than anything, the invaluable experience during the first week allowed me to get to know my new teammates outside of their cubicles. Because of this, and because they are awesome people in general, it was much easier to jump into the challenging and exciting projects that I have been assigned to work on this summer.
  2. Prototyping. The one thing we didn’t get to in our introductory design core MBA course was prototyping. Fortunately that gap has been filled quickly, as both of the major projects I’m working on this summer are in the prototyping stage. I’ve really experienced how the design process forces you into a “hacker” mindset - throwing together websites and apps, testing them on real users, modifying them to isolate the impact of individual variables, and making recommendations for implementation. Key lesson: a prototype does not have to be pretty to get a feel for how it might improve the customer experience.
  3. Community Service. My previous life as a teacher and my present life as a business designer united this past week. We hosted a human-centered design workshop for local middle school STEM teachers as a part of Goodyear’s Week of Volunteering. I felt all of the emotions that come with teaching: the creative pressure of planning,  the pre-lesson butterflies, the mid-lesson giddiness of students energetically engaging with the material, and the post-lesson gratification of achieving a learning transformation and high-quality end products. The teachers were complete rockstars! They were already coming up with ideas of how to implement design thinking in their classrooms, impacting the educational journeys of hundreds of students. Needless to say, I left the workshop very energized and inspired!

I look forward to the following upcoming eight weeks with Goodyear. I hope to take what I am learning in this internship to help positively influence the academic experience at Weatherhead through my roles as the VP of Academic Affairs with GBSA and as the Design TA this fall.

And to those Cavs fans who may be asking - yes I have taken full advantage of employee discounts on wingfoot Cavs gear!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions about design, Goodyear, or life in general! And definitely check back in July for an update on the nitty-gritty of the Goodyear Customer Centered Innovation experience.

June 2, 2017

Intern report: Cori Finefrock at Eaton Corporation

Cori Finefrock is a candidate in the full-time MBA program.

If you had told me this time last year that next summer I would be living in Peachtree City, Georgia, working as an HR Intern for Eaton Corporation, and learning about the future of lighting, I would have called you crazy. But here I am! My fiancé, our dog and I made the temporary move on May 15. We have a short-term apartment in a beautiful community that is sometimes home to actors and crew associated with the nearby Pinewood Studios. Movies like The Avengers: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. and AMC's The Walking Dead were all filmed here. Coworkers have even seen the occasional movie star at the neighborhood Starbucks. Peachtree City (PTC) is also home to over 90 miles of golf cart pathways, meaning I have seen more golf carts parked outside of a Target than I ever thought I would. In addition to PTC's many amenities, we are close to Atlanta, one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., and everything it has to offer. No matter how great Georgia is, we Clevelanders will always be drawn to other Clevelanders. During our first week here we stumbled upon The Ohio Hog Company, an amazing, off-the-beaten-path BBQ restaurant owned by Cleveland natives and adorned with Cleveland photos and memorabilia. Our new home away from home!

I first learned about this internship after meeting one of Eaton's current Leadership Development Program participants at Weatherhead's Fall Career Fair. With a focus on Organizational Behavior, an HR Internship was one of most relevant options for me. I kept in touch with my new contact, followed up formally with the hiring manager in January, had interviews in the middle of February and received the offer by the end of the month. One of the immediate benefits of taking this position with Eaton was the large community of interns and seeing the operational excellence pursued at every moment of the onboarding and training processes. Eaton hired just over 200 interns this summer across all functions. Most of these interns descended upon Cleveland for a two-day orientation full of opportunities to network with each other and learn about the business from Eaton's leaders.

During my first two weeks, I have spent a lot of time continuing to learn about the business and the HR function through Eaton's many amazing resources. Eaton prides itself on having a strong culture of learning, so there are educational opportunities available to you at every turn. Just this week I took a five-hour Fundamentals of Lighting course. Eaton boasts one of the world's few training and innovation centers dedicated to lighting. The Source, as it's called, attracts visitors from around the globe. Trust me, lighting is actually very cool. Another learning tool they off is Eaton University, the company's proprietary training platform that has classes on everything from employee assessment to continuous improvement.

I have also begun to dive into my assignments, which revolve around seeking out and standardizing best practices for culture change management. By the end of the summer I hope to have developed new division-wide sharing and collaboration procedures, worked with facilitators and attendees on how to coach for and receive powerful feedback, and learned more about the world of compensation and incentive planning.



Check back here next month to read about how it is all going and about my two-day experience actually working on the manufacturing line!