July 21, 2017

Intern Report: Teng Yang at Lubrizol

Teng Yang, candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program, describes his experiences in his summer internship at Lubrizol.

The Company
Lubrizol is a Berkshire Hathaway company in the specialty chemical sector. The company has a broad range of products to offer. The additives business offers fuel additives, lubricating additives and specialty monomers. The advanced material business offers coatings, polymers, and health care products. Lubrizol is headquartered in Northeast Ohio but operates globally and has $6.5 billion in sales globally.

Working at Lubrizol, I feel like there is a family atmosphere; everyone is very friendly in the hallways. Everyone seems to be willing to help with whatever questions I have. There is also a strong coaching culture in the company. It is not hard to find mentors or coaches. Lubrizol is heavily invested in developing younger employees, there are around 120 co-ops and interns in the north east Ohio area alone.

The Work
I work under the Corporate R&D group in the Shark Tank project. It is new initiative by Lubrizol to generate new business ideas. Any employee is allowed to submit a business idea and our job is to take the most promising ideas further toward commercialization. It is similar to working at a small business incubator. The work consists of market research, business plan development, technology evaluation, and networking. We enjoy a lot of autonomy in what we want to do with our projects. Most of what I do is self-directed. A lot of our work is giving technical project a business/money making argument.

The people I work with do not treat me like an intern, I feel more like a full-time employee. They are open to my ideas and opinions. This truly show up when we are in conferences and team discussions. I just came back from Washington, DC, last Sunday on a business trip for Lubrizol. It is not common for companies to send interns on business trips. It is rare to have a day without multiple meetings; I live by my email calendars now. If you never worked in corporate environment before, this is something that you have to get used to.

Me (The Teng) 
I have a MS in mechanical engineering and four years of product development experience in the oil and gas sector before starting my MBA at Case Western Reserve University. I have learned a lot from this internship so far, and it's only halfway through. I’m getting experiences I would never get from a classroom. I’m learning how to navigate the corporate structure. Different groups in the company have different needs and concerns and we need to understand those needs and concerns to be successful.

On the other hand, I’m also applying my learnings from every class I have taken at Weatherhead. In particular, learnings from our leadership class in the first semester have helped me develop working relationships with teams quickly. I’m applying NPV calculations from our finance class to business cases I’m working on. More importantly, this internship is guiding my thoughts on where I want to be when I graduate next May.

July 16, 2017

Intern report: Cori Finefrock at Eaton Corporation Part II

Cori Finefrock is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

Hey, readers - I'm back! We are coming up on the tenth week of this twelve-week internship, and at the risk of sounding trite, I have to say it has gone by SO quickly. My final three weeks will consist mostly of wrapping up my projects and preparing and delivering my End of Assignment Presentation. Every Eaton intern makes a 15-minute presentation summarizing their projects and achievements to fellow interns, managers, and leaders on site. As with any job, my assignments have evolved, and I have had the chance to focus on everything from leading onboarding sessions for one of the 40+ new hires that have started since May to whipping up a community affairs event to benefit a local charity and bring our employees together.

During any good internship, you should learn about the company, the industry, and yourself. Here is a snippet of what I have learned about each so far...

The Business - Eaton is a $20 billion corporation with nearly 100,000 employees worldwide. The sheer scale of this company is unlike anything I have ever experienced. The company is in the process of evolving from its traditional manufacturing roots to a cutting-edge conglomerate pursuing innovation. Even in the HR function, I have needed to use the skills I learned over this past year from classes like Accounting, Finance, Strategy, and Economics to better understand the ins and outs of this corporation. At its core, Eaton is a manufacturing business, so terms like throughput, WIP, safety stock and takt time are used every day in every function. I am so grateful I paid attention in operations! Having a broad understanding of these and other business concepts have been an immediate advantage.

The Industry - As I mentioned in my last post, I am working in Eaton's Lighting Division. The lighting industry is the in the midst of a technological transformation. Not only is the technology of the lamps themselves improving with the advent and now the mass production of LEDs, but the technology surrounding the light and use of IoT are the new competitive frontiers. It is actually uncanny how closely this relates to the design project we did last semester. Our team was tasked with investigating how to take advantage of IoT and integrate it into a traditional business model. Lighting was one of the industries we researched that is doing this well and is paving the way for other industries. It has been amazing to meet (and onboard) the engineers who are thinking through that technology and whatever will come next. Watching a large company adapt to attracting and retaining that talent has also been a great experience.

Me - I have really enjoyed the transition to a large, for-profit institution. The opportunities seem endless, and there is always something new to learn. The challenges and problems people solve have a real impact on the company and its employees. In addition to enjoying working with people, which has always been a priority for me, I realized that I actually enjoy working with data and hope to continue to strengthen my skills in that area over the course of this next year. Finally, for those of you who are new to or will soon be moving to Cleveland, know now that it is a fantastic place to call home! We have missed Lake Erie, the Cleveland Indians, the West Side Market and much more while being away this summer. It is a special place to learn, live and work.

This week I will actually participate in my manufacturing experience at Eaton's Innovation Center, and next month I look forward to updating you on that, my first Atlanta FC game and my End of Assignment presentation!

July 11, 2017

Intern report: Rodrigo Mayen at Cleveland Clinic

Rodrigo Mayen in a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

I had never thought how the health care industry can have so much business operations inside the organizations, and I had never thought about working in the health care industry.

Here I am, at Cleveland Clinic in the International Operations Department. It has been a delightful experience full of learning and collaboration. The internship is designed to enjoy the work at the same time I am getting knowledge from all the brilliant people working here and getting exposure to several areas of the Clinic. It’s amazing the back-end of a hospital, it’s like the doctors are the main characters in a movie but all the back-end is a huge team working on the production, development, enhancement, marketing, etc…. of the movie. Also it has been very exciting in this internship to work with people from all over the world and to see how the mixture of cultures create great ideas based on the experiences that each other has lived in their native countries.

Each intern has a preceptor (in my case I have two) who are the ones that are in charge of the activities and the projects the intern can fit and get knowledge and at the same time add some value to the project. In my particular case I am assigned to the International Operations Director and to the International Operations Finance Director; they both had designed a path for me during the summer. I am assigned to several projects and in some of them I am having a role among the team and in others I’m just shadowing other people to learn the process and to know how things are done.

What I like most of this experience is that Cleveland Clinic is really open to hear what you are interested in as an intern, if you want to participate in a particular project or want to learn more about specific areas you are always getting exposure to what you want.

Working in the International Operations department as an International Student has rounded perfectly the first year of my MBA because I am applying the knowledge from my classes of last year together with the international business operations.

Actually from the first year classes, there are some concepts such as NPV, IRR, Diversifying, Sustainability that I’ve been applying this summer; it is very interesting how the concepts are applied in the real world.

July 8, 2017

Intern report: Lauren Nelson at Goodyear - Takeaways

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

Hello again! The first eight weeks as the Design and Innovation intern at Goodyear have flown by! My aspiration to become a business designer has been affirmed 100 times over by this experience.  I’ll frame my takeaways in terms of what got me interested in human centered design in the first place: empathy, creativity, and integrated thinking.

Empathy. A disclaimer: the closest I had ever gotten to truck drivers before testing our prototype was renting a U-Haul, so you can imagine that I was a bit nervous and unsure about what to expect when we sat down with a local fleet to introduce the devices that we were about to install in their trucks. As with past experiences studying abroad in various Latin American countries, the more I sat with our “user” the more I could understand their language, culture, and hence, their needs. Never did I expect that our hacked-together solution would produce the delight, excitement, and enthusiasm that I saw in their eyes and heard in their voices as we did our post-experiment debrief and co-creation session. The drivers revealed insights and ideas that we never would have come up with on our own in a laboratory or cubicle. This goes to prove my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quote to be true:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

My experience working alongside these truck drivers affirmed my choice to pursue a career in business design. I look forward to learning more tools that this team uses to gain insights through empathy!

Creativity.  I have long defined creativity simply as the ability to rearrange existing pieces to create something new. This shows up when we apply existing technologies to new contexts, involve our users in prototype testing and decision-making, and create for our ideal future. During my childhood “what if” was a phrase I annoyed my parents with during long car rides; today generating “what if” and “how might we” statements is an exercise that my team at Goodyear does to generate out-of-the-box solutions for complex problems involving exceedingly complex human behaviors. Each day I am astounded by the depth of knowledge that my teammates have around different frameworks and tools that can be used in the design process. My coworkers have helped me to see how necessary the cliche “fail quickly” actually is - but perhaps we can frame it more positively: “you never know what will work until you try it.”

I am further convinced by my experience this summer that creativity is indeed a skill that is necessary as companies like Goodyear seek to remain competitive in a world that is moving toward digitization, servitization, and integration. Having always been known as “the creative one” it is heartening to have finally worked on a team with other creatives, and to see that this attribute is in demand in corporate innovation spaces.

Integrated thinking. I have gotten to see this more strategic side of things because I’ve been tasked with developing a presentation of the future state of the electric vehicle market and Goodyear’s place in it. I have come to conclude that the winning companies are going to be those that can develop strategies for the future that integrate with the increasingly complex network of service providers, tech companies and startups. No longer can legacy manufacturing companies be sustainable by maintaining the status quo. It takes different business functions working together to get ahead of the rapidly changing business models and consumer preferences. I feel fortunate to have worked at Goodyear, which has established an entire global department completely devoted to ensuring that the company is not only ready when the future comes, but that it helps to create the future.

Again, it would be impossible to overstate my gratitude for this experience and how Weatherhead has prepared me for it. Since beginning at Weatherhead I have been overjoyed by the opportunities that I’ve had to engage in work that really suits me. I extend thanks to the Career Management Office, professors, classmates, alumni, and everyone who has crossed my path in the last year, and I look forward to all of the new connections, projects, and experiences that will happen in my remaining six weeks here at Goodyear as well as MBA year two at Weatherhead.