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!

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