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