August 14, 2017

Intern Report: Cori Finefrock at Eaton Corporation Part III


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

Summer is finally coming to a close and on days like semi-stormy Friday, it really feels like Fall is knocking on our door. This week I have spent my time unpacking boxes, working on an assignment for Richard Boyatzis’ Leading Change from a Complexity Perspective class, and trying to figure out how to finagle a better parking spot on campus. It seems surreal that only one week ago my life was in Georgia, I was eating lunch with the HR team in Eaton’s Lighting Division and getting ready for my final presentation.

The last month was a whirlwind, filled with completing projects and tying up loose ends. But one of the most enlightening and beneficial opportunities was the long-awaited manufacturing experience. On July 22nd, two other interns and I spent 8 hours on the manufacturing line, updating an old product model with a new censor. Our site’s manufacturing line is not the full-scale manufacturing production you might be envisioning. This is more like a boutique manufacturing line that makes test models, searches and recommends fixes for new product lines and produces small batch orders. There are about 20 workers, mostly women, who work this line 10 hours a day, four days a week. They were deft teachers and master managers of the products and their time. We rotated stations every few hours so that each worker knew how to update this particular product from start to finish. It very cool to work with wires and power tools and state-of-the-art technology. The next day my hands were sore in ways I didn’t know they could be. The women were cordial and wanted to know where I was from, how I met my fiancĂ©, what I was studying in school, what I thought of the South. Most of them are from the greater Atlanta area, or southern Georgia. They talked about their grandchildren and children, summer picnics, former jobs, and the best way to get rid of cockroaches. I was tired at the end of the day, but was sincerely proud to have a physical representation of the all the work we had completed.

Working in HR, it is critical to understand the environment in which your employees operate, especially when those environments can vary from position to position. Working in engineering it is equally important to see how the parts you designed are put together. Many of our engineering interns came out of this experience with a greater perspective on how to design products to be manufactured efficiently.

So much of our world is becoming digital and technological, and maybe even what seems permanently manual now won’t be in the future. But on some level, at some juncture, creating something will always be personal. This was an amazing reminder of that.               

As this is my last internship blog post, I don’t want to wax philosophical on the manufacturing world too long. So, I will leave with a few pieces of advice for future interns:

  • An internship is just as much about learning about yourself as it is learning about the company. Ask anyone whose ear you can catch about their experience with the company and ask yourself about your values and goals. See where the two align.
  • Do not spend any energy comparing yourself to your classmates or other interns. Each internship is what YOU make of it, so spend your energy on getting as much out of it as possible. It goes by so fast!
  • Do yourself a favor and update your resume as the summer progresses. By the end of the internship you will have a hard time remembering everything you’ve accomplished.
  • Stay in touch. During your first year of the MBA program you learn a lot about networking and how to appropriately make and utilize new connections. An internship is an open door to many, many new connections. These are people who can help you figure out what it is you want from a job, what it is you have to offer, if this company or another is right for you. Don’t let this rare chance to meet new people pass you by.
It was an amazing summer with Eaton. I can’t thank my team members and my fellow interns enough for being engaging and thoughtful colleagues.

Now comes the really fun part – applying for jobs!

Pictured above: Eaton Lighting Division Intern Class 2017

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