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

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!