I chose to work for Eaton Corporation for my summer MBA internship. Eaton is one of the largest power management companies in the U.S. and has been ranked among Fortune Magazine‘s“World’s Most Admired Companies.”
Internship Role and Responsibilities
I was assigned to the Bussmann Division based in Ellisville, MO – a surburb outside of St. Louis. Bussmann recently just celebrated its one hundredth birthday and was acquired by Eaton through the acquisition of Cooper Industries in 2012. I worked as a Strategic Sourcing Leadership intern in the company’s electrical sector. My primary goal was to realign the company’s operating model with its organizational structure and consolidate non value-add suppliers. In simple terms, the company has a business process to plan, prioritize, and execute work. Ideally the organization should be structured to efficiently execute projects according to the operating model. However, in large organizations that have grown organically this poses a major challenge. Therefore one of my primary challenges was to communicate regularly with senior executives and understand exactly what their teams were mandated to do.
My day-to-day work involved attending strategy meetings with managers and directors and effectively communicating the progress of our project. The lessons I learned during the Rady School’s Lab to Market and Operations Management classes really helped me to shape the content I presented at these meetings. Moreover, despite my technical background in the industry, very often I had to explain complicated business issues to team members from many different backgrounds. This experience was similar to our weekly study group and group presentation in Professor Wilbur’s MBA marketing class. In hindsight, I believe the experiential portion of the Rady School’s first-year curriculum significantly contributed to how I was able to effectively communicate and to the success of my summer experience.
The Eaton and St. Louis Experience
In addition to my internship duties, I had the opportunity to experience the culture of Eaton Corporation. I participated in Eaton’s annual food bank volunteering event and helped packed over 600 boxes, which help provide meals for 14,000 local families.
I also developed a strong network of friends and colleagues during my time here. Even in a large organization like Eaton, my opinion was given as much value as any other senior employee’s.
Outside of work, I utilized most of my free time exploring the St. Louis area. I visited the Budweiser Brewery, watched a St. Louis Cardinals game, drove to various barbeque restaurants to sample the best smoke ribs in town and explored St. Louis’ variety of cultures and ways of life. What impressed me most was the city’s extremely progressive culture and assimilative nature.
When I decided to pursue my summer internship at Eaton Corporation in St. Louis, I took Rady’s Mission Statement to develop “ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who make a positive impact in the world through innovation, collaboration, and knowledge” to heart. In my work, I used skills I developed in my first year MBA coursework to perform extensive analysis on every data project I handled. My colleagues appreciated the level of rigor I applied to my job. At a higher level, I challenged myself by taking the risk of working in a new area, which is some 2000 miles away from my home (San Jose, CA). The safe move would have been working for a startup in the Bay Area, where I’ve lived for most of my life. But conversations with career advisers, second-year students, and industry professionals that I met on Rady-organized career treks helped me see that I need to grasp every opportunity I come across and get out of my comfort zone. As I finish up my summer internship here at Eaton, I’m ready to head back to San Diego feeling accomplished and appreciative for my experience.
Aaron Chiu (’16) is an Full-Time MBA candidate at the Rady School of Management. He is currently interning in a Supply Chain Management Leadership role as an MBA Strategic Sourcing Analyst within Eaton’s Bussmann Division. In his free time he likes to stay in the kitchen and perfect different varieties of French pastries. He can also be found working out in the RIMAC near Rady on UCSD’s campus.