Here’s What You Missed: Engineering Career Conversations September 30th, 2020

With the semester starting back up, we also started our weekly Career Conversations! These are panel discussions that our staff moderates in which different employers and UConn alumni in the engineering industry lead a discussion about companies, opportunities, and life beyond UConn.

This week we had DAP and Henkel, two national companies that focus on chemical engineering. DAP is a manufacturing company that makes products sold in major home improvement stores. Henkel is a company that specializes in adhesives, laundry, home care, and beauty care. Mallory from DAP and Emma Shae from Henkel spoke about the different programs a little more elaborately. We also heard from Michelle, Zack, Andrew, and Josh, UConn alumni who also work for Henkel. They each talked about their experiences in college, at Henkel, and life after college. The CCD would like to say thank you to the representatives and alumni for participating in this discussion.

Here are some highlights from the discussion.

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Q: What internships and programs do you have and are actively seeking prospects for?

A: Henkel: We seek interested undergraduate candidates for our internship program next summer, specifically in adhesives. We also have a rotational program for recent graduates. Applications for each opportunity open in the fall. DAP: We’re recruiting interns for the 2021 summer internship program. We have entry-level chemist positions as well, based in Baltimore, where our headquarters is located. Many of the summer internships are place in our Headquarters. We recruit in the fall and open applications around January or February the upcoming year.

Q: How did you adjust to the pandemic shutdown?

A: Henkel: We still went on with our internship program by facilitating many interviews and recruiting over zoom. Our colleagues stayed connected with applicants and would also physically meet with them on a one to one basis. DAP: We decided to put our summer internship on hold because many of the interns are lab-based opportunities, but next year we are projected to make the push to resume. We usually hire 11-15 interns for a given department and hire 3-4 Chemical engineers for our Baltimore location.

Q: What is it like to a part of the Henkel Rotational Program?

A: Prism started a decade ago. It was developed to help new professionals entering the company to gain more knowledge about the company and our products. We have five tracks in which you can pursue following this experience. We are hiring 50 people for this program next year.

Q: Are there any educational reimbursement programs for students looking to go back to school?

A: Yes! Both Henkel and DAP said it mainly depends on if what you’re going back to school for falls in line with their roles at the company; in any case, there is an approval process for educational reimbursement.

Q: For the alumni, what skills did you gain from your engineering education and UConn as a whole that helped you in your careers?

A: UConn helped because of the research opportunities, networking experiences, and the incubating classroom environments that enhanced my development. Group projects help develop collaboration skills because you have the chance to work with different people. Research is plentiful at the university because it provides the hands-on experience needed for many positions, and it gives you a competitive advantage. Participating in fairs and other events broaden your network.

Q: Tips for current undergraduate students, skills they should have, and steps to take?

A: (1) Make sure to grow and utilize your network because it provides the leverage you otherwise wouldn’t have, be it for your first job post-grad, a promotion, or opportunities thereafter. (2) Some employers always look for candidates to be inquisitive about these roles; if you don’t ask questions, that will show that you don’t have curiosity, which is a valued trait to have in this industry. It can sometimes make or break an opportunity. (3) Please make sure you also develop presentation skills; it may not be something needed instantly, but over time will be helpful.

Tune in next week for the next Engineering Career Conversation. Click here to see the upcoming events on Handshake!

By Javon Adote
Javon Adote Javon Adote