During an 11-week internship, Weatherhead student Hao Zhang worked on a confidential project that focused on developing a more precise and efficient tool distribution algorithm that is now used by GE, BMW, and Starbucks.
Zhang interned with Penske Logistics at a branch in Beachwood, Ohio. He worked with the innovations group within the engineering department, whose function is to developed creative supply chain solutions. The internship culminated with Zhang presenting a final project to a prestigious crowd at Penske including the department director, HR director, vice president of the division and the senior vice president. Zhang is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Management-Operations Research and Supply Chain Management (MSM-OR/SC) program, and was able to apply much of what he learned in his classes to the real world.
How did this all come about?
Zhang’s internship came to fruition through both his initiative and help from Tony Knechtges, a Weatherhead alumnus and Penske employee. Tony came to Weatherhead to give an info session in October of 2011. Zhang was fascinated by what Tony had to say and emailed him posthaste. Instead of asking about work right away, he took the time to build a relationship with Tony, getting to know him and what work he was involved with. In March, Zhang finally asked Tony about an internship; unfortunately, there was nothing available at the time.
Persistence and patience played a role
When it comes to internships, persistence is key. Zhang remained patient, a skill he had honed while serving as student union president during his undergraduate years at Guangzhou University in Southern Guangzhou, China. In the meantime he searched LinkedIn and JobBoard and he visited the Weatherhead Career Management Office to receive advice on his resume. In total, he sent out around 20 applications to other internships in case Penske fell through. In May, an internship was available with Penske; Zhang applied and was called down to Richmond, Virginia for an interview. With the foundation of knowledge he has gained from Weatherhead and his experience over the summer, Zhang feels optimistic and has little worry about finding work when he graduates in the spring.