When Jeff Finefrock, corporate technology portfolio manager at the Lubrizol Corporation, speaks about the three Weatherhead School of Management MBA students his company employed over the summer, he doesn’t use the word interns. He prefers the term “dream team.”
Finefrock explained this when he and his colleagues dropped by to surprise and honor Lubrizol’s three summer interns, Brian Tighe, Teng Yang and Ben Forman. Forman was singled out as the recipient of Lubrizol’s Intern Prizewinner Award for not only achieving optimal results but for also having prime communication skills and asking the right questions. The award came with a plaque and a cash prize.
“I was thrilled and surprised to receive this award in the middle of class,” said Forman. “It was great to share the moment with my classmates.”
Lubrizol, a $6.5 billion company headquartered in Northeast Ohio, has had a longstanding connection with Weatherhead’s Career Management Office, which has a history of placing students in top internships at the specialty chemical company.
“When we started the program, it was called the internship program but based on the quality we see from the school we couldn’t just call them interns,” Finefrock went on. “We told these students when you come to Lubrizol, we’re not going to treat you like interns, you’re going to be part of the team.”
And team members they were. Forman, Tighe and Yang drove two programs that were adopted into the business. They were also tasked with developing an idea and pitching it Shark Tank-style. Riffing on the popular cut-throat TV show, the goal was to generate a competition of ideas throughout the company, to get creative and help grow the business in interesting ways. “We called it ‘internal open innovation,’” said Bryan Grisso, director of corporate R & D and global director of product safety & compliance at Lubrizol. “We have many different business units and they can get siloed over their own technology. We have 7,000 employees. Many of them have good ideas and we helped sponsor that.”
The students hit the ground running, forming teams, putting together project scopes and building business cases. “We now have about six projects that are going to get reviewed, so their work produced tangible results,” said Finefrock. “They didn’t just work, they achieved.”