3 Learnings from James Zhang

Three words to describe your internship experience: 
fascinating, inspiring, exhilarating

What is the greatest learning you will take home after your internship at Henkel?
My biggest learning during this internship is how important it is to have effective communication and accountability, especially during a time of crisis. Working in a large, cross-functional and immensely intertwined supply chain team, I experienced first-hand how constant two-way communication and timely feedback allowed the team to stay efficient and on-track even with everyone scattered across the country and working remotely. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience to see everyone collectively and calmly tackle seemingly overwhelming challenges from COVID-19 and how these obstacles really brought out the best in everyone.

Being an intern at Henkel, what do you like most about it?
The part that I enjoyed most about this internship was the opportunity to chat with not only people from a wide range of business units but also senior leadership on topics from maintaining corporate identity in acquisitions to favorite ice-cream flavor. To help me understand the Henkel business cycle better, my intern buddy helped set up more than twenty 1on1 meetings throughout the course of my internship for me to chat and learn from people in all sorts of business units like sales, engineering, marketing, and finance etc. Despite being remote, I had such an amazing time just chatting with all these people that I would have never crossed path with and learning about their backgrounds and career paths was so incredibly eye-opening. The senior leadership team was also incredibly generous with their time to chat with the interns on topics like diversity and sustainability. 

What is unique about working at Henkel?
I think what is so unique about working at Henkel is the ability to drive change, make an impact, and own the work that you produce no matter who you are. Despite being an intern for only 3 months, I had the opportunity to help drive major initiatives in the supply chain team to streamline current business practices that will impact countless business units and lead to tremendous time and cost savings in the future. All the teams and leadership personnel that I have worked with were open to new ideas and supported me with their resources and encouraged me to drive change and make an impact in the organization. It is this open mindset that is crucial in an agile organization like Henkel to evolve, improve, and stay competitive.