Varied and Unique Experiences Offered Through a Rotational Program

Author: Dana Newell, BS IE ’07, Whirlpool GSCLDP--Material Supervisor, Whirlpool Corporation
Thinking back on the decision for post-graduation plans I am baffled by the amount of pressure placed on a twenty-something year old. Pick an employer, a job, and a career path…goodness, we were only legally able to vote a few years earlier!Thinking back on the decision for post-graduation plans I am baffled by the amount of pressure placed on a twenty-something year old. Pick an employer, a job, and a career path…goodness, we were only legally able to vote a few years earlier!

Luckily, with an engineering degree from Purdue I was fortunate, as I imagine many of you are, to have had a few options. At Industrial Roundtable I found positions in various fields and industries, direct hire and rotational programs, and privately held and fortune 500 companies…I found the decision to be dizzying, but my parents were begging me to make a choice so I wouldn’t move back home.

After my graduation in May of 2007 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, I started in my first full-time position with Whirlpool Corporation in the Global Supply Chain Leadership Development Program (GSCLDP). This is a 3 year rotational program that has allowed me to explore multiple options, giving me a years’ experience in procurement, supply chain, and manufacturing leading up to the selection of one function for which to pursue a career. While the prospect of developmental opportunities, varied experiences, challenging roles, and the ability to test out different functions seemed exciting, I was also worried that entering a rotational program would come with a few difficulties.

My first concern was that the movement throughout multiple areas of the business each year would cause me to have a difficult time networking and establishing myself as a credible contributor. I quickly found that the skills I learned as a critical thinker and creative problem solver through my coursework and experiences at Purdue became very valuable. I was consulted to make suggestions on issue resolution, lead improvement initiatives, participate on project teams, and was benchmarked in my successes….my concern quickly faded and I began to realize the true benefit.

I was also unsure that my experiences in separate functional areas would not translate across one another to be asset to Whirlpool. In actuality, my varied experiences in manufacturing, procurement, and supply chain have given me a unique perspective and provided me valuable learnings and exposure within each role I have held. Additionally, my degree in engineering, from a very diverse and prestigious university, has enhanced my contributions within Whirlpool Corporation.

Lastly, I was unsure how rotating between organizations would provide me insight into a future career path. I have received a breadth of experience in multiple areas, and while I have not found all of them to be my true passion, I have discovered value in each of them. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that while I did not enjoy every single class taken within my coursework at Purdue, I did have an understanding of their importance and significance to the broader picture. Each role has presented its own challenges and has allowed me to clarify what experiences I have enjoyed and which experiences I am thankful to have had but will not seek in the future.

I am in the final year of my development program at Whirlpool and am approaching the time where I will be placed in my post-rotational position. I have many options and paths to consider, which can be a bit overwhelming, but I am satisfied with my choice to enter a rotational program as it has opened up many doors and opportunities for my career path and developmental growth. While successes within the working world are attributed to the hard work, “can-do” attitude, and proactive nature of the individual, a lot can be said for the foundation and knowledge that has been gained through receiving an engineering degree from Purdue University. In your future endeavors, take the time to explore all options and be open to new experiences. You will find that it will pay off in the long run.