Day in the Life: Business Development Leader at The Dow Chemical Company

There are a wide range of opportunities for alumni, undergrads, grads and ph.ds alike.  This semester we have highlighted a ton of these options through our alumni on @PennCareerDay.  To check out their feeds, visit our Storify page here.  We are excited to wrap up our semester by looking at life in Business Development at The Dow Chemical Company with alum, Matt Quale, on Tuesday, April 24th!  Matt will discuss a day in his life, and will address how he collaborates with Ph.D’s that chose industry over academe.  To learn more about Matt, read his bio below and remember to follow him on your last day of class!

Matt Quale is a Business Development Leader in the Ventures & Business Development group at The Dow Chemical Company.  Matt is responsible for rapidly assessing and cultivating strategically enabling technologies and new business opportunities to drive Dow’s growth strategies.  As the commercial lead on a collaborative team including a technology and finance partner, Matt focuses on the commercial aspects of new business development projects including market evaluation, industry trends, risk assessment and business model development.

Leading up to his current role, Matt graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 with a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering and joined ExxonMobil where he worked on hydroprocessing research.  In 2000, Matt joined the Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials Business where he worked on Product Development, Technical Service, and Plant Support for the slurry products used in processing semiconductor wafers.  Then in 2005 he moved to the Coatings Business where he led two process development groups.   In 2009, Matt received an MBA from Villanova University and became the Global Process Automation Technology Leader for Dow Coating Materials (Dow acquired Rohm and Haas in April of 2009) where he led a global team of Process Automation practitioners.

Outside of work Matt serves on the Penn Engineering Alumni Society Board and enjoys photography, playing volleyball and soccer, and spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter.

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Learning from Grad Students About Graduate School

Peter Stokes

An essential part of figuring out if you are really interested in graduate school, and getting advice about how to get there, is to talk to people in the field that you want to get into. If you want to get a Ph.D., it’s vital to talk to faculty in a relevant field. If you’re considering an MBA, for example, it makes sense to talk with people in the industry you plan to go into, to investigate what the MBA will do for you, if there are specific programs to be recommended in your field—and even if you will actually need the MBA at all.

It’s also an excellent idea to talk to current graduate students in the field you’re interested in. They have been through this process of making decisions, and submitting applications, quite recently, after all. They can share their experiences of that—and also let you know what life really is like as a graduate student. A superb resource for Penn undergraduates who want to connect with graduate or professional students at Penn in any of a very wide variety of fields is the Graduate/Undergraduate Mentoring Program, run out of the Graduate Student Center. If you go to www.gsc.upenn.edu/mentoring you’ll find information about the program, and the form to fill out if you want to be assigned a graduate student mentor. It’s a terrific way to meet and learn from someone doing what you hope to do.

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Womens’ Wages

This topic came up recently in a workshop I was leading on job offer negotiations.  I wanted to answer a student’s question regarding how to be sure as a woman, you are paid the same as men by an employer making a job offer.  The answer is… you can’t, even though it has been the law since 1963. BUT, there are things you can do to help with the issue of income disparity, including your own.

Be aware of what is systemic:

Research the organizational culture. Are there women in leadership or management positions? Does the organization say they are interested in diversity? Does the organization have policies which support issues that might affect your work if you have family responsibilities?  (such as flex-time, maternity leave).  Are the organization’s policies for promotion clear? For example, you can read a recent article on Goldman Sachs diversity initiatives.

Here is information on how to research potential employers. You can also use these tips from LinkedIn, if you have a profile on the site.

Be aware of your own responsibility:

One reason women may not earn as much as men is they may be less likely to negotiate and advocate for themselves. The best time to negotiate is when you have an offer but before you have accepted a position.  Here is more information on negotiating offers.  Learn strategies to negotiate compensation based on your value to the organization and then try.  Learning how to negotiate well is a skill you can use throughout your career – this is important no matter your gender.  Take credit for your own efforts and results, even as you recognize the contribution of others.

Do what you can do to be informed and make change:

Look outside yourself to mentors in your department or company, and through professional organizations such as Catalyst.  Here is a directory of women’s professional associations: http://www.quintcareers.com/womens_networking_organizations.html

Be aware of current data and trends. You can read articles or studies, or support organizations that are making sure this issue is in the news and on policymakers’ radars.  This is a good place to start your research on the topic – Wikipedia’s “Male–female income disparity in the United States.”   Learn about current news such as the Lily Ledbetter case or the recent repeal of the Wisconsin equal pay law.

Whether or not you are worried how the “wage gap” or income disparity will affect you, the idea that you stay informed on trends, that you understand your value as an employee, and advocate for yourself is crucial to your success no matter your career path, field or gender.

 

 

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