Meet Xian Tai

What initially drew you to the Henkel Adhesive Technologies Innovation Impact Program? 

Firstly, Henkel is such an intriguing company with such a diverse portfolio ranging from automotive to aerospace. With its global presence, you will learn so much about different areas operate as well as interacting with others with different backgrounds. You can truly learn so much about current trends and newest technologies which is really motivating for a chemist. With the Innovation Impact Program, you get to rotate between different SBUs to have a better understand where your strengths are and find a best match. Furthermore, having a cohort really makes it easier to be familiar with a new surrounding and country.

Tell us about your first impressions of the program. What surprised, excited, or impressed you the most?

What surprised me the most is how nice people are at Henkel, they really promote innovative thinking and are willing to teach you and answer your questions. What excited me the most is to really have the chance to put knowledge into practice and have the opportunity to experience real life products. Lastly, I was really impressed with how emphasis and care the program puts on helping you develop professionally and personally with tons of training and opportunities.

What advice would you offer for graduates starting in R&D’s Product Development path at Henkel? 

Some advice I would give graduates starting in R&D product development path is to really have an open mind. Not all things go to plan and that is okay because you will learn and understand what went wrong and change it the next time. Do not be afraid to ask questions and reach out to others when goals or tasks are unclear because more likely than not, they are happy to teach you.

What specific skills did you gain during the program that you find most valuable in your future career path in Product Development?

I think the skill I personal improved the most is problem solving and critical thinking. This is because there are some obstacles that are harder to overcome than others, but you don’t have to do this alone. Networking and reaching out to ask for guidance or in some case borrowing equipment really makes it easier to tackle. Constantly thinking about what went wrong or how to improve a formulation is the fundamental ingredient to creativity and innovation. I was not scared to try different materials and formulations which helped me learn first hand why some materials worked, and others didn’t.