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The Dow Chemical Company
The Dow Chemical Company
We are
Dow combines one of the broadest technology sets in the industry with asset integration, focused innovation and global scale to achieve profitable growth and become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company.
We offer
Imagine being part of an inclusive workplace where your diverse ideas are combined with your colleagues’ to deliver innovations directly to customers. Our people are driven by curiosity and continuously interested in how science can enhance people’s lives. You can expect us to create multiple career paths in R&D, Technical Service & Development, Manufacturing & Engineering and Supply Chain.
We are looking for
Are you a talented student/fresh graduate with a background in chemistry or chemical/material/polymer engineering? Can you bring your passion, expertise and experience to help us shape the future? We are seeking collaborative talents who can work in teams, listen to diverse perspectives and embrace innovation to turn challenges into opportunities. Visit and join the conversation!
// Interview 2019
Dr. Barbara Bonavoglia
Scientist within Packaging & Specialty Plastics business

Doctor of Sciences at ETH Zurich (2001-2005)
Master in Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano (1995-2001)

Scientist within Packaging & Specialty Plastics business, DOW (2016)
Application Technology Leader Hygiene and Medical, DOW (2008)
Development Engineer in the Customer Technical Support Center, DOW (2005-2008)
What are your responsibilities as a scientist within the packaging & specialty plastics business and as application technology leader for hygiene and medical at DOW?
In my role as a Scientist within the Packaging & Specialty Plastics business I have the opportunity to lead our student programm called the Industrial Innovation Campus. Within this responsibility: (1) I work together with my colleagues to define ideas of projects that are suitable for master students coming to DOW in Horgen for a 9 month internship, (2) I prioritize the projects according to our strategy and business needs, (3) I visit universities to present the program and interview candidates (4) and finally, I welcome those who participate in the program at our site in Horgen and supervise that the projects run smoothly while the students are here. As the application technology leader for one of our business segments, my main responsibility is to define the multigenerational plan of research projects that DOW needs in order to fulfil the immediate business needs as well as deliver innovation in the long term. To perform this task successfully, I work closely with customers and brand owners to understand the needs and trends, with DOW marketing to set the long-term strategy and with our people managers to properly resources the projects.
You graduated in chemistry. Does DOW also employ graduates with a different field of study?
I did my master in chemical engineering in Milan at the Politecnico and then did my PhD at ETH in the department once called Chemistry and Bio-engineering. Within the R&D department, DOW employs people from various backgrounds. I would say that we hire people from all the STEM fields.
During your PhD you focused on phase behaviour of polymer-supercritical CO2 -systems. How can you apply your expertise from academia in your daily work at DOW?
What the PhD taught me is the ability to run complex projects within a specific timeframe and connect with people outside of my immediate work environment to make sure to successfully reach the desired milestones. This experience was extremely useful throughout my career at DOW.
You were already promoted multiple times at DOW. How do you imagine your future career opportunities to look like?
DOW gives great opportunities to people who are eager to learn and develop throughout the years. I love the technical career path and would like to grow further by having the opportunity to lead larger technical projects.
How does your daily work life look like at DOW? Do you normally work at the same location or do you get to travel for work?
My work foresees a certain amount of travelling to visit customers and value chain members as well as universities and institutes. Only by keeping the right contacts with the outside world, I’m able to define the next generation projects and activities that will deliver value to the company in the medium to long term. When I’m in the office, I’m very often in contact with our IP department and R&D department to protect the developed innovation and define next steps in projects. There is therefore no “standard” day of work. Every day is different, which makes my job very interesting.
You have been with DOW for almost 14 years. In your opinion, what does DOW offer employees so that you have remained loyal to the company for so long?
DOW gives great opportunities to develop according to the skillset that each one brings. One can start in one role or one business and be given opportunity to move into completely different roles or businesses if the right skillset and interest is there. I have several colleagues who moved from technical into commercial roles and then back into managerial roles or stayed in the commercial function. If instead people show the skill set and interest to grow into a deeper technical career, DOW offers the possibility to grow within the R&D function to become fellow and experts in certain areas. The company also has a great diversity and inclusion culture. You feel respected in the company irrespective of background and ideas!
Which suggestions do you have for a recent ETH graduate applying for jobs or internships?
Be yourself, be open, ask challenging questions, show why you are different from the others through your special work and study experiences or because of special interests and hobbies. Send a picture of yourself with the CV. I like to see the face of who is applying, and a picture sometimes says more than 1000 words. Send a motivation letter with the informations why have you chosen that position and why are you a perfect match of the position you applied to. Prepare yourself for the interview for example look at the company’s website, inform you about what they do and where they set the emphasis.
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// Interviews 2018
Dr. Margherita Fontana
Global Strategic Marketing Director

INSEAD MBA in Strategy, Leadership, Finance (2008-2009)
PhD in Materials Science at ETH Zurich (1999-2003)
Leiden University: Chemistry/Colloidal Science (1997-1999)
Università degli Studi di Palermo: Chemistry/Physical Chemistry (1993-1999)

Global Strategic Marketing Director Dow Building & Construction at DOW (2017)
Chair Dow Women Innovation Network in EMEAI at DOW (2016)
Global Marketing Director Dow Construction Chemicals at DOW (2014-2017)
Senior Marketing Manager Food & Specialty Packaging, EMEA, at DOW (2011-2014)
Independent Consultant at GLG - Gerson Lehrman Group (2010-2011)
Group Manager-New Business Development & Innovation Management at BASF (2008-2010)
Project Manager at Ciba (2006-2008)
Head of Advanced Materials Laboratory at Ciba (2004-2006)
Research Scientist at EMPA (2003-2004)
What are your responsibilities as Global Strategic Marketing Director at Dow?
My key responsibility is to lead the innovation strategy & portfolio for the Dow Construction Chemical business globally. The focus of my responsibility comprises a wide value chain engagement in the market place as well key stakeholder management across regions and business within the Dow Chemical Company. The innovation drive comes from a strong customer interaction that we nurture in the regions together with my global team of experienced Marketing Managers.
You graduated with a degree in Chemistry. Does Dow also employ graduates of other fields of study (Chemical Engineering, Interdisciplinary Sciences)?
Sure, Dow employees the best talents coming from multiple disciplines. At Dow we values diversity of skills, talent and experience in order to be the most sustainable, customer centric, innovative and inclusive material science company.
How does a typical work day in industry differ from one at university?
There is not a standard protocol, it very much depends on the job, but in general what is really important is to invest a lot of time to build a knowledge and support network within the company. In Academia that network is almost given from day 1, since it might be the team where you work or the Department etc. which is different from when you work in a company since there you have to build up your network from scratch.
What made you choose Dow as an employer? Can you describe how the application process worked for you?
The people I met and interviewed with were the reason why I joined Dow. As part of the interview process I got to meet the entire team and I immediately felt I could belong to it. I got to know about the marketing opportunity at Dow through my INSEAD network. I applied on the Dow web page and was invited for the interview. The time between the interview and the job offer was only 2 weeks.
Before joining Dow, you worked for Ciba and BASF. Which advantages do you see in getting to know multiple employers?
The experience of working for different companies is a very valuable one since it gives a broad and unique perspective on the customer relationships, the market and ultimately the job itself. Moreover it helps to have a positive impact by leveraging experience and drive change for the better by leveraging best practices.
After your MBA at INSEAD, you focused on the business side of the chemical industry. What motivated you to this step?
During my PhD but also during my first experience in industry, at Ciba, I worked on many R&D projects which were requiring close customer interaction in order to advance the development. Therefore I learnt to appreciate, step by step, the work that the marketing team was doing with our customers and value chain partners in order to drive innovation. While appreciating the strong complementarity between marketing and R&D, I felt the urge, upon completion of my MBA, to continue to lead Innovation but more from the front end marketing side.
Are you profiting from your scientific education in your current position?
I have been profiting from my scientific education not only in my current position, but at all steps I have gone through in my career. A scientific education helps to tackle complexity and connect the dots across disciplines, teams, cultures, geographies, which is a skill set that is more and more valued and for which there is a shortage of. I think it is really that combination of scientific mindset and marketing knowhow that allows me to tackle all of the challenges in a most productive manner.
Your education and career brought you to Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Singapore. What fascinated you in discovering so many places professionally?
I am a very curious person and when looking backwards I can say that curiosity has been the main leitmotiv of my personal and professional development. It is who I am. I am passionate about learning from new cultures, people experiences and lives, and discover new places. I see life as a great learning journey.
You are Co-Chair of the Dow Women Innovation Network EMEAI. Can you tell us more about that?
For 2 years I have the privilege to lead the Women Innovation Network with the mission of advancing female leadership development within Dow across the EMEAI region. Dow Vision is that of being the most sustainable, customer centric and inclusive Material Science Company. In order to achieve our ambition as a company we need to continue to hire, develop and retain a very diverse work force of talented people which more and more needs to include female leaders at all levels in the organization.
Which suggestions do you have for a recent ETH graduate applying for jobs or internships?
I would suggest to proactively use the Alumni network to get to know the companies and the job they want to target, since the job description might not tell the full story about the culture and the environment that the company offers, which at the end is the most important factor for further development and growth opportunities.
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Dr. Peter Sandkuehler
Application Technology Leader Packaging

PhD in Colloidal Aggregation at ETH Zurich (2000-2004)

Application Technology Leader Packaging - Pack Studio at DOW (2013)
F&SP TS&D Group Leader at DOW (2011-2013)
Research Specialist at DOW (2004-2011)
Scientist at DOW (2008-2011)
What are your responsibilities as Application Technology Leader Packaging at Dow?
As the application technology leader for packaging I am part of the technical service and development (TS&D) organization in the Packaging and Specialty Plastics Business of Dow. The TS&D team is the interface between our customer’s technical team and the Dow R&D groups which develop new products. The responsibilities of the application technology leader include to understand current and future performance requirements for Dow products, which are used in the various market applications to produce films like for meat packaging. Based on these insights from the market on future packaging technology we together with R&D are then able to design new products which will help to address these performance requirements.
You graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Does Dow also employ graduates of other fields of study (Chemistry, Interdisciplinary Sciences)?
Dow does employ graduates from various fields of study. The profile of a candidate Dow looks for depends very much on the specific job description. For example, in catalyst research the typical field of study is chemistry with a focus on catalysis; in process research, the profile is rather chemical engineers, whereas in product development or application technology, where I am working, material science or more specifically polymer science is a common education. In Dow’s research group of Engineering Sciences and Core R&D the breath of fields of expertise are even broader, with mechanical engineers, biologists, physicists and of course again various branches of chemistry being part of the teams.
How does a typical work day in industry differ from one at university?
In my experience as a graduate student or post-doc you are focused on your specific research targets and dedicate most of your time on advancing your project. In industry, there is probably a wider range of job descriptions in the research & development area: whereas the work day of a Core R&D researcher may be similar to a senior university researcher position, the projects are defined with the business side in mind and there is a clear focus to turn the R&D work into products and commercial opportunities. There are as well technical and application development roles like the one I hold, with many external & customer contacts to understand market needs and what polymer and chemical products will serve the industry in the future. In addition, collaboration and information exchange within the industry networks is essential to gain an in depth understanding of the broader technology field and the changes it continuously undergoes. Hence often there are very dynamic changes on what you need to take care of during a work day with multiple conflicting objectives. Learning how to manage priorities is something very important in industry.
What made you choose Dow as an employer? Can you describe how the application process worked for you?
After my PhD at ETH I had considered both staying in academia and joining industry. Dow started offering at that time a Research assignment program for new hires in Europe and I got the chance to be part of it. I was exposed to different business R&D groups working for them on development projects. This was a great entry. During application, I had sent my CV both to colleagues from ETH already working for Dow and as well submitted it to the Dow job application internet page. I had phone interviews and was then invited to personal interviews in Horgen. Through the interviews and the people I met I was convinced Dow would be a great start for my career in industry. Sometime after the personal interview I actually got a job offer with the request to start in a few month time. I was lucky to be able to bridge this time still at the ETH completing some projects. The key point in applications is to use as many channels as available to raise the interest of the company – then there needs to be an actual position open for which you are the best candidate.
You joined Dow right after obtaining your PhD. Which advantages did you have from staying with the same employer long-term?
In large multinational companies like Dow the broad network you develop over the years is very important to for example progress with projects and to develop new products. You can’t do this by yourself, you need colleagues from various functions, including sales and manufacturing. In addition, you have opportunities to hold various positions over time giving you a broad experience even across functions like R&D, marketing, and product management, which help you grow personally and professionally.
You have worked for Dow both in Spain and in Switzerland. Which differences did you notice and what did you take away from the experience abroad?
Every country has its culture and style and it has been wonderful to be able to live several years in Spain and learning, among other things, the language. With curiosity you appreciate how to live and work in a new environment and the many opportunities this offers. Dow, being a very international company, allows you to increase your respect and sensitivity to different viewpoints and cultures especially by such an experience abroad. You appreciate diversity and become more inclusive towards your colleagues.
How did your responsibilities change during your career at Dow?
In the first years in the TS&D department I was working with customers in Europe and had responsibility for specific development projects. Later I had the opportunity to lead a team that was developing FEM models (finite-element method[MOU1] ) to predict and then prevent bursting of stand up pouches dropped from supermarket shelves in order to be able to avoid spillage of product. Now I am working with global teams in my current role as application technology leader.
During your PhD with Professor Morbidelli here at ETH, your research focused on colloidal aggregation. How did you benefit from what you learned there in an industrial setting?
The most important thing you can learn during PhD is to work independently, and to structure your research. You need to learn how to learn. The specific topic you work on is the tool to do that. There are of course highly specialized fields where the expertise you gain during PhD is applicable to your later work in industry, but I think more often you will rely on your broader technical understanding and your ability to learn rather than to rely on your specific PhD research.
As a chemical engineer pursuing a career in industry, a PhD is not always a necessity. Did the title help you when applying for a job?
This depends on the industry and the company; in some companies titles may matter, in others lesser so. A successful PhD is a demonstration that you have worked independently. This is valuable to companies who want to employ candidates with such additional skill sets versus a graduate without PhD. I recommend that you should go for a PhD because you enjoy research, and not because you think it will help your career to advance faster in industry. That depends more on your personality.
Which suggestions do you have for a recent ETH graduate applying for jobs or internships?
Be as well prepared as you can, keep an open mind, don’t give up. One trait in young scientists and engineers which is most valuable: Critical Thinking!
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