Engineering Talent Finds Room to Grow at Molex

Graduating college and jumping right into a corporate job can be very difficult and confusing for many young adults. What do I want to do? Where do I want to work? Do I even like what I studied? And most importantly, who do I want to be?

The Molex ASE program has helped many young people over the years determine many of these answers to their own personal questions. The ASE program has gone a long way toward developing applicable skills in a fast-paced, global engineering environment. Back in the 1980s, when customers were found by flipping through the Yellow Pages, this program began as the New Business Group (NBG). In 2010, leadership of the group was transferred to Doreen Cwik, who added a mentoring and relationship focus. With this change, the NBG became known as the Associate Sales Engineers; and with the continuous improvement that Doreen inspired, the program was rebranded as the ASE team, to welcome not only engineers but new hires from all majors of study, of all races and genders.

Put most simply, the ASE program is a springboard for young talent at Molex. Members of the ASE team, typically young college graduates, stay in the program for 12-18 months. At the headquarters in Lisle, the team works together in an area affectionately known as “the Pit”. This open-style environment provides a space for collaboration, learning, friendship-building and professional development. Throughout their tenure in the Pit, ASEs are tasked with understanding the global structure of the company and our products, meeting and forming relationships with hundreds of employees across the organization and – most importantly – driving a customer-first mental model that enables customers to succeed as they design Molex parts into their products. This includes answering customer design questions, providing technical documents, and suggesting product placements, all while growing their internal network by learning who to contact to accomplish the requirements of the role.

To build those relationships, ASEs often initiate knowledge shares with different Molex employees to learn more about their path through the company and their current roles. Based on these internal knowledge shares, ASEs are also known to take on projects throughout the company, such as streamlining current product development processes or adding widgets to the site to improve customer experience. Through projects such as these, ASEs not only develop their sales acumen, but also their product development, project management, and engineering capabilities by working on dedicated, strategic projects throughout the company.

During their time in the program, each young ASE collaborates with their manager, synthesizing their aspirations and strengths to discover their next steps. And although the role is often in the sales organization, this position can be anywhere within the company, focusing on where the ASE can best add value, and the needs within the company.

In short, the ASE program allows graduates the opportunity to discover what their strengths are and to explore new roles and identities in the corporate world. With a retention rate of 70% at Molex, graduates look back on their time in the Pit with gratitude. “The ASE program provided me with a built-in network of resources and mentors that jump-started my career and helped me to get to the role I’m in today,” says Josh Etchberger, former ASE and current Account Manager on the West Coast. “The Pit helped me to develop new skills and build on old ones, while giving me the opportunity to learn about the company and myself.”

Right out of college, securing and succeeding in a first job can be daunting. But at Molex, the Pit grows young talent, creating a powerful baseline for career success and a pipeline of smart and committed professionals driving a customer-first approach from day one.