North­eastern senior Li Buessing started his co-​​op with a water and waste treat­ment com­pany in Paris with the mindset of an engi­neer, and ended it thinking more like a cor­po­rate manager.

His co-​​op posi­tion with Veolia Water Solu­tions & Tech­nolo­gies over the winter trans­formed Buessing’s career out­look, leading the chem­ical engi­neering major to include an MBA degree in his post-​​graduation plans.

In his co-​​op with Veolia, an inter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion with sub­sidiaries in more than 50 coun­tries, Buessing used his chem­istry back­ground to pro­mote the company’s line of chem­i­cals for­mu­lated to treat water for widely varied appli­ca­tions, from drinking to cooling nuclear power plants.

But the expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity also afforded him the chance to see big busi­ness in action. Veolia’s 300,000 employees world­wide pro­vide more than 130 mil­lion people with water and waste­water ser­vices. Its clien­tele includes bev­erage giant Coca Cola.

I’m going to get my MBA and I know that I’ll go into busi­ness someday,” he said, noting that he recently applied for a job with Gen­eral Elec­tric Power and Water, one of Veolia’s top competitors.

Instead of dealing with the small, but impor­tant details, like an engi­neer might do, I’d like to look at the big pic­ture and figure out how to make every­thing work,” he added.

Buessing’s chem­ical engi­neering know-​​how helped him explain the tech­nical merits of Veolia’s line of Hydrex Chem­i­cals, but it was his inter­ac­tion with the company’s busi­ness side that left the greatest impression.

It’s good to have a tech­nical back­ground,” he said, “but I was dealing with busi­ness units all over Europe, including those in Copen­hagen, Milan and the UK. It made me see the busi­ness world from a dif­ferent per­spec­tive and I liked what I saw.”

Buessing’s taste of the global busi­ness world was enough to con­vince him to take a job abroad should the oppor­tu­nity arise. “Everyone should expe­ri­ence living in another country,” he said. “You have to be willing to get out of your bubble and expe­ri­ence new things.”

He has also com­pleted co-​​ops as a process engi­neer at Infineum, a New Jersey-​​based com­pany that develops, man­u­fac­tures and mar­kets petro­leum addi­tives, and as a lab tech­ni­cian at W. R. Grace, a Cambridge-​​based spe­cialty chem­i­cals and mate­rials company.