My Bradley Internship at Mattel

by Yoshi Mei Oberwetter, Senior

I decided to pursue a degree in manufacturing engineering, because of my curiosity in wanting to know how things work and the hands-on learning opportunities. I grew up building Lego sets and attending science camps. As an avid creator, I take pride in being able to combine engineering and the arts to create things that give people a reason to smile.

I have wanted to work for Mattel since I discovered I could have a career making toys. I’ve been collecting Mattel action figures for as long as I can remember — I have over 200 in my collection! Through this hobby, I discovered a toy designer on social media who happened to design some of my favorite toys, and that’s when I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

When I was given the opportunity to intern for Mattel, I was blown away! It was the first step to fulfilling my dream career.  

During my internship at Mattel, I was able to schedule one-on-one meetings with numerous people to learn what they do and what brought them into the toy industry. I had the pleasure to meet with the vice president of the vehicle department (Matchbox and Hot Wheels) as well as the executive vice president and chief design officer. Through these meetings, I learned what Mattel looks for in a designer and how I can further develop those skills. I loved that there was no hierarchical system that prevented me from talking to the higher ups.

Most of my time was spent getting hands-on experience designing toys on the Hot Wheels Tracks and Playsets team. I had a fantastic manager, mentor and buddy to guide me along the way. Mattel has an intern system where there are three tiers of people to help you through your time there and provide multiple levels of experience. My manager has worked at Mattel for 15 years with the most experience, my mentor is the lead toy designer and my buddy is a recent full-time hire.

One of my favorite moments was when my manager shared his portfolio with me, which included work in the film industry as well as Disney theme parks. It was inspiring to see how all his former work led him to toy design. He taught me that there is more than one way to do something and encouraged me to explore a variety of methods to convey my ideas. I learned that my ability to build scaled models, design mechanisms and draw conceptual art were valuable skills in the industry. This is important to me because I want to utilize my artistic and engineering backgrounds equally.

I learned how to pitch product ideas in multiple stages of the development process and I was able to brainstorm with numerous teams of Mattel Intellectual Properties (Masters of the Universe, Disney/Pixar Cars, Jurassic World, Monster High).

The most exciting part of my internship was getting the approval for a toy that I designed for the Hot Wheels Fall 2024 lineup. 

My biggest takeaway from this internship is that communication is key. If you can communicate your ideas verbally and visually, you will go a long way. The toy industry values individuals with a creative mindset, but also an engineering background that allows them to realize those ideas. These two skill sets are not commonly seen together, so when they are, they take notice. Passion and storytelling go a long way in pitching any toy concept. If you want to make it in the toy industry, sharing personal projects that show creative thinking, passion for what you love, openness to learn new things and a proactive attitude are sure to make it happen.

Bradley provided me with the education and skill sets to land this coveted internship with Mattel. Seeing Bradley’s dedication to the field I am interested in pursuing, as well as the welcoming environment, confirmed this was the right school for me.