Doug Fung - An M.B.A. on a Hunt

This alumnus is a somewhat familiar face around the College of Chemistry as a recruiter for Procter & Gamble (P&G) from 2012-2018. Doug describes himself as a man who is decently good at a lot of things, a “Doug of Many Trades.” And if you are also someone who is good at almost everything, but not especially passionate about any one single thing, then, my multipotentialite friend, let me introduce you to Doug Fung.

During college, Doug honed his leadership skills by being an officer for five different organizations. Of course, his favorite role was being President of the most premier of campus organizations: AIChE. Also, it was through AIChE that he learned about his future employer, P&G. Doug interned with the company in 2010 and 2011, and after graduating in 2012, he returned to the company for a full-time position.

In his earlier career years at P&G, Doug sought opportunities to get promoted quickly and travel the world. Though, the lack of a specific direction meant that he found himself continuously pursuing roles quite unique from each other, including computational modeling, consumer research, package development, and sales analytics.

Doug shares that having such a large breadth of experiences makes it challenging to envision the next role or career goals. Most career paths, particularly upward ones, favor specialization; being a generalist means constantly having to work hard to prove oneself and build trust in each new discipline explored.

Early in the journey to find the spice of his career, Doug enrolled in the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business to pursue an M.B.A. With less than two years of full-time work experience, he was one of the least experienced students in the class. While Doug speaks favorably of the rosy world of business school, he does find himself wishing he waited a few more years before starting the program. Business school is prime land to sow the seeds of a diverse and powerful network. And pursuing an M.B.A. at such a premier institution is like having the rain gods and planet Earth kissing your forehead to bless you with a generous harvest. Except, with only two years of actual work experience, he had little to contribute or to which he could relate, making it difficult to nurture as diverse or as powerful of a network as he would have liked. Though, he did indeed sponge up much wisdom from his seasoned peers and learned the course material well. Nevertheless, while the hard skills and knowledge gained from business school accelerates professional development, Doug believes that the formation and use of connections is of even greater importance.

He also urges those of you who are prospective M.B.A. candidates to seriously contemplate what you are trading off by pursuing this degree. By going to school, you could be losing out on 2 -3 years of soft skills development, while the hard skills that you learn from the degree could either be not applicable during your career or could be learned on the job.  Additionally, an M.B.A. is not actually required for most roles – it is just a check-mark on your resume. And if you feel somewhat lost as to what to do with your chemical engineering degree, then multiplying the degree with what Doug describes as the “ultimate generalist” status of an M.B.A. may not be the best next step.

Despite having all of these reasons for being careful when pursuing an M.B.A., Doug is not discouraging the degree. Rather, Doug simply stresses that it’s important to enter business school with a clear purpose (know what you want to get out of it!) and a strong foundation.  The network you can gain is truly invaluable and, though perhaps not ideal, your career path might require having that box checked off on your resume.

For Doug, the M.B.A. gives him more doors to choose from as he searches for his Goldilocks Zone of jobs. In late 2018, Doug decided that the porridge at P&G was too cold and decided to take a Supply Chain Senior Manager role at Wayfair, which will add another unique discipline to his experiences. Though it’s unknown how the porridge will taste at his next position with Wayfair, this alumnus is determined and versatile, and I’m confident that he will find himself in a career that is “just right.”

Outside of work, Doug also dabbles in cooking, drawing, photography, sports, and music. If you have some specific questions for Doug or just want to have a chat, please contact him by email at dougfung@berkeley.edu.

Thanks for reading,

Jessica Wang

IVP