Mark Sun

Aspiring Product Manager

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Please provide a personal bio for other members to get to know you

I'm currently the Program Manager for Pediatric Accessories and Corporate Quality Assurance at RAGE Plastics, a small (and ever growing) plastics injection molding company in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has been home for me ever since I started my undergraduate at Ohio State in 2006. Post-graduation, I left briefly for work and continued education at the University of Akron, receiving my MBA, finally returning in 2015.

My background is primarily in engineering and manufacturing plant related business operations. In my career, I've been lucky to be part of a variety of organizations, ranging from pharmaceuticals to snack foods and now plastics. The fundamentals of my career have been shaped by the ever existing goals of continuous improvement, problem solving, and customer relationships. Not only do these ideals continue to move the goal posts for myself, it also helps fuel a curiosity and desire to further explore.

I started this current career trajectory during my undergraduate degree, beginning with an internship in the pharmaceuticals, where I worked on cost savings and process improvement opportunities within the production environment. I became highly interested in these concepts and pursued them further after graduation, finding a role where I could scale my experience and manage an entire department within a snack food production company. It was in this position that I was drawn to the business side of plant operations, eventually heading back to school to receive a formal education on supply chain concepts.

The combination of manufacturing operations and supply chain created an opportunity to enter into the plastics environment, through a quality assurance role at my current company. In a small business that is growing, my role began to trend towards the product and customer relationship side. It aligned very well with my introduction to the tech community in Columbus, opening potentially new challenges for me. Although 2018 was a strong year for where I currently am, continuing to question and further explore has led me to wonder what the possibilities are for 2019.

Please provide an overview of the project(s) you'll be focusing on for the next 12 weeks as part of Unreal Collective.

My goal as a part of the Unreal Collective community is to help facilitate a structured career change, from the manufacturing environment to the software environment, primary through the Product Manager role. Moving completely out of an industry that I considered to be comfortable, to move into an industry that I've only had exposure, can be a delicate situation. 

Structure can be formed strongly by drawing from the guidance and experience of the cohort. There are also several aspects of an initiative like this, where I currently do not have firsthand knowledge of. From a resource standpoint, structure can also help control or provide barriers to too much information. At the moment, some examples that I would consider helpful in terms of structure would be:

How can I properly shape a career in Product Management? (ie., is this truly trial by fire? Or is there a common pattern or approach that would help blunt the impact of overexposure or sensory overload? Where are, if they exist, starting points where I could use them as fundamental building blocks? How, if they do, would these blocks be "built up" and where would these concepts overlap?)

How do I effectively navigate available resources to augment my Product knowledge? (ie., the amount of available content is constantly growing, which leads to being stretched in various directions. What is an effective strategy for knowing when the exploration/learning has lost effectiveness, and regroup?)

What is a method where I can simulate or drill possible real-life scenarios? (ie., a lot of learning can be done through the study of literature or examination of case studies, but what would be the way to evaluate where challenges can originate? The idea would be similar to an on-the-job training situation)