Alumni - Chris Tung

alumni-Chris Tung.JPGI am currently the Senior Manager of Marketing at comiXology, which is the largest distributor of digital comic books and was acquired by Amazon in early 2014.

Although many of the skills required of a Marketing Manager—and most jobs for that matter—can be learned once you actually start working, I can confidently say that my English degree from UC Davis provided me with two crucial skills that have been immensely helpful to my career: creative thinking and critical reasoning. Whether I was tasked with producing a story for my creative writing class or drafting a compare-and-contrast essay for Colin Milburn’s Video Games and Literature class (which everyone should take before graduating!), the hours that I spent in Olson reading books and writing papers nurtured these skills which have been useful not only in my job but also in my everyday life.

A perfect illustration of how important these skills have been to my life after graduation when I decided to move to New York with little savings and no job prospects: I started submitting cover letters and resumes, but I wasn’t hearing anything back. After a few weeks of job hunting and zero responses, I took a step back and approached the process like an English major. I analyzed everything like a story—the job postings, the font and content of my resume, the formatting, tone, and length of my cover letter—and after assessing the situation, I used what I had written as my first draft for what not to do.  Then, I started writing and submitting again until I finally started getting application follow-ups. Ultimately, I was able to find a job after 2 months of unemployment, but if I hadn’t taken the time to think critically about what I was doing and think creatively to come up with a better way to present myself to a new employer, I probably wouldn’t have survived and would’ve had to move back into my old room in my parents’ house.

To this day, I continue to apply the same methodology to everything that I do at comiXology. Think critically about what would get someone excited about your product, come up with a creative approach that engages this person, develop the idea, then step back and start the whole process again. It’s a method that has proven invaluable to my life, and I am eternally grateful that the UC Davis English department and my professors helped me sharpen these skills and gave me the tools necessary to succeed.