Derek Faughn ‘84
will present the USI College of Business Alumni in Residence program, “Whose Career is it Anyway?” on Wednesday, February 1.
Faughn has been employed with Mead Johnson since 1977, taking a job as a lab technician right out of high school. Now senior director for information management at Mead Johnson, he never intended to go to college.
“My boss encouraged me to take a class, and I did that for five-and-a-half years at night. Then, I took a year off from work and completed 44 hours in two semesters and a summer session. It was a walk in the park compared to going to work full time and doing nine hours at night,” he said.
Faughn finished a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in 1984. When he first enrolled at USI, he was unsure of a major.
“We started to automate the lab, and I just naturally got interested in writing the programs to control lab instrumentation,” he said.
After completing the undergraduate degree, Faughn went back to Mead Johnson as a programmer.
As senior director for information management, he is responsible for information management for Mead Johnson on a global basis and for information management for all of Bristol-Myers Squibb in the Asia-Pacific region. He manages one division (Mead Johnson) globally and five divisions (Mead Johnson, worldwide medicines, technical operations, medical imaging, and consumer medicine) regionally. He supervises about 100 employees in 16 countries.
His responsibilities keep him on the go. Faughn is in the Asia-Pacific region four to six times a year, staying up to three weeks at a time.
“It’s challenging from a cultural perspective. The countries from Japan to China to Taiwan to Thailand have diverse cultural backgrounds and interesting bureaucracies. The differences from one country to another in Asia-Pacific can be significant,” he said.
Faughn said it is becoming more difficult for CIS graduates to find entry-level positions in large multinational corporations due to global sourcing. Entry-level jobs with small or regional companies in metropolitan markets offer good training opportunities. Multinational companies often seek individuals with three-to-five years of experience to handle more senior responsibilities.
“Learn as much as you can, and volunteer for as much as you can. If your track is technical, go back and get an MBA. Then Fortune 500 companies are going to be more interested in you,” he advised.
Faughn enjoys working at Mead Johnson because he believes in its mission to extend and enhance human life. “Most people don’t know that we’re the number-one infant formula company in the United States and that we make special formulas for babies with serious feeding problems and disorders,” he said.
He also praised the company for rewarding and recognizing employees. “If you make decisions based on the best interests of the company and you perform well, you will be rewarded,” he said.
Faughn will present the Alumni in Residence program at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. Wednesday, February 1, in Carter Hall in the University Center.
For more information, contact Nancy Bizal at 812/464-1801.