Michael Remembers “New Co,” Talks Transitioning to Industry, and Shares Thoughts on e-Commerce

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Michael Hung joined Protiviti as a Sr. Consultant at the company’s inception in 2002. He was one of the first employees at Protiviti Philadelphia, but eventually transferred to Protiviti San Francisco, where he left in 2010 as an Associate Director. Michael is currently the Sr. Manager of ERM and Compliance at eBay Inc. and lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two children. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn. 

MICHAEL-HUNG-EBAYOn joining at the start of Protiviti:

The first couple years were very interesting and really busy since Protiviti launched during the first years of Sarbanes-Oxley. We went from a huge firm with tons of resources and moved, essentially overnight, to a temporary office space. We also didn’t know the new company name – RHI had to keep it a secret because they were trying to purchase the URL, so for a while they just called us “New Co.”

 

On transitioning to industry:

Working internally in a risk role/function at a big technology company in Silicon Valley was a big adjustment. As a consultant, I would typically interact with people with some ties to the CFO/Finance organization versus at eBay where I interact with a much wider audience, including engineering. I spent a lot of time educating employees, especially engineers on what I mean by risk, controls, and even what audit means. They tend to associate the word “audit” with finance and numbers or someone from the IRS looking at their tax return.

eBay also is a highly matrixed organization making it difficult to figure out exactly who does what and how everything comes together. My first big project at eBay was looking at our eBay Money Back Guarantee Program. I had to talk to over 20 manager and director level individuals on 5-6 teams to get an end-to-end understanding of how the program worked. My consulting background was invaluable in helping me get up to speed quickly and build out my eBay network to get a better understanding of the business and learn who to go to for information.

On the dynamic nature of e-commerce:

We have obvious competitors like Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, but there are other tech giants you don’t necessarily equate with e-commerce, like Google and Facebook, who are also entering the e-commerce space. There’s also a lot of niche marketplace players impacting eBay business, like Etsy, that are focused on a very specific consumer base, whether it’s fashion, auto-parts, or hand-made goods. Cloud services have also enabled these smaller players to scale much more quickly than they could in the past since they don’t have to support their own site infrastructure.

On the blurred line between mobile and in-store shopping:

The line between online shopping and real world retail is disappearing because of the proliferation of mobile smart phones. People can now shop and buy items anywhere at anytime.

On the unique position of eBay:

We don’t actually own inventory – we’re a marketplace connecting buyers and sellers. At the scale of eBay, this becomes very complex. We need to balance the needs of both the buyer and the seller. In recent years, we have focused on creating greater buyer trust with our eBay money back guarantee program by letting buyers know that if something goes wrong, we have their back. We also provide small businesses with access to 162 million buyers globally and provide them services enabling them to ship to these global customers without having to handle the complexities of international shipping.

Who would you like to see featured in the next Alumni Spotlight? Let us know at Alumni@Protiviti.com

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