Chris Young

Overseeing ‘New Vertical’ operations as DoorDash scales the verticals outside on-demand food delivery
Strategy & Operations Associate
@
DoorDash

How did you get here?

I had a few stops till my current role - Westpac, PwC, and Deloitte. I had always wanted to get into consulting but didn’t even get one graduate interview at a consulting firm (🥲). At the time it sucked, but in hindsight, the experience in different teams really helped build an understanding of the many different elements involved in running an organisation (compliance, risk, IT etc).

At PwC, I sat within Risk Assurance, focused on project and program management. The team would perform project health-checks on technology and infrastructure projects.  

I then ended up at Deloitte, joining the operations consulting arm, aligned to asset-intensive industries (e.g. infrastructure). I was on a range of different projects - document management, asset information, portfolio management, and M&A separation.

The experience was great, and I would recommend it to all - build those fundamental business, problem solving, and soft skills. Sometimes the projects aren’t what you want to do at the time, but every tough project provides great learning and can help you stand out from others who may silo themselves into a specific type of project or offering.

What options were you considering?

I always had an affinity for tech, and I honestly thought I had no chance unless I did an MBA. I had actually commenced studying / preparing for an MBA but was lucky enough to have a friend who had worked in the team and he referred to the role. In parallel, I did apply and had a competing offer from Uber.

How did you make the decision to take your current role?

A few reasons, but the priorities for everyone would be different…

  1. The team and culture; DoorDash had a really comprehensive interview process, and as tiring as it was.. it was a great opportunity to meet the team, country leadership etc. Not only was everyone extremely switched on, it just seemed like a great group of people.
  2. The growth; The team I would join (New Verticals) had a lot of ‘white space’ to work in, and an opportunity to be a part of this growth would be really cool.
  3. The narrative; A good litmus test that someone suggested during the interview process was to think about what story you want to be part of.. An opportunity to help grow in net-new areas, and be that challenger brand was a narrative that resonated with me.

What are you doing now?

I am responsible for Operations for New Verticals (think Grocery, Alcohol, Convenience). This entails maintaining an eye on day-to-day operations, whilst owning a series of metrics. Day-to-day, it will be resolving any issues or blockers that may arise in our operations whilst also planning and executing on initiatives to improve the metrics I own.

What does your day to day look like?

Day to day, working on these initiatives could include:

  • Preparing and running SQL queries to deep-dive into why metrics are / aren’t moving
  • Building and reviewing dashboards
  • Engaging with cross-functional teams (e.g. CRM, engineering)
  • Develop requirements / product asks

What do you love about your job?

A couple of things:

  • Fast cycle times and short feedback loops;
  • Metrics move viciously and quickly - you will quickly see what is and is not working. To quickly see the impact of what you do is very different to consulting projects, and also very rewarding / insightful.
  • The challenge and ambiguity;
  • Trying to understand why things are and aren’t working is very intellectually stimulating but not to say it doesn’t bring challenges but there isn’t always a clear answer why.
  • Cliche.. but the people!
  • People are so incredibly smart yet supportive - learning with and from them is the great part of it.

What do you not love about your job?

Similar to what everyone else says - it is fast-paced. Priorities change, fires blaze, and working on initiatives that don’t ultimately move the needle can be frustrating.

Also, not everything is clearly defined for you - processes and responsibilities aren’t always clearly documented which can lead to lost time chasing things up.

What advice would you give someone deciding what they should do?

  • Understand what type of role you want and why? If you can’t articulate yourself why you want to do a particular role, then the interviewer won’t know either. Do you want an ‘operator’ role, where you are in the thick of day-to-day operations or do you want to be part of higher-level strategic planning (e.g. corporate strategy)?
  • Research research research. Listen to podcasts, read blogs, look at Linkedin profiles. You want to understand the company, its history and its competitive environment. You also want to understand what roles at the company entail - different companies may have different titles for similar roles.
  • Also think long-term! Sometimes jumping straight into that dream role isn’t possible so sometimes taking one ‘in between’ step isn’t bad, as long as it takes you towards the ‘north star’ you are reaching for.
  • Initially mine was management consulting, making that jump directly from Westpac was going to be difficult so I first moved into risk at PwC which ultimately helped me get into management consulting.. which in turn also helped me get into tech.
  • In the end, in each leg of your journey you will learn more about yourself - and finding out what you DON’T like is equally as important as working only on what you think you like.

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