Professional headshot of MSU alumnus David Ferber

David Ferber (B.S. Civil Engineering ’94)

The 2020-21 Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series began on Sept. 17, with David Feber (B.S. Civil Engineering ’94) as the first lecturer. Joined virtually by Dean Sanjay Gupta and almost 100 Broad Full-Time MBA students, Feber not only discussed his work as a partner at the innovative consulting firm McKinsey & Company but also touched on many current trends and issues in the packaging industry.

“We support, consult and counsel many of the largest companies in the world, as well as a lot of small and emerging technologies,” he said. “The overall goal is really to create impact for our clients.”

In his role as partner at McKinsey’s Detroit office, Feber leads its global packaging service line and co-leads its global work around sustainability in packaging. He has a passion for helping companies navigate sustainability through packaging.

“Sustainable packaging means something different to everyone,” Feber said. “Some view it as anti-plastic packaging, others view it as recyclable packaging and others view it as using less packaging.

“We’ve seen this bizarre phenomenon where pretty much every major consumer product company and retailer has made a very bold sustainability commitment to get to a high percentage of recycled content in their packaging,” he said. Although making these statements and goals is great, “most of these companies are very far away from their goals.”

In his presentation, Feber really hit on how the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the entire focus of the business realm, including sustainability.

“We saw industries that had been very stable see extraordinary demand for their products to the point where factories that had been at 60–70% utilization for the past 10 years were sold out,” he explained.

Companies have started to focus less on sustainability and more on meeting demand with new hygiene standards. “We are going to see more changes in consumer product packaging as a result,” he said. “This is a really big challenge in the industry and is one that we’re spending a lot of time on.”

Feber fielded questions from almost every student, as well as Dean Gupta, and his main message to Broad’s emerging business leaders was about “making sure you’re educated and educating folks around you on what’s really important and better for the world, and what’s not.”

The Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series was launched in fall 2016 as a tool for engagement between executive speakers and full-time MBA students. The series has been made possible by an endowment from the Photo Marketing Association in Roy S. Pung’s name in honor of Glenn Omura, former associate dean for MBA and professional master’s programs and associate professor of marketing. Pung (B.A. Business and Distribution — Teacher Education ’61) spent more than 30 years as the Photo Marketing Association’s CEO and worked closely with Omura throughout his career. Two of Pung’s children, Mark Pung (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’85) and Lisa Pung Francisco (B.A. Elementary Education ’88), often attend the series events.

More information on the upcoming 2020–2021 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available via the Full-Time MBA program.