Fung Feature: Shreyas Bhayana, MEng ’19 (ME)
Alumnus Shreyas Bhayana on developing his passion for engineering and wanting to make tangible impact
Shreyas graduated from the Berkeley MEng program in 2019 with a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and concentration in product design. Here, he shares about his journey through the MEng program, his current work, and his advice for future students.
What did you study and why did you choose it?
Early in my childhood I developed a fascination for cars, especially the good-looking fast kind (yes, Italian ones) which I think I picked up from my father and was later further encouraged by other tinkerers — more commonly known as engineers—that I grew up around.
That fascination grew beyond just cars to other machines and working systems in general as I got older. Somewhere along the way, I developed this knack for understanding complex systems fairly intuitively. It thus seemed like the path of least resistance to me to choose to study engineering as a formal way to learn more about new systems and mechanisms.
What made you decide to pursue graduate school?
Working as an engineer in a large automotive company is an exciting opportunity that comes with its own set of challenges. One of those challenges was the magnitude of contributions any one person can make that is tangibly reflected in the final product. Facing that challenge is what made me decide to change career directions to pursue a broader, product-agnostic, design and engineering education, which would enable me to learn about the core principles of designing anything. That, combined with the motivation to grow more as a leader in the engineering field led me to pursue the Master’s program in Product Design at UC Berkeley and Fung Institute.
I got an opportunity to learn and apply principles of product design and engineering and found my passion for human-centered design — something I hadn’t even heard of before. It equipped me with the right combination of engineering and leadership skills to help me pivot and quickly grow into the product design field.
“One of those challenges was the magnitude of contributions any one person can make that is tangibly reflected in the final product. Facing that challenge is what made me decide to change career directions”
Now that you’re two full years out since graduating, what are you working on now?
I currently work as a Senior Process Engineer for a company that is in the intersection of biotech, art and manufacturing called Mycoworks in Emeryville, CA.
I joined the company to help set up our Pilot Production Facility to scale-up manufacturing of our product Reishi — an alternative option for fine leather made using our patented Fine Mycelium platform, a breakthrough innovation in materials science and biotech. Our material debuted at New York Fashion Week last year and is backed by venture capital and celebrity investors like Natalie Portman and John Legend.
My role primarily involves designing processes and automated systems that are then installed and commissioned in the production facility to help scale up manufacturing and meet the ever-growing demand. We recently launched our first product collaboration, a travel bag — Victoria — with Hermès and are working towards more launches soon.
What are some of your non-academic hobbies/passions, and how, if at all, have they inspired your professional goals?
I’ll say tutoring younger students is an activity that has helped me hone my skills professionally. The challenge of breaking down complex math and science concepts into the simplest terms to explain to someone for the first time helps structure larger issues that come up in a professional setting. It enables me to break down large problems into small actionable ones to understand the root cause and fix it.
Do you have any advice for future MEng students?
Choose a career path that truly matches your aptitude or passion to maximize your effort versus output. Buzzwords are just temporary.