Jing Wang (M.S. Physics ’95, MBA Finance ’98, Ph.D. Physics ’99), founder and CEO of FinTell Inc., was featured as the latest guest in the fall 2021 Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series. Joined by MBA students, Wang shared valuable aspects that have shaped his career and leadership as well as an inside look into what it takes to establish a successful start-up company.
FinTell Financial Services is a financial technology company with a mission to “empower finance with intelligence.” Formally established in Beijing, FinTell provides advanced big-data risk management products and solutions to a variety of institutions and service providers in the financial industry. Its client base includes licensed consumer lending institutions, banks, internet financial services enterprises, collection agencies, insurance companies and rating agencies across China.
Prior to starting FinTell, Wang had an impactful 17-year tenure with American Express in which he held senior leadership roles spanning key products, customer segments and functions. Following that, Wang was corporate vice president, deputy general manager and co-founder of Baidu Financial Services Group. During his time there, he built the risk management organization and end-to-end big data risk capabilities to drive profitable business growth.
Because of his experiences at highly successful firms, he prepared FinTell for optimal long-term prosperity by defining the company’s mission, brand and culture to ensure its core values remain at the forefront from the very beginning. Since then, FinTell has earned numerous honors and prizes for its advancements, including recognition from Deloitte as China Rising Star.
Wang’s time at MSU played a key role in shaping his career as a successful business leader. When reflecting on his journey and over 20 years of robust industry knowledge, Wang put himself back in the shoes of a young Spartan to cover topics that align with students’ interests, like navigating career choices and solving business problems.
He mentioned how we as people are often influenced by our surroundings without realizing it. At the age of 18, Wang started traveling the world, and his experiences in Shanghai, the commercial center of China, were part of why he eventually pursued his MBA and a business career.
“You cannot always plan your career, but I feel my entire life was spent preparing myself in terms of leadership knowledge so that when the opportunities present themselves, you can just go for it,” he said. “Once you make your decision, never look back — give it your best. Sometimes it’s not about the choices you make, it’s more about how you make the best of the situation.”
The fintech industry in China was rapidly transforming between 2013 and 2020. For Wang and his company, this meant facing the challenge of adapting to the changing landscape in order to continue accommodating their clients’ evolving needs.
“We expanded our product lines to adapt to the thousands of banks that all have very different needs. I cannot just go in there and sell a shoe to them when some of them don’t need a shoe. We actually need to design all kinds of capabilities so that I can meet the bank’s unique needs,” Wang said. “The second strategic change we made was redesigning our marketing and sales strategy from push to pull. It produced great results — during 2020 we were able to acquire 20 banks.”
As a key takeaway, he noted, “You have to learn to adapt and be comfortable with changes to be a leader in the corporate world.”
After spending over six years in East Lansing, Wang credits MSU for helping him solidify a personal value system that has since shaped and grounded him. His opportunity to gain global perspective, create a sense of community, learn a new meaning of kindness and adopt MSU pride to become a lifetime Spartan have all intertwined to build a strong foundation for him to excel.
“A lot of the time, we are focused on the results. For me, I’m focused on doing the right thing in the right way,” he said. “Making the right decision, helping others and growing myself — I believe if you follow those fundamentals, you will be successful.”
He encouraged students to leverage the opportunity to connect with other students from diverse backgrounds and explore the world; those invaluable interactions with faculty and peers have the power to make a lasting impact. Getting out of one’s comfort zone to experience new things with an open mind can mentally train a person to better adapt to their changing environment and form a bridge to drive connections with new people.
Even from across the world, Wang remains connected with his alma mater by finding time to fly to Spartan Nation to attend MSU sports events with his son, recruiting MSU alumni to FinTell’s team and serving on Broad’s International Advisory Board to continuously support our community.
More information on upcoming events in the 2021–22 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available at the Full-Time MBA program page.