By Jay Weiner
The son of a gas station owner in a remote Chinese province, Eric Xiandong Jing is the CEO of Ant Financial, the country’s largest financial tech company. His humble background drove him to take a socially responsible path to success, now leading a firm that specializes in access to banking, insurance, and microloan opportunities for 500 million previously underserved people and small start-up businesses.
“We’re for the little guy,” Jing says of Ant. “Science and technology are the greatest drivers of public welfare.”
Jing’s trajectory in China’s dynamic tech sector, including his place on the board of directors of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, was helped by his Carlson School M.B.A., which he earned through the Chinese Executive M.B.A. program (CHEMBA) in 2005.
“Carlson School studies really have had an impact on me,” Jing says. “They helped me to expand my horizon and develop my global mindset.”
In December in Shanghai, with 70 friends, family, CHEMBA classmates, and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler in attendance, Jing, 45, was awarded the U’s coveted Outstanding Achievement Award.
“For 166 years, our University has lifted up thousands of young people from humble beginnings to become global citizens who understand the power of international approaches to the marketplace of products and the marketplace of ideas,” Kaler said in conferring the award. “We’re proud that Eric Jing is our alumnus and shining proof that ordinary guys can do extraordinary things for millions of other little guys.”
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