Wayne Wang (E.09)
The Human Capitalist

Shanghai. We knew Wayne before meeting him, as we saw his portrait on the cover of a HEC magazine, as well as on one wall on the HEC campus in Doha. Although Wayne is a “young” graduate from HEC – he did an Executive MBA in 2009 – he is already a very famous one, especially in China, where he started his company more than 10 years ago.

Read full transcript…

HU: Let’s start with what we call our “Chinese portrait”. So, if you were, a color?

W: I think my favorite color is red. Red means passion and it is also the color of the Chinese flag.

HU: An animal?

W: I’d like to be a tiger. Tiger portraits power, energy and it fits my profile in terms of size! (laughs)

HU: A meal?

W: Rice or meat.

HU: A song?

W: I am a music fan and I sing myself. My favorite song is a song called “Always on my mind”, by Michael Bubble.

HU: Do you want to sing us a part?

W: Always on my miiiiind… or something like that.

HU: A movie?

W: My favorite movie is a movie called Once Upon A Time in America. Robert De Niro is the main actor, it’s a long story about kids who are growing up and facing many challenges.

HU: A sin?

W: I like enjoying good food. That’s my sin.

HU: An object?

W: Steel, because it is strong. That’s what I want to be.

HU: A sport or a game?

W: I love riding bicycles, which I do quite often. If the weather is good, I ride 10 km everyday day.

HU: A book?

W: It’s a Chinese poetry book. A translation can be: “If life could be like when we just met”.

HU: A (super)hero?

W: I always use a name which is in the Chinese History. An ancient hero called Yue Fei who defended his own country.

“We use new technologies to make HR more efficient and more productive. CDP is contributing to the construction of the business of tomorrow.”

HU: Now, can you try to sum up your professional background in just 30 seconds?

W: I was trained as an engineer, I majored computer science. Later on I did a M.Sc electrical engineering and software engineering in the University of Iowa and I also did an Executive MBA at HEC, which is a great school.

I worked many years in the software industry in Silicon Valley. I worked in SAP and in a consulting firm, Accenture. Now I have built my on business, CDP group. I wrote a software and I built a business around this software. CDP group is a company using software to service HR for many companies in Asia and worldwide.

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HU: Have you coped with a difficult choice in your professional life?

W: At one point in my career, after many years working in the Silicon Valley, I moved up and became a Senior Executive with some companies. I had had a pretty good career but China was emerging so I had to make a decision, to come back or not. Fortunately I made the decision to come back and to capture the opportunities of the emerging China.

Another tough career choice was to quit my job in a big company to start my own business. It took me a lot of thinking to make this decision.

HU: And so what did you learn from these choices?

W: Your heart can be as big as your dream.

“Every one or two hours, I want to take a walk in order to see my employees and the progress we are making”

HU: What makes you happy to go to work every morning?

W: I am in the way of realizing my dream and, as the business is growing well, I feel very excited. The dream is not only to make a business, but also to have impact and to change the world. This is a big concept but there is a way to influence it and to make some changes.

Another good thing is that I see my team working along with me. That’s the best part of life.

HU: How is CDP changing the world?

W: In my opinion, the traditional way of HR management is not so efficient. We use new technologies to make HR more efficient and more productive. CDP is contributing to the construction of the business of tomorrow.

HU: Why do you say HR management is not efficient in many companies?

W: Traditionally, HR is called “Human Resources” but I prefer using the word “Human Capital”. People are the most important assets in a business. It’s a capital. And when you know that, in many business, the payroll is not run accurately and that the arrangement of employee benefits or the health insurance are not optimal, you want to bring good planning and good services. We are bringing a fast, accurate and quality “Human Capital” management.

HU: Why can you do that? What are your main assets?

W: Our main assets can be summarize by the 3Ps.

First P stands for People: our team has huge know-how.

Second P stands for Platform: we built a software platform and we accumulated many best-practice areas, which are the best business Processes, the third P.

Our main assets are our People, Platform and Processes.

HU: What is CDP’s mission?

W: It is described in our company’s logo (Managing Human Capital) and it’s to enable the business of the future and to take care of the well-being of employees. When we are working with a company, we are not only helping this company, but also its employees and utimately the employees’ families!

HU: What is your typical working day?

W: I wake up around 7:00am and I start planning my day in my head. When I come to office, I have meetings or conference calls almost every hour and I answer to my emails between all these meetings. But every one or two hours, I want to take a walk in order to see my employees and the progress we are making. After work I like to do some exercise to stay fit and healthy, so that I can work longer! (laughs) And enjoy life longer.

HU: Let’s talk about Shanghai now. Where do you hang out on Sunday afternoons?

W: To me, the most enjoyable thing is just to walk along the streets in the French Concession, because there are many trees, you can see their green leaves and people who are pretty friendly surround you. You also have many restaurants or bars where you can kill part of your casual time.

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The French Concession during the summer

There are some beautiful places on the Bund areas: you see the water, the city and people passing by. I think that it’s the most pleasant time.

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The Bund

HU: If you only had 24 hours left to spend in Shanghai, what would you do?

W: There are so many things to do… What differentiate Shanghai from other cities are the people, the social environment but also the cultural and historical elements. So I would do things around that. I would enjoy talking to people; I would enjoy the artistic of Shanghai, as well as food, drinks and nightlife!

There are two places where I think you should go. The first one is the Bund area, which combines the historical and the modern Shanghai: you have the water, the skyline and magnificent buildings. The second one is the city center, what we call the French Concession.

“I was the president of the class, I was calling myself CEO for Chief Entertaining Officer”

HU: What do you like most about people from Shanghai?

W: They are smart and passionate about what they are but they are also friendly, easy and very welcoming.

HU: What is China’s challenge that matters the most to you?

W: The environment issues and especially the air pollution and the quality of water. It bothers everyone who lives here.

HU: Let’s talk about HEC now. But first, why did you do an EMBA program?

W: After many years of work an after building my own business, I had certain business knowledge but I needed a framework to put everything in order. It was also a way of recharging myself, absorbing the new cutting-edge information and business knowledge.

HU: What did you choose HEC Paris?

W: I applied for a very famous business school from the US and for HEC. I had a Chinese and US background already so I needed a European background. I chose HEC and honestly speaking I never regret it.

HU: What did you do during your EMBA at HEC?

W: In the program there were about 30 modules and a few trips, including one study trip and a graduation ceremony in Paris.

“I was born and raised in China, but today I am also a global citizen, so my personal motto would be: “Live the best of both sides.”

HU: So you know the HEC campus a little bit. What is your favorite place on the campus?

W: It’s a beautiful campus and I loved the sports fields, especially the rugby pitch. I wanted to go there and play!

HU: What is the main thing you could take out from the program?

W: The prestige of the school obviously, but what I really enjoyed was the world-class faculty: their knowledge, their experience and the way they teach the students, that’s fantastic. I also liked the class environment, because you can communicate a lot with your fellow classmates, who have very different background. We became good friends.

HU: How did this EMBA program change you?

W: I had an academic background in the US, in China and I had worked in a German company (SAP). This HEC program gave me an overall understanding of the European/French history and business environment; it made me more global. I added Europe to my background. It’s my little globalization.

HU: What is your best memory from HEC?

W: I had many fun times, which became great memories. I had great interactions with professors. For example, one day, I was a bit tired and I fell asleep during a lecture. The professor told me: “Wayne, wake up and answer the question!” I answered joking that I was listening with my eyes closed. (laughs)

I was the president of the class, I was calling myself CEO for Chief Entertaining Officer, and I personally organized a lot of activities. One night, we had to many drinks during a very happy hour and we were so excited that we jumped into a lake.

HU: Seriously?

W: (laughs) As I was responsible for them I had to take them out of the water. It was a fun time.

We were having so much fun together…

HU: Why would you advise someone to go to HEC?

W: HEC is a fantastic school, part of the very best educational institutions in the world. The teachers and teams accumulated great knowledge know-hows. I just loved it.

HU: If you had to sum up HEC in 3 words, what would you say?

W: Business know-how. Faculty. Quality. Experience. That’s four but…

HU: It’s ok. Which advice would you give to a young HEC student?

W: I would like to quote the motto of HEC: “The more you know, the more you dare.” Once you are equipped with the best knowledge and know-hows, don’t be afraid of trying, chasing your dream and being successful.

HU: You know HEC’s motto, but what is your own motto?

W: I was born and raised in China, but today I am also a global citizen, so my personal motto would be: “Live the best of both sides.”

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