UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Alum clicks with Google in China


A reputation for entrepreneurship attracted Ann Wang (MBA ’06) to UNC Kenan-Flagler, so it’s fitting that she has taken on an entrepreneurial role for Google as the head of the Online Partnerships Group of Greater China and Korea

Wang and her team focus on growing Google’s Ads Network, in part by building and maintaining strong partnerships with publishers and developers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Forging tight partnerships with publishers and developers is critical, as spending on search and display advertising in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow 15-20 percent this year, according to a study by Covario.

Wang has a strong track record of experience in sales, marketing and general management in the high-tech industry. She worked with Intel and Nokia in sales and marketing positions, and ran overall business operations for Comba Telecom Shanghai, a leading Asian telecom infrastructure provider.

Wang joined Google in 2007, and now runs Google’s AdSense and Admob ads networks and other related partnership business in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Under her leadership, AdSense and Admob experienced substantial growth and became one of the most influential online and mobile ads networks in Greater China and Korea. Wang was recently recognized with the “2012 China Ad100 Influential People” award, an award to recognize 100 most impactful people in digital advertising in China.

Wang’s leadership role has continued to grow at Google. She moved from leading the small and middle AdSense partnerships business for Greater China as online sales and operations manager, to head overall of AdSense, Greater China. Her role expanded to head of Adsense for both Greater China and Korea, and now is head of the Online Partnerships Group and its more comprehensive business portfolio.

Experiences at UNC Kenan-Flagler helped Wang succeed at Google and throughout her career. “Given my general management career aspirations, I tried to expose myself to a broad curriculum, and I received very comprehensive business training in my MBA studies,” said Wang.

“But what helped me most is the exposure I received in learning from people from all over the world: professors, classmates, alumni and School visitors. I learned a great deal about global diversity, and I learned to appreciate and enjoy different perspectives. Google itself is a very global company and my current role involves extensive communication and teamwork with colleagues across the world. My experience in Chapel Hill definitely has been a huge benefit in enabling me to work effectively with people with diversified market and cultural backgrounds.”

Wang enjoyed the people and the academic environment in Chapel Hill. “The professors are truly focused on teaching and they’re extremely approachable,” she said. “The School really focuses on teaching, instead of pure academic research.”

Wang grew up in Jinan in Shandong province and graduated from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

She encourages Chinese students to study abroad, especially for MBA programs, to gain exposure to diverse perspectives from educators, practitioners and students. In fact, the diversity of the UNC Kenan-Flagler community is a great way for students to position themselves to succeed in the global economy, Wang said. “We can read same case studies and textbooks from any part of the world, but the real exposure to people – professors, alumni, classmates and visitors) makes a huge difference in learning quality.”

Wang learned about the inner workings of Wall Street from the first-hand experiences of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s finance professors. She also benefited from meeting with and listening to corporate leaders who came to campus and spoke about current business challenges, she said. “It’s difficult to get those types of personal perspectives at business schools in China.”

Staying Connected

Even though she’s based in Beijing and travels frequently, Wang remains very involved with UNC Kenan-Flagler. In addition to her involvement in recruitment initiatives with students in Beijing, she advises UNC Kenan-Flagler on expanded involvement in China by serving as a bridge to corporate relationships and academic partnerships.

“I was given so much help and support when I was a student in Chapel Hill that it’s a great pleasure and honor for me to give back to the School,” said Wang.

Wang also serves on UNC Kenan-Flagler’s International Board of Advisors (IBOA), whose members live in 17 countries and meet virtually. Since Wang and the other alumni leaders navigate international business issues on a daily basis, they are uniquely positioned to assist the School as it deepens its focus on globalization. “It’s great to keep a close connection with Kenan-Flagler and it’s exciting to receive updates on the progress it is making,” says Wang, who appreciates the opportunity to learn from other IBOA members’ rich perspectives. “I’ve learned a great deal about different markets and industries and it is definitely a rewarding experience for me.”

Wang’s involvement with her alma mater doesn’t end there. She recently worked on a Global Business Projectwith UNC Kenan-Flagler students who analyzed some of the key differences between major social media companies in China and the United States. Students analyzed the offerings of key social media companies as well as user behaviors in both markets.

“It is a win-win project for students and for Google,” says Wang. The students gained unique exposure and insights into Internet companies operating in two of the world’s biggest markets. Plus, the chance to work for a few weeks in one of Google’s offices in China gave students a close-up look at how the company operates, its environment and how its people are making a business impact.

Looking back on her time in Chapel Hill, Wang says another aspect of living in North Carolina that she found rewarding is the easy-going pace. “After studying and living a hectic life for 10 years in Beijing and Shanghai, moving to a natural place like Chapel Hill offered me a great two-year break,” says Wang. “Over time, the pace allowed me to slow down and it helped me learn how to enjoy life in Chapel Hill, which has been a huge positive impact in my current professional and personal life.”