During a recent visit, Ant Financial Services President and China Executive MBA alum Eric Jing announced a $5 million gift to strengthen the Carlson School’s relationship with China.

The gift will advance teaching and research, increase access to graduate programs, and establish a faculty exchange program. It marks the largest gift from China in the University of Minnesota’s history, and one of the larger gifts made to the Carlson School.

Sri and Eric Jing


“Eric has been a transformative leader at Ant Financial providing millions the opportunity for financial inclusion; today he has also become a transformative philanthropist with his gift,” says Sri Zaheer, dean of the Carlson School (pictured above). “More students will be able to follow his path into our CHEMBA program, the doors of Carlson School will be open to more students from China, and more academic exchange between our faculty and PhD students and their researchers will strengthen business relations.”

Jing’s gift will support four initiatives. First, a portion will endow a professorship for faculty who teach or conduct research in China. This professorship will build and sustain China’s business culture by helping the Carlson School recruit and retain top faculty. The inaugural recipient of the Xian Dong Eric Jing Professorship for Business Teaching and Research will be Supply Chain & Operations Professor William Li (pictured below).

Eric Jing and William Li


Second, it will fund an endowed China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) graduate fellowship to enable more students from China to earn a Carlson School Executive MBA through its partnership with Lingnan College of Zhongshan University.

Third, it will support an endowed MBA fellowship to help graduate students from China who wish to study at the Carlson School in Minneapolis.

Eric Jing with Students


Finally, the gift will establish a faculty exchange program to bring top Carlson School faculty and Ph.D. candidates to Shanghai Jiao Tong University to interact with Chinese scholars and business leaders through conferences, collaborations, and events.

“Carlson School studies really have had an impact on me. It helped me to expand on my horizon. It helped me develop my global mindset,” says Jing. “Today, I give this endowment to strengthen the connection between the school and China.”

Eric Jing and James D. Watkins


Then-student Jing poses with James D. Watkins Chair in Marketing Mark Bergen following class

A global leader in finance

Shortly after graduating from the Carlson School China Executive MBA Program in 2005, Jing left his position with Pepsi for Alibaba: one of the world’s largest retailers with annual sales approaching $500 billion.

Eric Jing with Carlson School Graduates

Jing, pictured right, celebrates graduating from the China Executive MBA Program at the Carlson School's 2005 commencement ceremony

In 2009, Jing joined Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay. Now known as Ant Financial Service Group and serving more than 450 million users annually, it continues to operate Alipay along with entities such as Sesame Credit and MYBank. Jing was named president in 2015.

During his visit, Jing also delivered a presentation on financial inclusion outlining how Ant Financial Services leverages innovation and technology to provide financial services to millions of customers, many of whom were underserved by traditional banks.

Eric Jing Presenting


Jing will be the guest speaker at the Carlson School’s Commencement Ceremonies in 2017. 

Jing explains why he gives back to the Carlson School