By Stephen A. Jones
“I want to take the Uber concept around the world,” announces Meng Wang (BAFM 2012). “Everybody should use Uber and UberEATS!”
Understandable sentiments, especially if you’re an Expansion Manager for the ride-sharing company’s increasingly popular food delivery service.
“I was part of the team that launched the UberEATS App’s global debut in Toronto in December 2015,” reports the UW grad, currently based in New York City. “It was my baby from the start, and now my role is to take it to places that don't have it yet.”
“UberEATS leverages our existing driver base to partner with the best local restaurants—and deliver a magical experience to our customers,” she adds.
In four cities in Canada, including Mississauga, local residents can order from hundreds of restaurants, and see their order delivered faster than they can say “I’M STARVING!”
UberEATS currently operates in more than 25 cities around the world, including New York, London, Melbourne and Singapore.
Expansion and Growth
“It’s a really ambitious project,” says Wang. “We want to tailor UberEATS to the unique characteristics of each city. I’m confronting problems that no one else has encountered before, and I’m solely responsible for trying to find solutions.”
The project makes for a very busy life. The UW grad works in New York all week and spends much time in travel. “It’s absolutely insane,” she laughs. She manages to get back to Toronto on weekends.
Wang predicts success for the expansion initiative. “Knowing Uber, it will happen incredibly quickly,” she suggests. ”Our biggest advantage is that we have some of the best people in the world working for us, and they consistently destroy conventional expectations when it comes to growth.”
Advice to Students
A recipient of the SAF Young Alumni Award in 2015, Wang has often returned to campus to talk to students. She made many friends with her rousing and humorous remarks at the SAF awards night in November 2015.
Along with relating her career story, she urged students and alumni to “work hard, take risks, give back, and get out of your comfort zone.” She told them how she had even turned down salary increases and significant promotions to pursue dreams—dreams that were evolving over time.
Wang reiterated these points in a recent phone interview, candidly describing “taking leaps of faith, finding incredible opportunities, and learning so much along the way.”
“I was so sure I would go down the CA [CPA] path when I was a student,” she explains, “but I got into something completely different.” She went into investment banking after graduating, and stayed there for three years.
In 2015 Wang joined Uber in Toronto, where she really came into her own. “It all just kind of happened,” she wryly observes.
Skills and Self-confidence
When asked for a word of wisdom to share with current students, she again echoes what she said at the awards night.
“I’d say take risks, and don’t stay comfortable,” offers Wang, a Lloyd Carr-Harris scholarship recipient when a student at Waterloo.
You’re graduating from one of the top universities. You should feel confident in trying things you’re interested in.
She praises SAF for developing students’ analytical skills, and for building up their self-confidence by also attending to their soft skills and leadership capabilities.
“You can take the analytical skills with you everywhere,” she observes, and the other skills are equally transportable—and necessary. “In the business world,” she notes, “you have to be confident in what you’re doing.”
Wang would like to see SAF faculty encourage students to be adventurous and entrepreneurial as they prepare for today’s dynamic marketplace.
And students, for their part, should realize that their Waterloo education can take them anywhere they want to go.
Uber Technologies Inc.
- Headquarters: San Francisco
- Profile: Ride-sharing company “seamlessly connects riders to drivers”
- Completed its 2 billionth ride in June 2016
- More than 4 million Uber trips happen each day, on average
- Active on 6 continents, 70+ countries, 400+ cities
“The company’s reach is staggering and its effect is unifying”—Time, November 2014
“On demand car services have taken off as smartphone usage expands and riders seek simpler or quicker alternatives to public transportation”—Bloomberg News, July 2016