At Harris Williams, our people are the fabric of our firm — committed, tenacious, smart, and principled. Each person’s contributions to the unique culture and environment are critical. In this Q&A, get to know Daniel Wang, a managing director at Harris Williams — why he joined the firm, what career advice he most values, and his views on working in the industry.
Why did you choose to join Harris Williams?
I had been working in Hong Kong for four years with Citi and wanted to relocate back home to the U.S. I was looking for a different experience—a smaller firm with an entrepreneurial spirit. It wasn’t until I met the people at Harris Williams that I realized this is what I’ve been missing. When I came in for an interview, I saw a 25th anniversary book on the table. It was like looking through a family photo album. Being Asian American, family is very important to me, and I didn’t fully recognize that you could combine both aspects of work and family into one. It’s nice to surround myself with a collegial, entrepreneurial culture where we are working as one team to achieve our goals.
What kind of impact does the work you do have on the global economy?
If you look at our business, it’s changing very quickly. I cover Asia for the firm, so as our clients become more global, it’s a push and pull in terms of incorporating Asia into our M&A deals. In 85% of our deals, we are contacting international buyers. Global reach is key to our strategy and success, and I play a central role in ensuring we can best serve our clients in that capacity.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
It’s challenging to bridge the gap between eastern and western cultures and ways of doing business. Because of my background, I understand both sides, but it’s challenging to merge the worlds for clients and colleagues. However, it’s been hugely beneficial to bring both our clients and Harris Williams professionals to Asia. It is eye-opening for them to experience Asia firsthand and see how dynamic that market has become.
If you weren’t a banker, what would you do?
I initially wanted to work in the fashion industry while studying at NYU. My first college internship was with the Marketing Division of Donna Karan in New York. Although now I’d want to be a history teacher. All of my international experiences and travels have really piqued my interest on the rich histories of all the different countries I have visited.
What’s the best piece of career advice you have received?
When I was an analyst, one of my associates pushed me to look beyond the norm. This isn’t specifically internationally related, but you should strive to explore the unknown, raise new ideas, and always push the limit at every stage in your career.
What’s your favorite travel meal?
I usually land in New York quite late in the evening, and I always go to Joe’s Pizza on 14th Street. It’s my go-to and the best pizza in NYC. It also helps that it’s open until 4am!
What do you do when you’re not in the office?
When I’m not in the office, I’m with my 2-year-old son, usually playing soccer and going with him to Jamba Juice.