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Key Insights: FanDuel Group CEO Matt King Discusses his Career

The evening of October 24, NC State’s Poole College of Management hosted the Wells Fargo Executive Leadership series featuring a conversation between Matt King, CEO of FanDuel Group and Frank Buckless.

FanDuel Group is an innovative sports-tech entertainment company. As CEO, King spearheads the company’s portfolio of leading gaming, sports betting, daily fantasy sports, advanced-deposit wagering, and television brands. King is an NC State alumnus and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and economics. 

Matt King (right) and Dean Buckless (left) at the event.

King was a Park Scholar and also a Caldwell Fellow during his time at NC State and when asked about his desire to double major in both economics and engineering, King said, “Engineering was a rigorous approach to problem-solving; Economics allowed me to see the bigger picture.”

During the discussion with Frank Buckless, interim dean, professor of accounting and Matthew and Ruth Keen Faculty Fellow at Poole College, King described internship opportunities, networking while studying abroad, and leadership roles as the defining moments of his career at NC State.

Key Takeaways

1. Students should ask themselves two questions.

King’s advice for current NC State students is to ask themselves two questions:

  1. What is the role of your career in your own identity?
  2. How will the role of your career play in your life?

Regarding the first question, King said, “For some, career isn’t that important. For others, like me, career is a defining characteristic. Be realistic and ask yourself the role your career will play in your life.”

In response to the second question, King believes that whether you have a six-hour day or a 10-hour day, you spend the majority of your time in the office – so you might as well enjoy it.

2. Work for people you like and respect.

“Working in places that make you uncomfortable – because they’re pushing you – will pay massive dividends as you move along in your career,” said King when discussing his personal experience throughout his career.

That said, King believes that a career is made up more of the people you work with than the companies you are working for. Working with people that you like, have respect for, and trust will make for a positive and enjoyable working environment.

3. It is okay to fail.

“No matter how good you are as a professional, there will be situations where you’ll fail. The most important thing is to figure out how to learn from it,” said King when detailing how humbling it is to learn how to deal with failure.  

King then delved into a personal experience of a time when he invested $500 million, and the investment did not succeed. “I’d never worked harder or done more work, but the end wasn’t successful,” said King.

4. Don’t run from trouble.

“You need to run to trouble, not run away from trouble. Day in and day out, there are going to be issues. If you address trouble head-on, you’re going to be far better off than if you avoid it,” said King. “If you can have transparency, you’re going to be well suited.”

About the Wells Fargo Executive Leadership Series

The Wells Fargo Executive Leadership series provides students with the opportunity to learn for the nation’s leading executives and discuss their career and leadership experiences.