Pengkai Pan earned a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design and a minor degree in Computer Science from ZheJiang University in 1994. He joined the Industrial Design Group in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an Assistant Professor, becoming one of the youngest faculty members.

He earned a Master's degree in Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1999. Currently, he continues his studies at the MIT Media Lab as a Ph.D. candidate, doing research on Mobile Media.

He works closely with industrial sponsors such as Intel, Kodak, IBM, Nokia, and Sony through the Media Lab. He is a student member of IEEE, ACM, TESOL, and AIVF and was an Interval Fellow in 2000. In 2004, he received the first-ever "National Excellence Award for Overseas Chinese Students" from Ministry of Education P.R. China

In the past nine years, he founded or co-founded three companies. In particular, he was one of the founders and Creative Director of Jingdao and Tianjing Advertising Agency in Shanghai, China. Leading the company, he designed and managed six national advertising campaigns and more than ten TV commercials that were broadcast nationally from 1994 to 1997. In 1999 he and four friends founded ChinaLabs, ranked as one of "China's most enterprising companies" by New Weekly in China in 2000.

After work, he and his wife like playing tennis, taking photos, and chatting with friends.