János Setényi was born in Budapest in 1961. He studied at the ELTE Faculty of Humanities and participated in a training program at the University of Helsinki. He graduated as a historian, he received his doctorate degree in education at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. 

He became a researcher at the Institute for Educational Research, an innovative intellectual and research center of educational democratization. He is a generalist in all sectors of education, his main field of interest is in issues related to policy-making. He has developed a strong international professional network. He has regularly worked on projects for the OECD, the Council of Europe and the EU DG Employment over the last 25 years. Through his ongoing consultancy work, he has gained extensive experience in education development in the Balkans and the post-Soviet region.

In 1995, he founded one of the first for-profit educational consultancy companies in Central Europe, Expanzió Consulting Ltd. Since the turn of the millennium, his interest has focused on evaluation, from policy level to institutional and even training program level. He is a founding member of the Hungarian Evaluation Society. In the last decade, he has turned his interest towards digitalization, learning industry innovations and disruptive technologies, and his research focuses on new system integration models for traditional schooling.

His previous activities in higher education were restrained and focused: he is an honorary university professor; he has courses in colleges for advanced studies. He is a proficient speaker of the English and Finnish languages and an intermediate speaker of the Russian and Mandarin Chinese languages. He has been a Chen-style taijiquan practitioner and disciple for twenty years.