I visited the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy (articles here and here) and sent a couple of this year’s students some questions. Below are the answers of xxxx.
I am from Singapore; graduated from National University of Singapore majoring in Chemical Engineering. Started my career in FMCG, with Procter & Gamble, working on business strategy for 4 years. Following that, moved to China to join Alibaba and have since worked in Tmall Global and Ant Financial.
Q1: How did you hear about the ALGA program?
LinkedIn used to have a “Discover” function, and AGLA was served as the first on that list. Serendipity.
Q2: What groups have you worked in at Alibaba?
Tmall Global and Ant Financial
Q3: Describe your experiences in these groups and what you did.
I was doing business development at Tmall Global managing the Southeast Asia region. In that rotation, I work with overseas brands from Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia to establish their presence in China via cross-border ecommerce.
Currently, I am in Ant Financial International working as a product manager for AlipayHK. AlipayHK is one of the several local wallets that Ant Financial partner on in Asia. My role as a product manager focuses on providing payment solutions to merchants across key industries such as F&B, travel booking, local transport etc.
How is Alibaba different, if at all, to companies in your home country?
The speed in which things move (or change) as well as the significantly lower inertia towards change.
Q4: What has been the most surprising thing about being at Alibaba? What didn’t you expect?
One thing that surprises me most was the scale and breadth of businesses within Alibaba, beyond the widely publicized ecommerce business. Cloud, mobile payment, logistics, ad agency, travel, retail, entertainment …
Q5: What has been your favorite thing about AGLA? Whether part of the program, just daily work, small or big?
My favourite thing about AGLA is the opportunity to live in China and experience the internet and mobile economy.
Also, the learning modules which includes very unique experiences such as Rural taobao and Yunan leadership trip.
Q6: What has been the biggest adjustment to living or working in China?
Language. I have never written an email nor gave a presentation in Chinese before I came to China. While, I have a certain level of proficiency in the language, having to work 100% in a language apart from English is still a big adjustment.
Q7: What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday in China?
While in Hangzhou, I enjoy a good walk in the wetlands near where I live. I also do spend some of my weekends in Shanghai to get a different vibe.
Q8: What will you do after you’re done?
I would like to experience living in a different city.
Q9: What is your favorite book, TV show or vacation spot?
Bali is one of my favourite places. Think villas, beaches, good food. Plus it’s only a 2.5 hours flight from Singapore.
Photo courtesy of Alibaba