Go back

Transcending borders: Estela Ping Ye overcomes cultural differences

Estela Ping Ye | IE Business School International MBA 50th Class

Hailing from China, Estela Ping Ye acquired a desire early on to explore the world around her. Growing up, she learned Spanish at school, which sparked her motivation to study abroad—particularly in Spain—later down the road.

Her drive to immerse herself in different cultures, countries and languages only grew stronger as she grew older.

After beginning her career working for fashion manufacturing company Tradeco, Estela later joined Chinese multinational powerhouse Alibaba. Today as AliExpress’ Senior Director for Spain, France and Italy, Estela is responsible for managing a multinational team—swapping between Chinese, English and Spanish throughout her day—monitoring products and reports, and leading complex projects.

A typical day for Estela revolves around meetings and juggling the inner workings of the projects at hand. Additionally, she’s responsible for tracking products, reviewing reports and motivating her bustling multicultural team.

Her career has been largely split between Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou (about one hour from Shanghai via high-speed train) and Madrid. Having the chance to live and work in two different countries has given Estela the unique perspective of how both places operate in regard to business and consumer behavior, plus the chance to closely observe each region’s unique trends and innovations.

When it comes to reaching maximum productivity and making the best use of your time, Estela highlights the importance of prioritizing to-do lists. These days, there are many apps which can help accomplish this. Estela’s preferred tool for helping improve her workflow is DingTalk, a collaboration tool created by Alibaba Group which facilitates faster and easier communication across teams.

Estela’s favorite thing about her career is having the chance to work for a company that fosters entrepreneurial ways of working and thinking, along with a “start-up mentality.” Having the freedom and encouragement to develop new ideas, be innovative and truly think outside the box is something that she embraces.

An important leadership lesson Estela has learned throughout her professional journey is the importance of finding new and interesting ways to motivate teams. One example she implements is turning tasks and projects into clear, visual maps—dubbed with fun names—so that the entire team can understand the task at hand, and everyone’s role in accomplishing it.

Not only has Estela learned many valuable lessons throughout her professional career, but also from her time at IE Business School.

Looking back at her time completing the International MBA, one of her fondest memories is the sense of camaraderie she shared with her peers. From collaborating on projects—whether on campus or huddled together at the nearby coffee shop—to studying and learning together, the connections and bonds she formed at IE Business School are unforgettable.

“It was always interesting to work with so many different people from different parts of the world and with different personalities. It was so satisfying to overcome difficulties and challenges together, motivate each other and learn from one another.”

“If not now, when? If not me, who?”, which embodies her leadership spirit. Another quote that guides her is one of Alibaba Group’s key values: “Live seriously, work happily.” That is, strive to enjoy the work you do, because enjoying your work is a key factor in success—and one that will make all the difference.

To celebrate the 50th intake of the International MBA at IE Business School, we’re sharing stories from our impressive alumni. This impactful leader is just one of the stand-out International MBA alumni who have passed through the doors of IE Business School. To read even more inspiring stories from graduates of the International MBA, and to learn more about the program, click here.