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Ausanee Mahagitsiri Leonio was among the MBA class of 2000 at Babson College in the US. She now owns and runs the only Krispy Kreme franchise in Bangkok.
1.Who is your greatest influence?
My dad. As the first daughter, I personally witnessed how he worked hard in growing our family business. He would tell me that problems exist every day for us to fix, not for us to hold on to. In life, if at some point of time you feel you are stuck with a problem, just sleep and rest. The solution will come at the right moment.
2. What has been your best business decision?
The best decision that I made was acquiring the Krispy Kreme franchise, which opened up the window of opportunity to venture into the food and beverage industry. I never expected this will propel me into a path to fortune. The success story of Krispy Kreme Thailand was not a smooth journey, but the whole ride was fun. I am very fortunate to be able to love what I am doing every day.
3. And the worst?
Leaving my two-month old infant after giving birth, I was still on the process of breast-feeding but I had to fly all the way to the US to attend to a business deal that never materialised. I could have spent those crucial times with my baby.
4. Why did you choose to study for an MBA?
I wanted to be successful entrepreneur. Choosing the best school would be vital for my future career and my ambitions. I selected Babson College because it has been rated as the top school for entrepreneurship for more than 20 years in the US.
5. What is your favourite memory of business school?
Learning from top-class professors and friends with proven successful corporate experience who share business insights, best practice and real-life experience. On top of that, I met the love of my life, who happens to be my husband now.
6. What did you find the most difficult about studying at Babson?
Coming from a different culture like Thailand, I had been taught to be quiet and listen to my professors. At Babson, I had to share my experience through class participation and I found it very difficult for me to express myself.
7. What advice would you give to other women graduating from business school?
Join groups that can help you grow and flourish. I was introduced to the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) by my husband. It has initiated multiple opportunities in my career, broadening my international connections, linking me to the right business partners and helping me acquire knowledge on best practices from previous experiences. In the YPO, it is not only all about business but also about family, my whole family is actually involved in the activities and events, leading the way for my kids to gain more friends through the other member’s kids.
8. What is your favourite business book and your favourite line from it?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
9. What has been your best business trip?
It was Valentine’s Day 2009, my husband gave me the best surprise by arranging a business meeting with Krispy Kreme executives. I was close to being upset with him for not taking me out on a dinner date. It turns out, he made flight arrangements to meet up with the executives the following day. Our date turned into a business proposition, preparing the business plan presentations that we were bringing to the meeting.
10. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?
Just be yourself. The old belief that physical strengths and ability as a gauge to measure success is no longer applicable today. The playing field has been levelled through the emergence of technology and science development.
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