Aimmy Asavatevavith
Home Region

Bangkok, Thailand

Undergrad Education

Chulalongkorn University, BBA International Business, 2013

Previous Experience

Berli Jucker Public Company Limited, Big C Supercenter Public Company Limited, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Thailand)

HBS Activities

Student Aassociation VP of International Events, Asia Business Conference co-chair, Beyond Dance CFO, Retail & Luxury Goods Club, Business Analytics & Big Data Club

“At HBS, I learned to ask the hard questions.”

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Aimmy Asavatevavith appreciates the complexities of cultural context. On the one hand, her mother inspired her interest in business. “She was the only female executive in her company,“ Aimmy says. “I grew up hearing her talk about market share and other business concerns.“

On the other hand, she found that Thailand was not necessarily a welcoming environment for speaking as freely as a leader may want. “I came from a culture where it's not encouraged to talk back to those who are more senior than you.“

Four years into her career, she reached a crossroads. “One day, at a top-level executive meeting where I was the most junior person in the room, I was asked what I thought. In that scenario, I tended to wait and see what others had to say. But to become a business leader, I needed to take a stand. I realized that to be a leader, I needed to be prepared to make and defend decisions.“

Experiences that expand perspectives

"In Thailand,“ Aimmy says, "no one in class would proactively ask questions. But at HBS, we all ask questions." Her relationships with colleagues are different as well. "People can agree to disagree in a very professional manner. Growing up, I felt that if you disagreed with someone, you would weaken the relationship. Here, I've learned how to disagree while at the same time still strengthening that relationship."

HBS' famed "cold call" challenge was initially intimidating to Aimmy. "When I responded to my first cold call, I acknowledged that the material was new to me; my professor said that's why he called on me! I realized it's okay to admit that I don't know. But I can still make valid decisions based on what I've read. By the end of that class, I had changed my mind, and that was okay too."

The diversity of student backgrounds has opened Aimmy "to a diversity of topics I never had a chance to think deeply about before. On International Women's Day, I found it hard to relate my experience in Thailand to how this topic is being treated in the U.S. But after discussions with another Thai classmate, we agreed the topic is even bigger at home. Unconscious bias along gender lines is ingrained in the culture so much that it felt like a norm. Coming here has opened my eyes to that."

Aimmy's interest in retail has inspired her to look at ecommerce. After graduation, she'll return to Big C Supercenter, a retailer she had worked with before enrolling at HBS, informed with a greater understanding of alternative sales channels and equipped with ability to ask the hard questions. She'll also carry a piece of advice she got from a HBS alum: "Stay humble. It's a reminder that I should always recognize team effort and everyone who helps me. I believe I can make a difference, but I want to celebrate the contributions others make as well."