Dairy Queen Essay

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Corporate guests in Vietnam are usually offered coffee, tea or fruit juice. But when Mai Kieu Lien receives visitors in her towering Ho Chi Minh City office, they are plied with Probi. It is a yoghurt drink that her company started making in 2008 to ward off competition by the popular Japanese probiotic beverage Yakult. “Probi,” she smilingly tells them, “is good for the digestive system and provides strength.” It and other fellow products have certainly empowered the 58-year-old. Forbes this year named her as among “Asia’s 50 Power Business Women”. Two years earlier, the American magazine had paid a tribute to Vinamilk, Vietnam’s biggest dairy where Lien is both chairperson and chief executive officer, bestowing on it the Best Enterprise Award out of a shortlist of “Top 200 best Asian enterprises”. “I felt very happy and proud at the announcement,” says Lien. “Mostly for the company, because this means more people will know about Vinamilk. It will make the company’s reputation stronger in Vietnam and worldwide, which will lead to more business opportunities.” In the 1970s, no one could have guessed that the humble milk would build Lien’s formidable career one day. Medicine was the family’s forte with both her parents being doctors. Following the turmoil in Vietnam, they were living in Paris where she was born in 1953. When Lien was four, following President Ho Chi Minh’s call to the Vietnamese living abroad to return home and help build the nation, the family came back. However, when she graduated from high school in 1970, instead of studying medicine, she went to Moscow to learn meat processing and dairy technology. “At that time, Vietnam was in a very difficult situation because of the war,” she says. “Every year, a few meritorious students were sent to developed countries to acquire new knowledge and technology so that later they could

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