Nateenond “Boom” Supatpitak grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, and attended an international school where a majority of the students went to the United States for college. After spending a year abroad during high school as an exchange student in Boulder, Colorado, Supatpitak decided he, too, wanted to return to the States to pursue an undergraduate degree.

“When the time came to start looking at schools seriously, my parents told me they would support any career I chose—as long as it was a doctor, lawyer, or engineer,” he jokes. “Back then, I enjoyed building things and was fascinated by airplanes, so I decided I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer.”

After an exhaustive search for a challenging engineering program, he enrolled at a small but highly regarded school, Clarkson University, in Upstate New York. Despite the harsh winters and Clarkson’s remote location, he was happy with his college choice.

In pursuit of an engineering career, Supatpitak was accepted into the internship program at General Electric Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he arrived, he was surprised to learn he had been reassigned to a supply chain role. At first crestfallen, the opportunity ended up sparking his interest in career paths outside of engineering.

“When I was starting to think about what I would do after college, I had difficulty finding a job in aviation,” Supatpitak says. “A recruiter at a job fair told me, because of security concerns, defense companies were worried about hiring undergraduate foreign nationals.”

Grateful for his time at GE, he was offered a project management internship at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury, Vermont (now Keurig Dr Pepper). In 2014, after graduating from Clarkson, Keurig hired him as an entry-level project manager, where he gained increasing responsibilities, moved to Boston, and gradually shifted his career toward business.

In late 2015, JAB bought Keurig, which led to some organizational changes. Supatpitak was asked to relocate for an engineering position in Seattle. Determined to continue on a business path, he applied for a role in business development and strategic partnerships. To his astonishment, he got the job. But then he panicked.

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“I realized I had no formal business training and could not afford to stumble through learning on the job,” he says. “So, I did some quick research into local and online business programs and found Harvard Business School Online.”

He immediately signed up for the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program to learn the fundamentals of business and Negotiation Mastery to develop his negotiation skills, which were essential for his new role. When asked how he juggled a new job, long-distance girlfriend, and some rigorous coursework, he admits it wasn’t easy.

“I had to prioritize and often stay late after work to finish my assignments,” he says. “The flexibility of HBS Online, however, allowed me to manage my commitments. I learned a lot, particularly the language of business through Financial Accounting, which I leveraged immediately and still use every day.”

In addition to learning the language of business, Negotiation Mastery helped hone Boom’s deal-making skills.

“Unlike so many classes in college that were all about cramming knowledge into my head, in Negotiation Mastery, I felt I was being mentored into developing the practical skills I needed for my job,” Supatpitak says. “Before taking the class, I had neither the framework to develop a ‘win-win’ solution nor the knowhow to achieve it. There’s an illusion of power in negotiations that can change in a matter of seconds. You can’t learn how to handle that by reading a book.”

Supatpitak later took two other HBS Online courses, Management Essentials and Leading with Finance, and is now applying to MBA programs to further his career in business and management consulting.

“One of the best things about HBS Online courses is that they forced me to think on my feet,” he says. “If you can’t justify your opinions in business, you won’t gain credibility, and it’s difficult to make an impact.”

Given his track record thus far, it’s safe to say Supatpitak will continue to make an impact.

Are you interested in making an impact of your own? Explore Harvard Business School Online's course catalog to discover how you can take the next step in your career.

Michele Reynolds

About the Author

Michele Reynolds handles brand marketing and PR for Harvard Business School Online. Prior to HBS Online, she led communications for TripAdvisor and Gazelle and has been widely quoted in national media outlets, including CBS News, Reuters, and The New York Times. Michele earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. Outside work, she spends time with her teenage daughter, plays tennis, and visits her enormous extended family.