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Enjoying a Thai Meal

Thai-food-300x300Imagine a plate of freshly-steamed Jasmine rice, served with luscious spicy shrimp soup and creamy chicken green curry. You’re torn between the colorful and spicy papaya salad garnished with crisp vegetables on your right and a delectable dish of ‘Pad Thai’ on your left.

A typical Thai meal consists of a soup and/or curry dish, a salad, a fried dish and desserts. Normally there would be a mix of spicy and mild dishes for ‘balance’ and to neutralize tastes. Also, a Thai meal is served all at once, as opposed to serving dishes in courses.

Thai people love sharing food. If you go out for lunch or dinner with Thai friends, you are most likely to be asked whether you’d like a single dish or dishes to share.

It’s also noteworthy that Thais don’t particularly mind having spicy food in the morning. Due to their busy lifestyles, most city dwellers prefer something quick and easy like ‘kao niew moo ping’ (grilled pork with sticky rice), the equivalent to sandwiches in the West.

Generally, Thai people eat three main meals a day just like the rest of the world, but they have a habit of ‘gin len’ (‘snacking’) between meals. The whole spectrum of hawker food from savory ‘look chin ping’ (grilled meat balls), sweet roti pancake wrapped around sweetened condensed milk with a choice of banana or egg and fried bugs, to freshly-squeezed orange juice, fresh fruits, and frittered bananas are available, at incredibly low prices, virtually everywhere in the city.

 

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Bangkok Street Food

Bangkok Street Food

Food stalls on the streets of Bangkok can look a little intimidating to foreigners, but they provide convenient, delicious and cheap meals to the locals. Wherever you go in the city, these food stalls are plentiful and very often you will find a high concentration of them in particularly busy areas. The main attractions usually include a noodles stall, a made-to-order food stall, and ‘curry on rice’ stall.

Knowing what’s what is essential when eating from food stalls. You should be able to figure out what kind of food a particular stall is selling by observing the ingredients in the glass display window and the way they’re being prepared.

Noodle Stalls: There are many kinds of noodle stalls available; chicken noodles, duck noodles, egg noodles with wonton and ‘moo daeng’ (red barbequed pork), beef and meat ball noodles, ‘yen ta four’ (noodles in red soy bean paste with fish ball, squid and morning glory), the list is endless. The noodles themselves come in different sizes and shapes too.

Deciding what kind of noodles you want can be a daunting task as choices are so plentiful. Here are some of the most popular examples to help you decide what to order:streetfood_bangkok

Sen Yai (rice river noodle): a wide flat noodle made from white rice flour.

Sen Mii (rice vermicelli): a small wiry looking rice flour noodle.

Woon Sen (glass noodle): a thin, wiry, transparent soya bean flour noodle.

Gieow (wonton): boiled minced pork wrapped in yellow dough.

Once you have a favorite kind of noodle in mind, the next step is to make a decision whether to have soup with it, or dry. Now it’s time to choose what meat you want in your noodles. Just look at the display and see what is on offer.

Now you have a bowl of noodles in front of you, you can start eating right away or add the condiments to spice it up a little. The condiments, aka the ‘four flavors’, are sugar, dried ground chili, vinegar with chili, fish sauce and/or ground peanuts. Adding sugar to noodles may be something of a novelty to you, but it’s your chance to be experimental.

Rice Stalls: As you probably know, rice is to Thais what bread is to Westerners. It’s usually eaten with different kinds of side dishes. “Curry on rice” stalls are probably the cheapest and quickest place to eat. A wide range of different items on display can be chosen. Here, the ordering process is less tricky than with the noodles, because all you need to do is pointing to whatever you want.

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Thai food’s profusion of exotic flavors and fragrances make it among the most coveted of international cuisines.

Food is very much a part of your Bangkok experience, and luckily you don’t have to walk very far to find something to eat. Shop-house restaurants and food carts can be found on almost every street corner, at pavement eateries with fold-up tables and chairs. In fact, the smell of food is omnipresent in this sprawling metropolis.

Be prepared to see some strange-looking dishes. Absolutely nothing goes to waste, pork innards, chicken feet, even creepy looking insects included. All in all, Thai food is not just a culinary feast, but an unrivaled adventure.

Top 5 Thai Foods

  1. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup) 

This is the quintessential Thai aroma! A bold, refreshing blend of fragrant lemongrass, chili, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce shapes this classic soup, giving it its legendary herbal kick. Succulent fresh prawns and straw pic1mushrooms lend it body. The distinctive smell reminds you of exotic perfume, while it’s invigorating sour-spicy-hot taste just screams ‘Thailand’.

 

  1. Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad) 

Hailing from the Northeast state of Isaan, this dish is greatly distinctive. Garlic, chilies, green beans, cherry tomatoes and shredded raw papaya get dramatically pulverized in a pestle and mortar, so releasing a rounded sweet-sour-spicy flavor that’s not easily forgotten. Regional variations throw peanuts, dry shrimp or salted crab into the mix.

 

  1. Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup) 

pic2A mild, tamer twist on Tom Yum (the spicy shrimp soup), this iconic soup infuses fiery chilies, thinly sliced young galangal, crushed shallots, stalks of lemongrass and tender strips of chicken. Lashings of coconut milk soften its spicy blow. Topped off with fresh lime leaves, it’s a sweet-smelling concoction, both creamy and compelling.

 

  1. Pad Thai (Thai style Fried Noodles) 

pic3From Cape Town to Khao San Road, the default international Thai dish! Dropped in a searing hot wok, fistfuls of small, thin or wide noodles do a steamy minute-long dance alongside crunchy beansprouts, onion and egg. A truly interactive eating experience, half its fun and flavor lies in then using a quartet of accompanying condiments such as fish sauce, sugar, chili powder and finely ground peanuts.

 

  1. Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with Cashew Nuts) 

pic5Pardon the pun, but tourists go nuts for this stir fried dish. Perhaps it’s the wildly contrasting textures of a dish that sauté’s chicken alongside roasted cashews, sweet soy sauce, onions, chilies, pepper, carrot and mushrooms. Perhaps it’s the sweetening dash of honey that appeals. Do you really care? The important thing is that this dish works: it’s simple but scrumptious, a little bit tame and yet still totally Thai.

 

Our Executive MBA students cannot wait to try all the unique flavors and foods available in Bangkok this June!

 

 

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asia_consulting

Consulting in Asia

Stetson University is excited to announce that Cohort 12 Executive MBA students will be visiting Bangkok, the capital of Thailand in June 2015. This intriguing destination was strategically selected based on the guidance and expertise of Dr. Jon Carrick, Stetson’s international business faculty expert in the region and after extensive conversations with local businesses in the area. The Stetson Executive MBA program had the privilege of visiting Bangkok for a few days during Cohort 11’s international experience trip in June 2014; then readily determined that our Executive MBA students would have remarkable hands-on learning opportunities with select local businesses in the region.

Culture Day

Cohort 11’s Cultural Day in Bangkok, June 2014

As Bangkok.com describes, “Bangkok welcomes more visitors than any other city in the world and it doesn’t take long to realize why. This is a city of extremes with action on every corner: Marvel at the gleaming temples, catch a tuk tuk along the bustling Chinatown or take a longtail boat through floating markets. Food is another Bangkok highlight, from local dishes served at humble street stalls to haute cuisine at romantic rooftop restaurants. Luxury malls compete with a sea of boutiques and markets, where you can treat yourself without overspending. Extravagant five-star hotels and trendy hostels welcome you with the same famed Thai hospitality. And no visit to Bangkok would be complete without a glimpse of its famous nightlife – from cabarets to exotic red-light districts, Bangkok never ceases to amaze…”

Carl + Arden

Carl Pfeiffer & Arden Sedwick (Tilghman), Cohort 11, explore the Bumrungrand International Hospital

Our Executive MBA cohort is comprised of international entrepreneurs, small business owners as well as working professionals from the Central Florida area with expertise in various roles from hospitality management to training, operations, venture capital investments, financial revenue analysis, event coordination, social media and armed forces. Their shared knowledge and valuable work experience will provide enormous contributions as they examine a business up-close and make consulting recommendations based on the company’s strategic business plans and operations in Bangkok.  On the other hand, our students will also benefit from in-depth assessments of international business operations where they can share different international perspectives with their business partners or employers back in the US.  Not to mention, the added bonus of self- transformation through partaking in the unique aspects of the local culture and way of life.

McD

McDonald’s Business Visit with Chairman of Executive Committee & Chief Executive, Marketing Director, and Director of Human Resources

Please return to our blog often and read about our trip preparations and events as they take place.

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talking

Networking opportunities

Stetson University’s School of Business Administration is hosting an Executive MBA Alumni Reception on Thursday, February 5th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Citrus Club – bringing this distinctive group together to meet up with familiar colleagues and make new connections with current Executive MBA students, Stetson University faculty and area leaders.

To enhance the conversation and networking, there will be a panel discussion around what’s to be expected in the New Year within the Central Florida region and beyond. All attendees at the event will be encouraged to participate.

Presenters

Alumni share their experiences!

 

Thanks to the feedback provided from previous events, the goal of this event is to provide a platform for engaged dialogue and connectivity for this distinguished group of Stetson University Alumni and area leadership.

netwk 2

Rekindled cohort conversations

See highlights from the Executive MBA Alumni Reception May 2014

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 Cohort 11: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 11 developed marketing plans for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida for their final project in the Marketing Decision-Making course facilitated by Dr. Michelle DeMoss in Spring 2014. Cohort 11 was instrumental in generating ideas for the development of Second Harvest Food Bank’s marketing objectives, strategies, and assisting them with maximizing marketing opportunities to improve their deliverables to the community. The objective of this project was to apply real world learning experiences to benefit both students and the community.

Cohort 11 at Second Harvest Food Bank

Cohort 11 at Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest incorporated some of Stetson’s Executive MBA marketing plan solutions to use in both the short and long term. With September being the Hunger Action month, Second Harvest was dedicated to promote hunger awareness across the US through special events, e-newsletters, blogs as well as their staff and volunteers wearing orange t-shirts in support of their going orange campaign to fight hunger.

During this time, Second Harvest was also competing to receive a Walmart Fighting Hunger, Spark Change $60,000 grant which would help them provide 315,000 meals to the Central Florida community.

pic2Keith Henry, a current Stetson Executive MBA student and search marketing manager at the Walt Disney Company, helped Second Harvest create their first Facebook campaign. Keith leveraged his professional talents, expertise, and shared strategies to increase their fundraising exposure and marketing efforts, during a timeframe well beyond the conclusion of the advanced marketing course offered in the Executive MBA program. Through collaborative efforts of the Second Harvest team and Keith Henry, success was achieved by winning the Walmart grant for $60,000. “Giving back to those less fortunate is a passion of mine, said Keith Henry. I considered this more than just a class project, for me, it was an opportunity to utilize my expertise for the benefit of an organization I truly believe in. I feel privileged to have played a part in Second Harvest being awarded the $60,000 Walmart grant”. Second Harvest is very appreciative of Keith who donated time out of his busy work, school and family schedule to help them achieve this success and contribute to the Central Florida community.

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Dave Rothfeld - Executive in Residence for Stetson University

Dave Rothfeld – Executive in Residence for Stetson University

  “IN BUSINESS, YOU DO NOT GET WHAT YOU DESERVE, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEGOTIATE.”

Cohort 11 participated in an all-day Negotiations workshop delivered by Dave Rothfeld, Executive in Residence for Stetson University.  During the negotiating session, students were instructed that virtually anything in the business world can be negotiated as long as the negotiator knows exactly what they are trying to accomplish in advance.

The cohort discussed common trends when negotiating professional agreements, salary increases, and extending job offers. Proven negotiation tools and techniques were shared and then modeled group exercises were conducted to practice the application of effective use in future encounters.

The executive students also learned the significance of non-verbal clues and their importance in any negotiating situation, and in fact that sometimes this communication is more impactful than what is actually being communicated verbally when negotiating.

The facilitator, Dave Rothfeld, stressed the importance of both parties in a negotiation walking away with the feeling that they have “won”.  Being creative and flexible is key. Innovative ideas were discussed in how to assist in the process.  The significance of such could result in a continued partnership, references, and an overall level of satisfaction by all involved.  This is the POWER of NEGOTIATING!

Cohort 11 - Negotiations

Cohort 11 – Negotiations

 The workshop concluded by the student teams working through “real” business scenarios and practicing their negotiation learnings.  Many commented that their confidence grew in handling delicate conversation and by their willingness to be open and flexible, sometimes even agreeing with their negotiator, to ensure that the negotiation worked out in their favor.

After successfully facilitating the workshop, Dave stated “In my 20 years of addressing MBA students at a number of universities, I must say that I enjoyed the enthusiasm and participation of Cohort 11 EMBA at Stetson University the most. Everyone was engaged and truly appreciative of the real-world approach to negotiating that I was able to present. I look forward to a future opportunity to address this group of committed executives.”

 

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Cohort 12 – Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest

During the Executive MBA Cohort 12 Management & Leadership course, students participated in a simulation exercise called “Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest” by Harvard Business.

Students explored various group dynamics, the impact of individual vs. team goals, and the significance of clear communication to succeed as an overall team. Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated the simulation as student groups navigated various factors and problem-solved in this active learning challenge.Pic1

The overall goal was to summit Mount Everest. The students were assigned a role (photographer, marathoner, environmentalist, physician or leader) in each of their teams.

Each team member had their own personal goals they were trying to achieve throughout each part of the simulation.Team members may have been asked to sacrifice their personal goals in order to benefit the team commented Melanie Johnston and Tom Sharman, but ultimately it was up to the team’s leader to ensure the goals were met in the best way possible.

Complicating the work was the weather, food supply, medical supplies, health and mental acuity of the climbers, distribution of information needed for the ascent.Pic3

 The teams had several “a-ha” moments when information was individually being shared that would impact the overall performance of the team. This is when critical communication and decisions needed to be made for the team to succeed as a unit.

The valuable business lesson was that individual goals don’t always coincide with the team goals.

A valuable lesson that reinforces that each member brings unique strengths to a situation and by sharing them with integral members of the team, the entire group will perform better, whether that is in a virtual world or at work.

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Cohort 12 participated in a design workshop facilitated by Dr. DeMoss called the Marshmallow Challenge as a component of their Management & Leadership course.  This challenge has been conducted by tens of thousands of people in every continent, from CFOs of the Fortune 50 to students at all levels.  For more information on Challenge, refer to The Marshmallow Challenge Ted Talk.

Teams of four had to build the tallest free standing structure in 18 minutes out of the following ingredients:  20 spaghetti sticks, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow which needs to be on top of the structure.

Team members were able to use as many of the 20 spaghetti sticks or as few and as much of string and tape as needed to create the structure.  They also had the option of breaking up the spaghetti sticks. No one was allowed to support or touch their structure at the end of the challenge.

After the teams were formed, the atmosphere for the next 18 minutes remained intense and each team was engaged in problem solving. Some students were brainstorming ideas, others prepared some sketches of how they wanted their structures to look like and others rolled up their sleeves and began building the spaghetti sticks into structures.

Members of the winning team: Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover from Cohort 12

Members of the winning team: Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover from Cohort 12

As the teams engaged in creating their structures, the noise and enthusiasm reached a fever pitch, with five minutes to go most teams were topping their structures with the marshmallow that added additional weight to their structures. Some teams were happy with their structures and had to make a few adjustments while other team’s structures completely collapsed.  There were 2 out of 4 surviving free standing structures in the room.

As the countdown of the 18 minute challenge ended, Dr. DeMoss used measuring tape to measure the height of the surviving structures from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow to determine the wining team with the tallest structure. The winning team members who built a structure 26.5 inches high were:  Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover.

As easy as this activity initially seemed, it was actually very challenging because team members were forced to collaborate and problem solve very quickly. However, it was a fun team building exercise and it was very neat to see the progress of each group as well as the different building strategies that each team followed.

The purpose of the exercise was to reveal very interesting lessons about the nature of the collaboration, understanding how different personality types work together and how each team member contributes diverse skills to the table. The cohort also learned that the teams that incorporated trial and error and experimenting from the start of the challenge did better than the teams that spent time planning and trying to get the structure right from the first time. This indicates that successful organizations foster learning driven environments and risk-taking dynamics rather than ideal solutions/strategies. These students leveraged their learnings of the Myers Brigg’s Testing Instrument and their preferences to best assist their individual teams to reach success!

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Courtesy

Courtesy – Jennifer Farb

The one thing that I keep telling people over and over about my trip is how amazed I was by the courtesy and respect of all 4 Asian cultures I visited.  In America, we have a very individualized culture, where we are very focused on ourselves, our families, and possibly our immediate company and community.  In China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand, the cultures are focused not on the individual, but the society as a whole.  The communist nature of the government of China inherently causes the people to focus on the entire community, but it is also inherent in their culture as family is the center of everything.  Our tour guide shared with us that even when they introduce themselves, they lead with their family name instead of their given name as we do in the US.  The people were also extremely welcoming and seemed extremely happy to see Americans.  In Hong Kong, I was immediately shocked by the cleanliness, especially with the stark contrast to the heavy pollution in Mainland China, and the entire 4 days we were in the city, I did not see more than a couple of pieces of litter on the ground.  I saw many people in Hong Kong drop things by accident, but each person took great care to pick it back up if they let it fall.  In the Subway system, each station had large panes of glass blocking anyone from falling onto the track, and there were not even fingerprints on the front of the glass.  Everyone was standing very peacefully in straight lines waiting to get onto the trains.

A brass band played in the Subway station in Taipei

A brass band played in the Subway station in Taipei

In Taiwan, the subway system was organized much like the one in Hong Kong and there were also beautifully cleaned bathrooms that even had potted plants and sinks on motion sensors.  Each public restroom had a picture of the employee that was servicing it, with a note stating if you needed anything to speak with them directly.  In Taiwan many people did not speak English, but everyone we encountered was happy to at least try.  Thailand though was by far the most courteous culture that I have ever encountered and was truly touched by how respectful every person we encountered was from the Marketing Executive at McDonald’s Thailand all the way to the vendor peddling the Buddha statues in her market stall.  Each person takes the time and care to Wai at the beginning and end of every encounter and it really forced you to be completely in the moment and focus on the person you are speaking with.  The children were also some of the most respectful I have ever encountered and when I heard one child speak out of turn at the Grand Palace and raise their voice, all it took was the father to give them a stern look and the child was peaceful once more.  I am much more aware of how courteous I am being to the people around me now that we have returned to the United States and realize more and more that most Americans are not.  We have developed as a country much further along than one like Thailand and China, but countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan are quickly showing us that by combining some of the assets of both cultures, there may be a better and happier way to live where we can all look out for each other just a little more.

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