Back to Bangkok!

Back to Bangkok! by Aubrey Hang

It’s been over five years since I lived in Bangkok. My first day back in the city made me feel as if it was yesterday that I spent two years living and teaching in this amazing city. The Thai people are as friendly as I remembered and the traffic is still as crazy.  I feel so lucky to be able to come back to Thailand and share this experience with Cohort 12.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0499.The Cultural Day was the best way to ease into the trip. Our cohort really experienced Thai culture by visiting The Grand Palace and Wat Pho. We saw how important the Buddhist culture is to Thai people and the amazing temples they have built to worship. We took a Bangkok Canal Tour on the Chao Phraya River to see the city from the water. We saw where the nickname “Bangkok, The Venice of Asia” came from because of its many canals. We ended the day at an amazing Thai dinner (Baan Khanitha) right on the river. It was the first time many members of the cohort had tried Thai food and everyone seemed very open to trying new things! The Mango Sticky rice was absolutely delicious. The first day was a great personal experience as well as a bonding experience for Cohort 12. I can’t wait to see what other adventures this trip brings!


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Bangkok native cuisine!


Cohort 12: First meeting of the Consulting project with Tangent Foods!

Blog Credit: Liliana Molina, Kim Tuttle, Melanie Johnston and Valerie Drebsky.

Cohort 12 visited for the first time our client Jareer Abu-Ali who is the CEO & founder of Tangent foods/New directions. It was a blast! He did a great job presenting to us in preparation for our upcoming presentations (Thursday). His passion for the product was contagious! We cant wait to meet with them again!

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Cohort 12 in action during the first meeting of the consulting project with Jareer Abu-Ali, the CEO of Tangent Foods!












Cohort 12 visits the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, Thailand

Blog Credit: Marissa Zerbo, Sarah Culver, Valerie Drebsky and Aubrey Hang.

We were greeted by Paul James Robere, PhD. and Kevin Beauvais. We learned that Dr. Robere recently visited Walt Disney World (where majority of Cohort 12 works). He actually dined at the restaurant where our cohort member, Kim works as a restaurant manager! To think they could have actually been there at the same time and would have never known it until coming to Bangkok really puts into perspective how small the world is. We also learned how small the world is and how you must learn adapt to the culture you are doing business in to really be successful.

The speakers shared with us the history of the Commerce in Thailand and how it started in 1956 with 8 companies and today has 650 companies.  As an organization their goal is to make Thailand a more attractive and competitive place for other countries to do business. It was very interesting to learn about their stories of how both speakers came to Thailand without the intention to live there and they both have made Thailand their “home”.  They were very connective with the audience and compelling in how they expressed their love for the country and how much Buddhism plays a large part in how they do business and why they are such a peaceful country.  We would also like to note the charitable organizations they support including Operation Smile, Adopt a School and student scholarship program.


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It was fascinating to learn about how much Bangkok has changed over the past few decades. Tourism is rapidly growing in the city, and it was great to see how The American Chamber Commerce really gives back to the community through scholarship programs and donations. Cohort 12 has an amazing opportunity to really explore the city on our own. The Cultural Day and our first business visit really gave the cohort some insight to Thai culture and the amazing city we have to explore this week!


Looking forward to a night exploring the city….. Please see the below photos!

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American Chamber of Commerce Visit 1
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Cultural Day in Bangkok!

Blog Credit: Cristiane Gandin

Bangkok is full of colors, cars and people and there is beauty everywhere. This was our first morning in Bangkok and we went to two of the most famous temples: The Grand Palace and The Reclining Buddha. It was very crowded and hot and we were required to cover our shoulders and legs to get into the temples. If your pants were considered tight you were also required to put a skirt over the pants. The Reclining Buddha was larger than life! The head was over 30 ft. tall and stretched filling all the temple. It is beautiful indeed!

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Bangkok’s Grand Palace visit!


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Bangkok’s Grand Palace visit!



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Bangkok’s Grand Palace visit!



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Bangkok’s Grand Palace visit!


The reclining Buddha visit!

The reclining Buddha visit!

Entering Bangkok for the First Time

Sofitel Rooftop

Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 12 arrives into Bangkok safely.  After 20+ hours of traveling, they are ready to get to their hotel and get some rest before heading out for their Cultural Day.

The cohort will gladly meet our local guide, “Tong”, and be shuttled to our beautiful “home” for the week the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit located in “the beating heart of exciting Bangkok where the city’s best shopping dining and nightlife swirls about your doorstep. The students will encounter an embassy of exotic taste where East meets West.”

We selected this hotel for its prime location on Sukhumvit Road one of the main arteries of Bangkok and places you steps from the BTS skytrain and MRT subway so our students can spend their evening free time exploring this dynamic city!

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit





Cohort 12 Prepares to Travel to Bangkok

Stetson EMBA ThailandCohort 12 began their Executive MBA journey with Stetson University in August 2014. As evident in the video link, the cohort has embraced this experience both professionally and personally. They have committed themselves to the work, challenged themselves to grow, and continue to have a tremendous amount of enjoyment bonding as a true “team”.

Now having completed 9 of 17 courses they are prepared to take their learning international, specifically to Bangkok, Thailand, in mid-June. This abroad course is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to understand the international business environment and manage more effectively within different cultures. Students will travel abroad for 9 days to experience the local culture which supports international business activity.  The cohort will meet with a variety of international business leaders, learning first-hand how business practices differ.  The course focuses on issues that managers face while directing their organizations, such as: cultural issues that affect how we perceive and are perceived by others, the effects of culture on human resource management, international accounting and financial systems, marketing in an international environment, and organizational structure.

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Business Discussions Pre-Travel

The Cohort will become acquainted with the impact of our global economy and the importance of appreciating the differences in international business practices.

This year, our students will be consulting for a Thai company.  The cohort will be divided into small groups and each group will address a specific issue that is determined by the group and client.  This consulting work will involve in-depth assessments of given industry and market contexts, appraisals of key issues, reviews and valuations of strategic options, recommendations and considerations for implementation and stakeholder management.

By the end of the week, our cohort will have engaged and interacted with business, government, and not-for-profit organization leaders. They will have a strong understanding of the goals and strategies of multinational corporations. They will understand a company’s structure and be able to evaluate its effectiveness in the local market vs. globally. Additionally they will analyze and evaluate a business within its local market by understanding the financial implications of doing business globally. Students will depart Thailand understanding the factors that influence regional and global relationships and marketing efforts, not to mention the strategic issues that impact global business decisions.


Video credits: Heitor Bover and Cohort 12 studentsLet's go to Thailand

The Grand Palace

Cohort 12 will spend their arrival weekend acclimating to Bangkok with a guided tour of the Grand Palace and Wat Po, followed by an afternoon on the waterways, “The Venice of the East” traveling on a Rice Barge Cruise seeing first-hand how merchandise is transported, see exotic flora and picturesque canal houses. A great way to explore and understand the Thailand culture!

The day will begin with the one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it’s the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark. Built in 1782, and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government, the Grand Palace of Bangkok is continues to have visitors impressed by its beautiful architecture and intricate detail.

Within the palace complex are several impressive buildings including Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which contains the small, very famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. Temple-Of-The-Emerald-Buddha-109734

Despite the proximity of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, there’s a distinct contrast in style between the very Thai Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the more European inspired design of the Grand Palace.

A strict dress code applies. The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves and no tank tops.

If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes to cover you up properly (a deposit is required).


Stetson Executive MBA students enjoyed this tour in 2014 on a very informative and hot day!  Here are a few pictures of their experience.

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Temple Touring


Bumrungrad Hospital

Bumrungrad Hospital is one of the businesses that Cohort 12 will be exploring during our mid-June visit to Bangkok.

Bumrungrad was the first Asian hospital accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the organization that reviews and accredits American hospitals. Their checklist includes over 350 standards, for everything from surgical hygiene and anesthesia procedures to the systems in place to credential medical staff and nurses.

This multi-specialty hospital located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Founded in 1980, it is one of the largest private hospitals in Southeast Asia, with 580 beds and over 30 specialty centersBumrungrad Hospital

Bumrungrad International serves 1.1 million patients annually, including over 520,000 international patients, 40 % of them are expatriates, tourists, or medical travelers from 190 different countries who go to Bumrungrad because of its reputation for high-quality care at exceptionally reasonable prices.

Bumrungrad aims to provide medical and service quality at a level among the world’s best hospitals. It measures itself by medical outcomes, patient satisfaction, doctor satisfaction, and staff satisfaction.

Bumrungrad International offers a range of in-hospital accommodations from lower-priced four-bed rooms to Royal Suites. All hospital rooms have been designed with the patients comfort and safety in mind.

Technology features such as Wi-Fi; LCD directories and TV; an automated lab to provide faster, more reliable results; online registration, medical records, and diagnostic images, allowing doctors immediate access to patient information from their exam room computers. A spacious 10th floor Sky Lobby featuring a premium member lounge, and international medical coordination, business and visa extension services (for patients that need to overstay because of a medical treatment).

Bumrungrad International is managed by a team of experienced hospital administrators from America, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and United Kingdom. The hospital’s medical Chairman is board certified in the UK. Its Group Medical Director is board certified in the US. Other top medical officers were trained in the US or UK, and/or held positions at one of Thailand’s top teaching hospitals.

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Carl Pfeiffer & Arden Tilghman

In June 2014, students from Cohort 11 traveled to Bangkok, Thailand and they had the opportunity to visit Bumrungrad hospital. The following are just some of the experiences they shared about the visit:

“Bumrungrad visit in Bangkok provided us with amazing insight into their business along with issues and successes as well as reasons why. It was extremely eye opening and      professionally presented” – Jennifer Farb, Cohort 11

“It was amazing to learn how differently and well run the hospital was as a business model and the attention they put on every detail so serve each culture was amazing. It also showed a piece of Thailand– Kobina Amoo, Cohort 11

“Bumrumgrad hospital is revolutionizing the world of medical tourism, thanks to the effects of globalization that allows patients around the world to outsource their own healthcare”– Carl Pfeiffer, Cohort 11


Bangkok Temples

There are several magnificent temples in Bangkok, the two most unique ones are Wat Traimit and Wat Pho.  Cohort 12 will be touring both visiting both temples in June 2015 during their visit to Bangkok.

Wat Traimit- The temple of Golden Buddha:

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Wat Traimit


Golden Buddha

Located at the end of Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road, Wat Traimit houses the world’s largest massive gold seated Buddha measuring nearly five meters in height and weighing five and a half tons. In the past, artisans crafted the Buddha’s in gold and disguised them from invading armies by a covering of stucco and plaster.

The Buddha at Wat Traimit was discovered by accident when it was accidentally dropped as it was being moved, revealing, under a casing of plaster, a beautiful solid gold Sukhothai style Buddha. Pieces of the plaster are still kept on display.


Wat Pho in Bangkok- The temple Of Reclining Buddha:


Wat Pho Temple

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Giant Reclining Buddha

It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 50 ft. tall, and 150 ft. long and is covered in gold leaf. The Buddha’s feet are 16 ft. long and exquisitely decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations of auspicious characteristics of Buddha.

It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace. This is also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage since Wat Pho is considered the leading school of massage in Thailand.

You’ll need to take your shoes off to enter. As this is a revered image, all visitors must wear appropriate clothing; this means no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee, and it really is worth taking a look round the rest of the temple.

Wat Pho was the first public university in Thailand, specializing in religion, science and literature. It is now more well-known as a center for traditional massage and medicine.


Bangkok Floating Markets

Bangkok Floating Markets

  img1Over 30 years ago, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market featured in a classic James Bond chase scene was already a tourist attraction.

An aquatic cultural show festooned with abundant color and souvenirs. The variety of goods, everything from rattan balls, traditional puppets and fresh fruits to embroidered handbags, noodle soup and wide brimmed bamboo hats is impressive.

Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market in Thailand, great for photo opportunities, food, and for giving you an insight into a bygone way of life. An early morning start is worth it to avoid the heat and catch Damnoen Saduak at its liveliest. Most visitors who come to Thailand want to visit a floating market and many of them will end up here. The market is over an hour outside Bangkok, and the easiest way to get there is to join a tour.

Hop onto decorated long-tail boats that are waiting to take you to the market. Stepping off the boat, you find yourself amongst the busy stalls selling similar products such as small toy elephants, tiger balm and the compulsory ‘I was here’ T-shirts.img2

If you walk further, you will find the food-sellers, who not only look more photogenic, but also have some far tastier goods. Unlike most of the other floating markets, the popularity of Damnoen Saduak attracts many fruit sellers rowing their boats along the narrow canals, meaning that you’re guaranteed great pictures.

There is plenty of tasty food to try along the docks, from freshly-made mini coconut pancakes to boat noodles in their rich meaty broth.

You’ll have plenty of time to wander around, taste some local produce and take plenty of pictures.