Marshmallow Challenge & Simulation Everest- Cohort 13

Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 13 is underway. This dynamic group of talented managers is navigating the classroom experience and learning about each other as the next 17-months will be a result of collaboration, transformation, and challenging work.

Currently in their first course, Management & Leadership, the student’s awareness of their impact on others in the work environment is highlighted. Focus is on developing constructive approaches and methods to enhance creativity, innovation, employee motivation, and career success. Cohesiveness is formed as well as strengths and areas of opportunity are recognized.

The cohort has written a mission statement, “Growing personally and professionally while enjoying and embracing the experience!”  The cohort quickly realized that the Stetson way of learning will be challenging and a mix of diverse activities that elevate the “spark” of inquisitiveness and exploration through deep collaboration and faculty facilitation by Michelle DeMoss and Greg McCann.  In this course, Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated TED talk activities – Marshmallow Challenge, a Harvard Business Review Simulation – Everest, and One on One Executive Coaching are just some of the components that have added to the learning evolution!  Students were encouraged to “color outside the lines” and find new creative ways of thinking and doing things. The result was undeniable satisfying.

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 1

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 1 – “Super Sherpas”

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 2

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 2 – “The Summit Survivors”

Simulation Everest in Progress- Team 3

Simulation Everest in Progress- Team 3 – “The Yetis”

Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallow Challenge

Near the conclusion of the first course, each student receives Executive Coaching to explore their unique situation and aspirations with our coach, Greg McCann,  “The Cohort’s commitment to deepening their self-awareness and empathy as the foundation for their leadership practice was evidenced in the coaching sessions where each leader was asked to reflect on themselves, what issues in their lives have them stuck or have been unaddressed, and how they might take ownership for them as part of their ongoing leadership development. We don’t just study leadership, we practice it”. This coaching will continue at regular intervals each term and within courses to aid in their growth.

Lastly, the culminating exercise in this course requires that each student write a Professional Development Plan that will guide their individual “practice” during the entire EMBA journey. This is an action plan that will provide structure and intentional focus, and will define success on their terms.

Farewell dinner

By: Tom Sharman

After a wonderful week experiencing what Bangkok has to offer it almost time to say goodbye to this place. Last night was the our farewell dinner at Vertigo Skybar in the Banyan Tree hotel in Bangkok. The experience was amazing and we got to share it with our new friends we made during our visit here.

Please watch the following video:



The life in Thailand!

By: Melanie Johnston


Posing with Tong, the amazing tour guide!

As I travel the streets of Bangkok I notice how amazing life is. I am on the opposite side of the world and yet I feel like I am at home.  They are familiar businesses found in both places, hotels, restaurants and shops I find here and at home. 7-11’s are on every street corner as well as McDonald’s and KFC! Of course these locations offer local and Western cuisine as well.  This world is so big yet so small. Globalization is here! Technology has brought us together so quickly.  It is very easy to feel the comfort of those so far away with International phone calls, text messages and social media.

There are different ways to look at life. One way is to look at the troubling events or situations. Another is to see the hope and kindness found here. It seems to me the Thai people believe in the good. There are so many kind people here. I see acts of kindness all around. I saw a girl on a motorcycle helping a tuk tuk driver with a rope hanging off of his vehicle as they waited at the light. So many people wanting to help and assists others. It seems like everyone you meet looks you in the eye, smiles and greets you. There is a huge respect for life, including everyone and all things. This makes their society very inclusive. I believe this is from their Buddhist way of life. No matter how small the act is it can be so fulfilling. These actions just happen without thinking, they just do.

One of the amazing kind people we met on our adventure in Thailand was Tong our tour guide. She greeted us first thing when we arrived to the airport. Her energy and compassion was so refreshing. She put our groupto ease as we arrived and we felt taken care. Every question we had she answered.  She was extremely engaging and attentive. Everything was planned out so well. Tong and team were always three steps ahead of us making sure everything was arranged and set up.  She always had a smile on her face and was ready for any challenges! Tong shared with us her practices of meditation. She meditates for 30 minutes a day and up to three days during Buddha holiday. This helps gives her the strength and calmness that we saw during our visit. This has inspired me to truly take time out of my day to meditate. Tong is the perfect ambassador for Thailand!! We will miss her dearly and hope to visit her soon!

All over Thailand there are many stray dogs. It seems like they run freely everywhere. I saw them on the busy downtown intersections and side walks. They roam freely with the people darting in and out. We saw one dog just chilling inside of a cafe.

I am an animal lover and this breaks my heart. I want to rescue them all… But I think they are actually ok and happy. They seemed to blend in and appreciate the fact they are free to roam. The Thai people love these dogs. Even in the slums everyone seems to have a dog. The dogs were very friendly. There was never a time I felt scared of them. They were very calm and polite.

We traveled outside of the city and there were tons of dogs as well. They ran in packs even along the side of the highway. I was so worried they would be hit but they managed just fine. I became very inspired to research if anyone was helping these dogs. It turns out there are a lot of people looking after them. There are many charities and volunteer programs to help. I cannot wait to help as well… If you are inspired please check this out!

Bangkok’s Klong Toey Slum

By: Tom Sharman

Bangkok’s Klong Toey Slum is only a few metro stops away from luxurious mall and five-star hotels, expat bars, and its Stock Exchange. I learned that the Klong Toey Slum is located on a plot of land belonging to the Port Authority of Thailand. The slum covers an area of around a square mile and is home to around 100,000 people and that the people living in this slum are technically illegal squatters.

With such intense overcrowding means that at peak times there are bodies just about everywhere: slumped on motorbikes, sitting in doorways or leaning out of windows; bodies, big and small, clogging up what are already claustrophobically narrow alleyways. Because their homes are so tiny, not to mention hot, people do in public what they would normally do in private – things like cook, eat, hand washing, and other things.

We had the opportunity to meet with a company in Thailand called “Step Ahead” and there goal is to help the people in this community to become independent by find ways to make a better living for their families. We had a chance to go into the home of a wonderful woman that makes sushi to sell to kids for an after school shack for 5 baht (that’s $0.15 in the US). Despite the conditions that these people live in they seem to be happy and grateful for the life that they live. If only in the US we could be appreciative for what we have and thankful for the small things in our lives. The Klong Toey Slum was an eye opening experience and it makes me truly grateful for all that I have.



Walking the neighborhood!



Bangkok’s Klong Toey Slum

International Cohort Cohesiveness

By: Kim Tuttle

Stetson’s Executive MBA offers a variety of unique experiences, however, the international business trip could be considered by many the “highlight” of the program. Twenty students began this journey in August 2014 and we are just over halfway complete. The cohort has been learning and growing from each other over the past ten months, but this week long adventure in Thailand proved to be a phenomenal bonding experience.

Between business visits during the day and touring the city at night, we were truly able to immerse ourselves in the culture of Thailand. We ate a ton of Thai food, bargained with street vendors for souvenirs, and navigated the city by either BTS (skytrain) or on tuk tuk (3 wheeler taxi). Our culture day included Temple visits and a riverboat cruise. Some of us purchased custom tailored suits and others went for fish pedicures or Thai massages. We wrapped up the trip with an elephant trek where we rode elephants and had the opportunity to bath the elephants!

From the cohort standpoint, we leaned on each other at all times. Members of the group experienced bee stings, upset stomachs, and being homesick, but we were there for each other as one large family. It was really neat for me to see the cohort blossom and grow as a group. This trip is most definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was magical to create memorable learnings and experiences with people who will be lifelong friends!


Enjoying Bangkok culture!

Enjoying Bangkok culture!

Enjoying drinks at one of the most famous Bangkok rooftop bars!

Enjoying drinks at one of the most famous Bangkok rooftop bars!

Bangkok Bank visit!

Bangkok Bank visit!

Cohort 12!

Cohort 12!

A morning in the homes of locals

By: Kim Tuttle & Cristiane Gandin

On Friday morning Cohort 12 visited the Klong Toey Bangkok also known as the slums. Over 100,000 people live within 13 square km area (5 square miles) on the Port land, essentially government land. While this area may be appear to be similar to the slums of Detroit in America, the area’s atmosphere was drastically different due to the culture of Thais.

Thai people are very respectful and peaceful. There was not a sense of suffering, but yet a strong sense of community. A majority of the people are content with their lives there and several generations of families have been raised there.

The organization that we toured the area with, Step Ahead, focuses on Keeping Families Together (KFT). They have community leaders that they work with to identify families in need and help however possible. We visited three different homes to see the food they prepare are serve within the area as a business.

The step ahead organization helps the local people to stay together as families, supporting them with job opportunities and personal development to enlarge their possibilities to grow and live better. The Step Ahead organization runs with the help of hundreds of volunteers that comes every year from all over the world to teach, work and give their times to help.

They took us to walk in the neighborhood to meet the people who lived in there, and learn about their lives, their culture and their daily activities.

It was a humbling experience and definitely a different perspective of Thailand from the hustle and bustle of the city area of Bangkok.


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Jon Carrick giving Stetson donation during the “Step Ahead” tour!


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Students enjoying the “Step Ahead” tour!


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The “Step Ahead” tour!


Walking the neighborhood during the "Step Ahead" tour!

Walking the neighborhood during the “Step Ahead” tour!

When I grow up maybe Ill ride an elephant…

Text and photos: Valerie Drebsky

Video credit: Ashley Forbes and Cristiane Gandin

Today was the day we didn’t know what to expect. We were given the option to drive 2 hours outside of Bangkok to ride an elephant. Sounds crazy.. and it was.

First off – It was amazing watching the scenery as we drive through Thailand outside of the big city of Bangkok. Just from driving through you can pick out the many differences.  The homes, the style, the arcutecture, the markets, etc. all very different! I also should mention throughout this trip we had an incredible tour guide- Tong! We were so grateful to her and as we traveled off to side trips like Tokyo and Hong Kong we very much wished she was there. Ok back to the elephants… Right when we get there we see all these amazing elephants and thankfully a chair on top. It was two to an elephant and you had a guide who helped steer.

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Riding the elephant!

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Enjoying the elephant ride!


Enjoying the elephant ride experience!



Posing with the elephant!


This was out of this world. You really had to plan your weigh distribution – we kept tipping over but never fell off! It was so cool! we even went through the water. Some of the cohort took it even farther and bathed with the elephants. This pictures came out amazing and the elephants seemed to love it – many of the cohort feed the elephants bananas. Turned out elephants don’t peel the bananas and they eat more than 5 at a time!! Amazing day and a great way to end our travels in Thailand!”

Please watch the following video to see the students in action while riding the elephant!


Thailand spirit houses.

By: Rose White

All over Thailand you will find spirit houses. Based on animistic beliefs, guardian spirits are believed to live in natural features like rivers and trees.

To keep good relations with the spirits and this provide good fortune, the Thais will bring an offering to the house.

You can purchase a flower collection of Jasmine and Rose for 10 baht (approximately .33 cents). Then you sacrifice the flower to a spirit house for good luck.

Spirit house are all over the country and always in the front of a building or house.

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One of the many spirit houses in Bangkok!




Flower sacrifice to a spirit house for good luck!

When in Thailand, the fish spa is a must!

By: Rose White

I’ve never seen anything like it before. There was even a cute little girl loving the fishes on her feet. If she can do this… Then anybody can!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I dived my feet right in. Immediately it tickled. I had my mouth open in laughter for the first 5 min. The experience is for only 15 minutes and costs 150 baht (approximately 5$ and change).

Unfortunately, the fish spa isn’t as popular in Bangkok and I had expected. I had to take two trains from my hotel to the location. This spa is located at a popular tourist destination called Asiatique. It reminds me of Pointe, Orlando off International drive.

The journey to the fishes was worth the time in travel. This was a fun and unique experience.


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Cute little girl loving the fishes on her feet!



Experiencing the fish spa!

Bright Lights in the City!

By: Liliana Molina

It is the day before our departure from Bangkok and I feel like I have visited all of the rooftop bars and restaurants Bangkok had to offer. This past week we have gone to at least four of them and it seems that these are “the place” to be when in Bangkok.

Our hotel has an amazing rooftop restaurant and we had the oportunity to visit last night. The first thing you notice is the amazing view of the city. This city is beautiful during the day, but at night is magical. The tall buildings, the lights and the the clear skies creates a great combination.

This has definitely been an experience of of a lifetime and I will never forget the many nights we spent looking at the city from above.


The view from the Vertigo Moon Bar, one of the most famous rooftop bars in Bangkok!

The view from the Vertigo Moon Bar, one of the most famous rooftop bars in Bangkok!