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Cohort 11


Stetson University Executive MBA students and alumni take advantage of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival to decompress from their current studies or reunite as a cohort after graduation.

Cohort 11 recently enjoyed a gathering with their family and friends after class in early October.

They dined on food and beverages served at 30 marketplace locations around the World Showcase. Selections range from savory to sweet to beer. In addition, more than 300 national and international wines are represented during the event.


Cohort 7


“What a perfect night in a magical place with incredible people, family and friends”, Alexandre Rovai, Cohort 11

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Greg McCann (2)

EMBA faculty & program director, Dr. Greg McCann

Executive MBA students in Cohort 11 are eager to share their Professional Development Plan (PDP) with their course faculty, Dr. Michelle DeMoss and Dr. Greg McCann. This month long project involved strenuous focus, soul searching, and discussions with professional leaders/co-workers and personal friends/family alike.

Dr. McCann, with expertise in leadership development, utilized the Professional Development Plan, which has been time tested over 15 years, “because all leadership starts with a deep-dive into self-awareness, a framework develops as a result, and then a  practice  is cultivated to move towards success.”


Professional Development Plan Dashboard

The purpose of the Executive MBA Professional Development Plan is to help students analyze who they are, what they value, how they define success, and what all of this means for them both professionally and personally.  This will serve as the foundation for monitoring their progress during the 19-month Executive MBA experience.  A Professional Development Plan dashboard will reside on their iPad, keeping each mindful and accountable for their goals each term.  The Cohort Coach will use the dashboard to guide their future coaching sessions and collaborative discussions.

Both the faculty and the cohort coach agree that there is no magical formula in these individual Professional Development Plans. Each individual’s issues, history, journey, and goals will be varied. Each individual will be held accountable for following their plan, paying careful attention to both the personal and professional aspects. The Coach will help facilitate adherence to these goals and success as the student as defined it!

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stress_management  Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever increasing demands of life. Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset your alarm system. Without stress management, all too often your body is always on high alert.


What can you do about stress?

  • Identify what is causing stress in your life.
  • Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
  • Learn healthy ways to relieve stress or reduce its harmful effects.


How can you avoid stress?

  • Prioritize tasks that you must complete in a day to a manageable list.
  • Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress.
  • Take good care of yourself.
  • Try out new ways of thinking.
  • Learn to say “no.”
  • Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse.
  • Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
  • Start to outsource your honey-do list
  • Set “do not disturb” boundaries with your support team when under a deadline
  • Communicate your schedule with your team at work
  • Prioritize school assignments to get done as soon as possible, so that you have one less deadline to focus on. The longer you wait to complete a task, the more strenuous it seems to become.

Morris Sekiyo Sullivan

Becoming more organized takes focus and dedication. If you develop a method that works for you, it will help you to balance family, work, and school responsibilities, with very minimal conflicts. In addition, the MBA experience can become less about making the highest grades, and more about networking, advancing your career, personal progression, and developing your passion.

On August 23, our Cohort 10 and Cohort 11 participated in a Stress Management Workshop led by Morris Sekiyo Sullivan. The students were led through several awareness exercises to demonstrate the effectiveness of staying present while conducting tasks vs. the overwhelming feeling one can have when constantly multi-tasking. The facilitator demonstrated 3 different stress management activities that allowed the students to witness first-hand the benefits of taking a brief time out to refocus and re-channel their energy in a positive manner.


Cinthia Douglas, Cohort 11

Cinthia Douglas in Cohort 11 shared that “having the stress management/meditation workshop embedded into our first EMBA course was a nice surprise.  As we began the meditation portion, I was open to the experience but hesitant at the same time.  I have read about meditation before, but prior to this course was not convinced that it was something for me – when in fact, meditation and practicing mindfulness is beneficial to all.  I noticed that the more guidance our group received from the instructor, my thoughts became focused, and it was amazing how relaxed I felt.  Taking a step back at the big picture, the EMBA experience looks at each student holistically, providing tools and resources to aid achievement both personally and professionally.”

Students participating in an Executive MBA program know the importance of balancing both professional and personal aspects of their life to minimize undesirable stress that can have a negative impact.  Students find that if they can compartmentalize their school and work responsibilities, they will also be afforded some reasonable time for other activities such as exercise or being with family and friends and key events. The alternating weekend schedule of an Executive MBA program also provides the breather and time necessary to be successful at striking this delicate balance.

Students expressed great satisfaction with the workshop results and plan to continue practicing mindfulness, especially in times when an increased work load or demands are required.

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iPad Experience

ipad 1

Lauren Hall, Maureen Karkovice, Dr. Christopher Tobler, and Cody Hampton review their finance class analysis.

Stetson’s Executive MBA has made significant progress in offering programs that are flexible, modern, and enable the delivery of course materials in a digital format which is both convenient and environmentally friendly.

The Executive MBA team is committed to delivering academic resources and tools, including iPad technology, to offer timely information to today’s business professional. The faculty has embraced this technology tool to evolve their teaching practices.  The tablet device has impacted the team dynamic, collaboration, and the culture within the classroom. The iPad encourages increased opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development.

Implementing the iPad has increased productivity, provided relevant academic e-books, cases, and apps with ease while improving interactive learning by bringing global resources to the classroom in real-time.  Margo Haines, Cohort 10, believes that “the iPads have been a great asset to learning. Our cohort is able to research topics that the instructor is talking about right then and there. The iPad allows for note-taking that includes being able to take pictures of the classroom notes, tie in PowerPoint slides, and overall capture what we need to in class. My favorite feature to date is the fact that we can quickly and easily share in-class work and projects with the use of our iPads and the technology in the classroom.”  Another Cohort 10 classmate, Krista Scimeca, has found that “using the iPad for some of our in-class and homework assignments has made my schoolwork more “portable,” which is important, especially for working MBA students.  It is very rare that I get enough time to sit down at home and do my schoolwork.  The iPad works very well with the comprehensive EMBA program, relieving some of the “logistical stress” and allowing me to focus solely on LEARNING.”ipad2

Cohort 10 began using the iPad device and electronic materials last spring and immediately benefited from the on demand resources at their fingertips.  Classroom discussions became livelier as students surfed for relevant research to back up their business perspective, decision-making, or claims.  The iPad was an instrumental tool on our 10-day international trip in Vietnam and Singapore as students’ blogged about their daily experiences and created video diaries.

Building on this success, Cohort 11 was recently provided their iPad device, some initial training, and the ultimate goal would be to further integrate coursework using their iPad devices, examples include: electronic portfolios, tracking their Professional Development Plans (PDP) using their electronic dashboard, a variety of assessment tools that provide 360 feedback, remote coaching and faculty office hours, and much more.    






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Cohort 11 First Day

Sixteen eager students on their 1st day of class

Stetson University’s Cohort 11 is underway. Sixteen motivated business professionals began their 19-month journey earlier this month under the leadership of Associate Dean, Yiorgos Bakamitsos, and Director, Greg McCann. This professional and diverse group, are poised for a transformation both personally and professionally.


Cohort 11 at Orientation





At Stetson, cohort cohesiveness is built upon trust, integrity, an awareness of individual strengths, areas of growth, and motivations.  This information collectively creates the foundation for rich learning and applied results.  Not to mention, an enriching network of lifelong friends. Once this foundation is built, collaborative and rich business discussions, varied perspectives, experiences, and scenarios are explored in depth.

Currently, each executive is designing a Professional Development Plan that will guide both their individual efforts and future faculty towards reaching these stated goals over the next 19-months and beyond. A Cohort Coach, will provide ongoing support throughout each executives journey, providing additional resources and strategies for continual progress and results. An initial session has been conducted. The Cohort Faculty is focused on developing leaders with integrated course work that is immediately relevant and applicable to the workplace.


Dr. Bakamitsos and Dr. McCann

Only a couple of weeks into their EMBA experience, benefits continue to engage and provide a return. In less than a handful of visits to the Center, they have participated in workshops dealing with mindfulness and stress management, maximizing the utilization of their iPad device, and have been exposed to an expanding student/alumni network that gathers at the Tavern after class to decompress. At Stetson’s Executive MBA we have built a “support” team dedicated and focused on their success as they define it!


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By Dr. Jon Carrick

VietnamThe trip was even better than I would have hoped it would have been. We got to feel the global economy on the ground-level of two of the most exciting economies in the world. Vietnam is a developing country with a war torn past and incredibly bright future. And although it is still very poor, we felt the economic development all around us; we felt not only the excitement that development brings, but saw first-hand how American companies can prosper from this development. While Singapore showed us the opportunities and challenges of operating in a highly developed country – arguably the most advanced economy in the world. In Singapore we also saw the prosperity that comes from an innovative country with a government that is committed to stability and economic growth.

Sing3 - China Town ShoppingThe range and impact of the visits in the two countries was superb; from a nonprofit that touched the hearts of all of us, to a meeting with a high-level executive with a major multinational investment bank, and everything in between. What impressed us the most was the open access that we got; it is not often that you get high level directors giving you three hour tours of multi-billion dollar projects – like we did at both Universal and Marina Bay Sands.  Closely related, the variety also helped the experience. We had a great mixture of lecture, Q&A, and operational tours. Furthermore, the Center for Creative Leadership provided some great insight on leadership and the hands-on activities we did with them was a nice change of pace from the business visits.

Although getting to Southeast Asia took 26 hours, it was well worth it. There is no region ofMaureen Pic1 the world that could have better brought to life what we learned in the classroom: the challenges of doing business with vastly different cultures; the impacts of fluctuating financial markets; the importance of efficiency in the global marketplace; and the challenges of adapting products for overseas markets. But not only did the trip provide a great learning experience, it also helped us in our own personal development; the trip pushed us out of our comfort zones and gave us new perspectives on life. Cohort 10 could not have picked two better countries to visit.

Sing2 - Sing Flyer

This last photo was taken inside the Singapore Flyer, the largest of three in the world.  From the 25 minute ride, the cohort had a spectacular 360 view of the city, the amazing architecture, and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  This activity was one that the entire group will remember and cherish as part of our Singapore visit.

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  Mayra Santiago, Maureen Karkovice & Ray Harpel

Sing4 - Dinner3This international business trip has been an experience to remember in so many ways. I hope it’s not a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, and plan to travel back this way in the future!

As someone who is not in the business world (but obviously looking to transition), this trip – as well as the entire Stetson EMBA program – has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and information. The coursework prior to the trip prepared me with the information necessary to get the most out of the business visits and to be able to identify and analyze culture and how it impacts business practices. The speakers varied, which provided learning experiences in many areas, and which I personally value since I am so eager to learn as much as I can as I look toward a new career path. The quality of the speakers, the great hospitality shown to us and the in depth knowledge and experience imparted during each visit was incredible!

Sing4 - Dinner4It was not only the people and places we visited that made this trip great… the support team of Stetson University and International Study Programs staff, and out wonderful Vietnamese guide, Dwayne made this trip and enjoyable experience. The never ceasing organization, support, and wisdom provided by Wendy has been and she a huge asset to this program; she is a beacon, a guide, a life-saver- truly a gift during a rigorous, challenging, stressful period of! Dr. Carrick provided a perfect blend of focus and fun – he did a wonderful job preparing us for the journey. Michaela, our tour leader from ISP did a great job planning our visits and cultural activities with fabulous attention to detail, to make sure we got the most out of our short time in each location. And lastly I’m sure we would all like to send a big thank you to Dwayne, our guide in Vietnam. Dwayne had made the journey educational and enjoyable, and really made our visit to Vietnam memorable. From the history he shared to the jokes he told, to the time he took out of his day to make an unscheduled trip to the Presidential Palace for us. Dwayne was a fabulous addition to the trip!!

Sing4 - Dinner1We finished our international field trip with a bang! We started our evening with a cable car ride to the top of a mountain to a special place called The Jewel Box. This amazing restaurant is a hidden gem with a breathtaking 360-degree view of Singapore. A relaxed “al fresco” dinner experience was exactly what the cohort needed to unwind after a successful, but intense trip that was shortly coming to an end. We enjoyed chatting about all that we had accomplished in the last eight days and all the wonderful people we met along the way.


This cohort is SO special to me- I honestly cannot imagine going through this EMBA experience with a different group of people. I learn from each of them everyday! I love that each one of them offers different strengths that sharpen and develop me in many ways. Thank you all for an amazing trip and I look forward to the last 10 months of learning together.


This trip was beyond my expectations and was certainly eye-opening and life changing!



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A recurring theme of surprise as we traverse Singapore on our second day of visits is how much has been achieved by this TINY, island country in the short span of around 60 years.  A former British colony, and the site of WWII internment camp, Singapore is a clean efficient and cosmopolitan city-country, which has grown from being a developing country 60 years ago to a world leader. This is something that continues to surprise and amaze us all as we visit different parts of this fabulous city!!

Mayra Santiago and Judy Ashbrook – Daiwa Capital Markets

Sing2 - DaiwaIt was casual Friday at Daiwa Capital Markets, we were warmly greeted by Stanley Parker, Executive Director/ Legal Counsel and his team from the front and back offices within the Securities group. Daiwa is a Japanese based company with offices in New York City, London, Korea, India, Philippines and Singapore. Our cohort received an overall orientation about the different products and services they provide to the southern Asian market, which includes Singapore, Thailand,  Malaysia and Indonesia. In this area, their biggest business is Equities, sales and trading and investment banking.

During our discussion, we learned about how they deal with cultural differences from both their corporates, those who issue stock and their clients, those who are seeking for investors. For example, when planning investors’ trip visits, Americans prefer having a full agenda packed with meetings and activities related to business, while Indonesians and Malaysians prefer dealing with looser agendas allowing for social time during breakfast and lunch.  Additionally in the investment banking, we learned that there are differences in how buyes value their risk. For example, internal rates for an American company could be as high as 12-13%, in contrast with 5-6% in a Japanese company.

Our host ended the visit by sharing his personal journey in the international financing industry and how he integrated it to his passion for the law. Overall, our visit was very informative and an excellent way for us to understand more about finance in a global scale, the interconnectivity of economies and emerging markets.


Angela Stevens & Pablo Chavez – Resorts World Sentosa

Sing2 - UniversalOur last business visit in Singapore was to Sentosa Park, a massive (2 sq.mi) entertainment center located on an island directly south of the main island of Singapore. Since 1972, around Sg$420 million of private capital and another Sg$500 million of government funds have been invested to develop the island which is home to Universal Studios, Marine Life Park, Casinos, Hotels, Shops, golf courses, beaches and much more.  The parks are amazingly clean and many areas covered by shade structures keeping their guests cool and dry.

It was interesting to visit a theme park in Singapore. It felt like we were in Orlando all over again, but with a more compact feel. The park has no transitional spaces between themes, so you move from area of high intensity to another area of high intensity without warning. The reason for this is that they don’t have a lot of expansion space (because they are on an island) so everything needs to be efficient. The park and other attractions areas are actually built on top of 5 underground stories of parking, which makes that park really interesting to look at from a theme park design point of view.

Sing2 - Sentosa Aquarium3The Marine Life Park has a huge aquarium which houses over 100,000 marine animals from across 49 habitats.  These include manta rays, huge groupers, hammerhead sharks and many other species of fish, sharks and rays.  As we continued past the aquarium piece we walked down to some other smaller aquariums housing many other exotic fish species, including the eel exhibit.  Just before exiting the aquarium we were surrounded by many shark species, including bonnet heads, silvertips and sandbar sharks.

Marine Life Park is not just an aquarium with amazing sea life.  They also have some incredible experiences, such as Ray Bay where you wade through sting rays and a shark tank emersion experience.  We were able to get a tour of the marine facilities they have in place, and coming from that field, I though it was extremely advanced and extremely efficient. The aquarium is the largest single viewing window aquarium in the world, and its definitely a site to remember.

Sing2 - Sentosa Aquarium2The Marine Life Park is home to 24 Asia Pacific Dolphins.  Dolphins and other marine mammals are air breathing and during the recent air pollution scare from the Indonesian fires,  these animals needed some special care, especially with their exhibits being exclusively outdoors.   The animal care team worked very quickly to build enclosures around some of their pools eliminating approximately 40% of the pollution.   The Marine Mammal team at Marine Life Park have some great ideas and opportunities available in their future and I will be excited to see them come to life and perhaps return to experience them some day.

We leave Singapore with plans to be back at some point.  I enjoyed the structure, order and functionality of this very advanced country. It’s really incredible to know that you can basically cover the entire country in a day just by using their train system, which is extremely well developed. When I was walking around Singapore, I couldn’t help but to feel that this country will continue to move forward at the impressive rates they have in the past 60 years, and it is amazing to know how much they have accomplished in just 60 years, so we’ll see how far Singapore can get in the next 25 years!

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Country #2 – Singapore

After 4 days in beautiful Vietnam, we have changed pace and moved on to Singapore. The differences between these two countries are vast in terms of infrastructure, opportunities and business, however as one of the newly industrialized countries of the 1970′s Singapore is a fabulous example of a country which has gained economic stability and global business recognition in a very short space of time – becoming a global leader in IT, finance and shipping. Singapore’s success is due in parts to its business friendly government policies, its small size, and a focus on education and training. Singapore provides good examples of best-practices for business and it will be interesting to experience the difference between the two countries first hand.


Lauren Hall – Globecast

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On Thursday morning, we spent our first business visit in Singapore with Darby Sanchez, CEO of GlobeCast, Singapore. Sanchez runs an exciting operation, providing media content management and transmission services for major networks around the world.  One of the most exciting parts for us being that she is a native Floridian!


While touring us around her facility, Darby was able to provide us with deep insight into conducting business in Singapore and elsewhere around the world, as she had also previously been based in Latin America and Asia throughout her 20 year career in the media industry. She talked about how Singapore has been highly successful because of the way they have tackled the issue of corruption, likely better than any other Asian country. While they have strict laws and low tolerance for breaking these laws, this rigid structure has allowed the country to flourish.

In addition, Darby shared what she believes to be crucial to conducting business internationally today – the need to deeply know how a country thinks and runs, in terms of politics, sociology, culture, etc. Along with this international awareness, the next key is people management: being able to spot talent and assess who is good at what, and giving them opportunities that are cultural aspirations. We also discussed the need to anticipate what is going to happen in your business or industry, and that if this is not done it can be deadly for a company.

Sing1 - Globecast2 with CEOFinally, Darby encouraged us to take risks in our careers, saying that there is no gain without risks, and the only way she has made it to her position today has been by seizing opportunities that have sometimes been risky. Taking risks is crucial for both individuals if they want to be top leaders, and for companies if they want to be market leaders. She strongly believes that opportunities are there for those who are willing to take risks and not put limitations on themselves.

Our visit was fabulous, and highlighted that as current MBA students, we can strive to pursue a successful career in international business and work around the globe. We all left amazed by Darby and her passion, and hope to cross paths with her again the future.


Angela Stevens – Singapore Night Safari

Sing1 - Night Safari5bThursday night we ventured to the Singapore Zoo for a night Safari. We boarded a tram and off we went into the jungles of the Singapore zoo. The animals and their habitats were amazing. We saw animals from 7 different regions of the world. After the tram ride we ventured back out on the walking trails to see the animals even closer and some additional animals we could not see from the tram. The exhibits were amazing. Some animals such as lions and hyenas felt like they were only about 5-10 feet away. I was very impressed with the visibility of the animals. As mentioned before some of the animals were 5-10 feet away while others were either laying right at the viewing glass or had not barriers at all. Such as the Wallaby who could wander right in front of you if they choose. Some of the other amazing animals were saw were Asian elephants, giraffes, zebras, tapirs, sloth bears, and sugar gliders.


Sabrina Singleton – Singapore by night

On Thursday night, while some of the group were doing the Singapore Night Safari, Pablo and I explored the city. We took the MRT  to the Marina Bay Sands and back. The trip was fabulous – the whole area was like one giant mall/amusement park!  One thing that stood out to me was the friendliness of the people we encountered who helped us navigate ourselves there and back as we got lost a lot.  For example, someone behind us helped us buy our tickets. In addition, the MRT security and gate keepers  were incredibly patient and helpful.  When I went out of the wrong gate at the train the gate keepers let me back in through the right gate without scolding me or making me repurchase a ticket.
For a large city, Singapore is welcoming and doesn’t feel unsafe. I saw a lot of women and children out in the city late at night. Because of this and the friendliness of everyone we encountered, I felt a lot more conformable walking around Singapore than I would in Vietnam or in any large US city. Such a fun night out exploring!


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imageby Raymond Harpel

At the start of this trip I was a bit wary of our time in Vietnam given the stories I have been told it being unclean, not very friendly… The people telling me these stories were 100% incorrect!!

While at first glance of the country does give an impression of uncleanliness, when you take a deeper look and focus on what is going on, people are always cleaning. From city workers that adorn their orange jump suits to local store owners out with their handmade straw brooms, at further glance it seems that everyone cleans, everyone moves.

HCM2 - Food tour20


Now while the physical attributes of the country from the city streets and buildings to the countryside and jungles are quiet appealing to the eye, I feel the true beauty of the country comes from its welcoming and fascinating people. The people of Vietnam truly do seem to have a smile on their face at all times and despite any given adversity. From seeing the employees at the Garment factory who smiled even while completing the laborious tasks of sewing and counting to the people on the side of the street or in the rural areas that seem to have very little, but continue to smile. The beauty of the people continues in their openness and willingness to communicate with foreign tourists – their eagerness to meet, speak to and learn more about others is amazing.

A personal example of this occurred at the Presidential Palace. As we walked down the stairs and in the direction if the alace, I saw a young boy studying my every move (also while smiling). The boy’s father turned around, smiled at me and eagerly followed with a very welcoming “Hello”. I replied with a “Hello” in returned and in my American ignorance thought that this was the conclusion of the interaction. Nope, the man followed with a question “where are you from?” “The USA” “Oh, I am from Vietnam”, “Great” I replied. Still the conversation continues as he tells me “I go to Hanoi State”. At this point we reach the bottom of the stairs and he concludes with a cheerful “Goodbye”. At first I though “how random was that” but I thought further about it and started to feel very welcomed and more open to future conversations like this.

HCM2 - Food tour10(2)The Vietnamese people are very inquisitive and very curious, and are not afraid to stop and ask you a question. To some this may seem weird, and to me at first it came across this way being so unlike the behavior we are used to the in US. But as our travels continued, I started to see that this quality really added to the beauty that underlies the Vietnamese culture and its people. I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to make this visit, to meet people and experience this amazingly beautiful culture first hand.

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