Students cross into Asia to visit Koc Holding

Cohort 9 visits Koc Holding on the Asian side of Istanbul.

After two business visits earlier today at GE and Pozitron, members of Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 9 crossed the bridge in Istanbul to the Asia side to visit Koc Holding.

Ms. Funda Gungor, investor relations coordinator for Koc Holding, presented. Koc Holding is a large industrial group in terms of revenue, exports, share in the Istanbul Stock Exchange and number of employees. Koc Holding is in the Top 50 companies in Europe and Top 200 in the World. It has an 85-year history with a very large presence in Turkey and has 9% of the total sales/GDP, controls 11% of the Turkey Exports, and has 15 companies listed publicly.

Koc Holding has grown by an average of 31% in dollars in the last five years. Its focus is energy, automotive, durable goods and finance, which all have high growth potential.

Gungor stressed the importance of balancing risk and return in a portfolio and explained why Koc Holding has diversified its portfolio so that different sectors can thrive at different times within the global economy. She said that Koc Holding differentiates itself by quality and service, not just dollars. It also has the largest distribution network, customer database, leading brands with strong recognition and a diversified portfolio. It has strong net cash of $641 million.

Koc Holding is a third-generation holding company; however, family is only involved at board meetings, not in the day-to-day business dealings.

Cohort 9 students spend time together at Koc Holding.

Koc Holding is looking to export Fiat products to the United States. Cohort 9 student Brian Smith asked how Koc deals with the automotive industry. Gungor answered that the company is very dependent on its partner here and that Koc Holding just acts as the distribution and manufacturing hub, where in the other sectors it has much more control.

Cohort 9 student Gwen Schaefer asked about the company’s database. Gungor confirmed that it contains more than 11 million contacts that Koc tries to upsell and cross-sell to.

Danielle VanCola, Cohort 9 student, was interested in how Koc brands its companies. Many times, said Gungor, Koc uses its logo, and depending on the situation, it may combine that with the existing company name. For instance, when Koc Holding purchased Yapkikredi Bank. Koc uses its logo with the original bank name because of long-standing name recognition.

Members of the Koc Holding Business Team said they were impressed with the company's strategy.

Members of the Koc Holding Business Team (Dianne Honel, Valerie Baker, Maria Chalmers, Rebecca Potter, and VanCola) were impressed with how Koc Holding responded to the oil crises and the contraction in the market of 25% to 30%, as well as how strategic this company is in responding to future growth.

The entire cohort learned that Koc Holding not only has a dominant position in Turkey, but it is also socially responsible through various philanthropic efforts in education, healthcare, and culture and arts through the first private foundation created. In 2011, Koc Holding committed $203.5 Turkish Lira to reduce the impact of operations to improve the environment, showing that the company is here to stay.

“The cohort crossed the bridge and returned to the European side of Istanbul,” said Wendy Lowe, Executive MBA program coordinator, “but we can say we were in Asia!”

Stetson Success Report, Fall 2011

Danielle VanCola joined the Stetson University Executive MBA program in August 2011, and she has already earned a promotion at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. VanCola is one of many Stetson Executive MBA students and alumni who have recently been promoted. Stetson University congratulates these Hatters and proudly recognizes their accomplishments.

Danielle VanCola was recently promoted to Account Executive, Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

Danielle VanCola was promoted from Junior Representative to Account Executive at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. The Cohort 9 student was inspired by her colleague Shariq Khan, who is a member of Cohort 8. Khan also works at Wyndham and was recently promoted to Director, Product Yield Management at Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

Khan’s classmate Harley Wentzel was promoted to Operations Manager of Ticket Fulfillment at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts when his application, during the screening process, was elevated because of his MBA education.

Other promotions for Cohort 8 include Jason Plas to Integration Analyst, Time & Deployment, Strategy & Standards, Walt Disney World; Jacob Walters, Communications Technology Specialist, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; and Juliana Trujillo, Market Area Sales Specialist, Partners Federal Credit Union.

Kelly Glassburn and Susan Golinsky were both recently promoted within Disney.

From Cohort 7, Susan Golinsky has recently been promoted to Labor Administrations Manager, Operations Area Manager and Project Manager at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts. “Obtaining an MBA degree has opened more doors and opportunities than before, not to mention adding numerous networking channels,” said Golinsky.

Golinsky’s former classmate Kelly Glassburn was also promoted to Manager of Marketing & Communications for Disney Photo Imaging. “Completing the Stetson Executive MBA program had a tremendous impact in both my personal and professional life, and I continue to reap the benefits on a daily basis,” Glassburn said. “I secured a promotion and found that often topics discussed in class on Friday would resurface in a Monday Steering Committee meeting, making me more strategic and effective in my new role.”

Norbert Dean is now the Chief Procurement Officer for Sea World.

Other promotions from Cohort 7 include Darcy Clark to Digital Marketing Manager, Disney Destinations; Norbert Dean, Chief Procurement Officer, Sea World Parks & Entertainment; Terry Tasior, Finance Manager, Walt Disney World; Lourdes Mola, Manager, Minority Business Development, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; and Penny Miller, Operations Human Resources Business Partner, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts.

From Cohort 6, Jennifer Small has been hired as Executive Director/CEO at The Grove Counseling Center. She was also recently nominated for Orlando Business Journal’s Forty Under 40.

Justin LaFoe is now Director, Global Retail Development for Disney.

Justin LaFoe of Cohort 4 was promoted this fall to Director, Global Retail Development at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts. “The Stetson Executive MBA program helped refine my strategic decision making skills which gave me the advantage I needed to grow at Disney,” said LaFoe. “Completing the program at Stetson was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career.”

Other promotions from Cohort 4 include Geoffrey Pointon to Digital Marketing Manager, Disney Destinations; and Cathy Martin, Director, Career Development, Stetson University College of Law.

Stetson University will celebrate each success as Executive MBA students and alumni continue to excel in their careers. Onward and upward, Hatters!

Students and alumni, please report any promotions and job changes to so we can recognize your accomplishments!

Cohort 9 begins its journey

Cohort 9 is off to a good start, with one weekend behind the students already — and now only slightly less than 19 months left to go!

Class began Aug. 12, and members of Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 9 started their Management and Leadership class taught by Dr. Richard Pernell and Professor Peggy Stahl. “The problem solving and early teamwork was evident as I witnessed small groups working and collaborating effectively,” said Wendy Lowe, coordinator for the Stetson University Executive MBA program. “The first weekend seemed to be extremely successful.”

The students of Cohort 9 are just getting to know each other. They started class Aug. 12 learning management and leadership.

The students agreed. “In the last two days I have gained an affirmation that this program is absolutely the right path for me,” said Christina Laemers, a Cohort 9 student who works as a communications manager for Walt Disney World.

One of the features that stands out in the Executive MBA program is the cohort environment, which teaches students to work together, to support one another and to learn from each other.

“Not only do I feel better equipped to be an effective leader,” said Laemers, “but I know the people in my cohort, although all very different, share the same investment in the learning process. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, and to be surrounded by such fantastic, unique and intelligent people!”

“Just in the first two days, we have witnessed a dynamic group of people that is well balanced with personalities,” said Laemers’ classmate, Duane Trumble, a quality assurance/guest support professional at Walt Disney World. “I can feel that we are going to have a lot of fun, learn a lot from each other, and cohesively walk each other together through this experience. It’s going to be an awesome ride!”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the first week of class dealing with behavioral patterns relating to business interactions,” Danielle VanCola, a member of Cohort 9 and a junior account executive at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. “Rich and Peggy engage and challenge us to be involved and interact with our cohorts.”

The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom, either, as the students begin to apply it in their careers. “Each week, I will make an effort to apply different aspects of the instruction to my personal and professional life,” said VanCola, “and see how it influences others positively.”

The students resume class Aug. 26 and will alternate weekends from now until April 2013.