Stetson unveils website redesign

Today, you’ll notice something a little different about your online home for the Stetson University Executive MBA program. The website,, has been redesigned to better meet the needs of alumni, current students and prospective students.

Photos like this one of Cohort 7's graduation in May 2011 are accessible through the Executive MBA program's redesigned website.

The redesign was part of Stetson University-wide overhaul of the school’s web presence, giving each department of the college added functionality and easier navigation.

“Some of the highlights include videos on the home page and a section about our international trip,” explained Wendy Lowe, program coordinator for Stetson University Executive MBA. “Now, students and future enrollees can register for events online and apply for admission right on the site. Plus, you’ll find a link to the Executive MBA blog with frequently updated stories, as well as Facebook and Twitter feeds for the program.”

The new site is also home to hundreds of photos sorted by cohort, global destination, and events such as graduation. “This photo library will be growing,” added Lowe, “so check back often!”

If you have colleagues or friends who are interested in obtaining a graduate degree, direct them to the new site,, so they can see if the Stetson Executive MBA program is right for them.

Please forward any ideas for the website or the blog to Lowe at

Business intelligence now more valuable to employers

Screenshot of KNIME

Converting raw data into information that managers can use to make decisions is becoming increasingly important. Image via Wikipedia

A shift in the world of marketing has led to a new appreciation for the analysis of data.

A report in The Wall Street Journal, “Business Schools Plan Leap Into Data,” discusses an emerging trend among graduate and undergraduate business schools to add classes, certificates and degrees geared specifically toward business intelligence, or data analytics.

The article says that as the use of analytics grows, companies will need employees who understand the data. The authors cited a study that found that by 2018, the United States will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers who can use data to shape business decisions.

“Analytics is certainly in the Top 5 things [executives] are worried about and investing in actively,” said Scott Gnau, president of Teradata’s Teradata Labs, told The Wall Street Journal. “Industry is going to demand it. Students are going to demand it.”

Kim Ruggiero, a Cohort 7 graduate of the Stetson University Executive MBA program, said she has witnessed firsthand the business world placing more value on the ability to decipher the numbers.

“Data analysis is vital, especially in the social media space, because as a marketer you need to know who to message to, what to message and how much to message,” explained Ruggiero, an associate marketing manager at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Digital tactics such as online advertising, QR codes, website activity and social media sites are much easier to track than traditional media like radio and TV. It allows us to determine which tactics performed well and what the level of engagement was among our consumers to help influence decisions in the future.”

One of Ruggiero’s classmates, Darcy Clark, agrees. “Data is critical,” said Clark, who works in digital marketing at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “I use data on a daily basis, most often as it relates to our social media and Facebook strategies. We can measure the impact of a particular post and tell how many people engaged with the content, how many clicked through to get more information and how many ultimately purchased (if it was tied to an offer).”

Clark added that many people in her organization are tasked solely with data analysis, each working on a different piece of the puzzle. “It’s that important,” she emphasized.

But as much as data analysis is key in the marketing field, both Ruggiero and Clark say they believe most business schools don’t prepare students for the practical uses of data analysis.

“The base knowledge we gained from the Stetson Executive MBA program set the foundation for later learning that can only occur on the job,” said Clark.

Students in the Stetson Executive MBA program take several classes that focus on the subject, including Fundamental Statistical Management Techniques, Marketing Concepts and Analysis, Managerial Decision Analysis and Marketing Decision Making.

“Dr. Ted Surynt’s and Dr. Ram Subramanian’s classes were great in opening up my mind to think creatively about how all the pieces of a puzzle fit together,” added Clark. “That is critical when you’re looking at numbers and data and how those things fit into the larger marketing and overall business picture.”

Cohort 8 meets with communications giant Vodacom

Communications provider Vodacom was the first business stop for Stetson's Cohort 8 in South Africa.

Vodacom was the first stop on the Stetson University Executive MBA students’ business tour of South Africa, and the cohort’s visit was well-timed. Only three months ago, Vodacom underwent a large rebranding initiative. Vodafone acquired Vodacom in 2008, and Vodacom’s new look and new purpose were just unveiled April 1, 2011.

Vodacom is the leading phone provider in South Africa and has been a known player in the data and communications industry for more than 17 years. It was recognizable by its blue logo, which is now red. The company also introduced its new mission, according to Chief Operating Officer and interim Managing Director, Vuyani Jarana. “Connecting you, creating possibilities and changing lives” is the company’s purpose now, said Jarana. “The goal was to have a customer-focused experience by keeping the message clear — with speed, simplicity and trust.”

The rebranding included ads on TV, radio and print, and also used social media. Familiar characters, famous influencers and entertainers in South Africa were embedded into Vodacom’s messaging to keep the established customers while attracting new ones, especially youth. To reach the growing demographic of youth, Vodacom’s ads incorporated trendy music. Ads were linked to promotions which were key differentiators in the market. One of Vodacom’s goals is to give the customer top priority, and personnel now smile during their entire experience with the customer.

Students Denise Edelmaier, Larry Flory and Aziz Alessa tapped into their knowledge from their recent marketing course to ask questions pertaining to Vodacom’s new branding strategy and the company’s return on investment from the rebranding. The result, explained Vodacom executives, was that internal personnel had buy-in and renewed enthusiasm in their work. Externally, Facebook users soared, sales peaked, and the new red logo captures Vodacom as the “hot” player in the data and communications space in South Africa and moving globally quickly.

The Stetson team expressed gratitude to the entire Vodacom leadership team and executive department leaders for spending their morning educating Stetson University Executive MBA students on their unique, growing and evolutionary company.

“Vodacom has set the bar extremely high for what we hope to see and learn in our other South Africa business appointments,” said Flory. Eric O’Leary concurred: “The enthusiasm and passion that they have in their work and new direction is inspiring and gave me several ideas applicable to my line of work.”

Think About What You Publish (via The Job Whisperer ®)

Cathy Martin, Stetson University Executive MBA alumnus from Cohort 4, says that little things can make a big difference when it comes to your online persona. Have you posted something that was helpful or harmful to your career or personal brand?

Your career development and job search processes will involve publishing. When I say publishing, I mean publishing in the sense of planning, writing, producing, and sending forth into the world written words that represent you. You might publish letters, resumes, a blog, a Facebook page, a website, a LinkedIn profile, a series of articles, or other representations that can help you–or disadvantage you–in your career quest. Life used to be simpl … Read More

via The Job Whisperer ®