Princeton Review lists Stetson among the nation’s best

Stetson University’s School of Business Administration has been named one of the nation’s best business schools in a new guidebook released Oct. 11 by The Princeton Review.

Stetson's business school is among the top in the nation, according to The Princeton Review.

The education services company compiles its guidebook of top business schools annually based on input from more than 19,000 students in Master of Business Administration programs accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, as well as statistical data received from the institutions.

The new 2012 edition of the book, The Best 294 Business Schools, includes a profile of Stetson’s School of Business Administration that includes information on academics, student life and environment, the admissions process, statistical data and career placement services. Students highlighted Stetson’s small class size, personalized education, accessible and supportive faculty, modern facilities, flexible schedules for working professionals, and global focus, including opportunities to study business abroad during short or semester-long trips.

It highlights Stetson’s traditional MBA, Executive MBA and accelerated MBA/Juris Doctor (law) degrees. The profile notes the proximity of the university’s Central Florida campuses in DeLand and Gulfport/St. Petersburg and satellite center in Celebration to metropolitan areas including Orlando, Daytona Beach and Tampa Bay.

“Stetson University’s School of Business Administration graduate programs are designed to bring post-graduate professional academics to the highest level,” said Dean of Business Administration Stuart Michelson. “Designed for both current and future business professionals, the curricula are focused on the real-world challenges and opportunities facing businesses today.

“The graduate faculty is committed to delivering the highest quality instruction in an active-learning, engaged environment. Small class sizes and professors who provide insight and an academic focus are key features of the Stetson experience,” Michelson said. “The international focus of our curriculum prepares the business professional to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global business environment.”

The Princeton Review profile on Stetson includes comments directly from students. “The atmosphere is collaborative, as most students are also ‘interested in diversifying their skills in both business and networking,’” the guidebook said. “For professionals the atmosphere is supportive, and students find they ‘can relate with classmates, since many also have full-time jobs.’”

Of the more than 13,000 business schools worldwide, Stetson’s School of Business Administration is one of only 177 that hold AACSB accreditation in the fields of business and accounting, and one of only 37 private colleges and universities that hold the accreditation in both fields.

Read the full press release here.

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

Cohort 8’s South Africa trip makes national news

The New American Colleges and Universities News picked up a story about Stetson University’s Executive MBA program and distributed it to the organization’s national audience. The article it selected was the one composed for Stetson’s The Lynn Letter about Cohort 8’s recent trip to South Africa.

In addition, The New American Colleges and Universities News posted the following video welcoming Stetson University’s incoming class of undergraduates:




The New American Colleges and Universities is a national consortium of independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement. The New American Colleges and Universities collectively and individually are often cited as models of the intentional integration of teaching and learning, scholarship and service. The organization was founded in 1995.

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 6 graduate is nominated for Forty Under 40

Jennifer Small, a graduate of Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 6, was among only 200 professionals in the Central Florida area who were nominated for the Orlando Business Journal’s Forty Under 40.

Jennifer Small said her education at Stetson played a big role in her nomination for an Orlando award.

“It was an honor to be nominated with such a prestigious class of visionary business leaders from all realms of profit and nonprofit companies,” said Small, who is the executive director/CEO for The Grove Counseling Center in Longwood. Nominations for the Forty Under 40 competition honor community leaders under the age of 40 who have shown professional success as well as civic contributions.

“I was both surprised and thrilled when I received an e-mail from someone in my Rotary Club, congratulating me on the nomination, which had appeared in the Orlando Business Journal,” explained Small.

“I credit Stetson with my increased knowledge and recent success! I attribute this nomination to the education I received from the Executive MBA program.”

Small also received her undergraduate degree at Stetson University in DeLand, where she was a music major.

‘Chronosynclastic infundibulum,’ or community building in action

The Sirens of Titan

Image via Wikipedia

Business and creativity are not the opposites some people think they are. In fact, in Dr. Richard Pernell’s MGT 502, Management & Leadership, students learn a blend of business and creativity in the form of  chronosynclastic infundibulum.’

This class was Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 9’s first. It is designed to foster constructive approaches and methods to enhance creativity, innovation, employee motivation and career success. The cohort quickly built a sense of unity, trust and respect with each other that will strengthen over the next 18 months.

Chronosynclastic infundibulum is defined in Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan as the following:

A point in space where, upon a person entering it, that person’s existence in space-time ceases to be linear, becoming discrete. This means that a person that has entered a chronosynclastic infundibulum exists at multiple points and lines in space-time. For example, such a person could exist at all points in time in one place and also appear at another point for five minutes.

According to Dr. Pernell, chronosynclastic infundibulum’s obscurity is just what makes illustrating it the perfect assignment. “It’s all about their learning,” explained Dr. Pernell. The team members, divided into three groups, were thrown into an ambiguous situation with unclear expectations and a fuzzy evaluation process.

“They are developing as a community through experiential learning,” continued Pernell. “This type of learning has emotion as the glue to stick the learning to their experience and is therefore cemented in different parts of the brain to be retrieved at the appropriate time for use. Their presentations illustrated their commitment, not necessarily to the product itself, but rather to the structured action that produced it. This structured action is essentially ‘community building in action,’ the major outcome of MGT 502. Their presentations let all of us view their thinking in a way that was unrestricted by their previous learning patterns.”

One group created a movie as the platform of its presentation and paired it with a performance. “It was a true representation of each person’s creative talents coming together,” said team member Christina Laemers. “We created an original poem set to representative music and imagery, and further appealed to the senses with an interpretive reading that incorporated elements of taste, texture, scent and sound. The journey of creating the project was the real learning experience, most notably learning how to collaborate as a group, discover each other’s strengths and allowing ourselves to trust one another. I thoroughly enjoyed working and presenting with my team as well as watching what the other groups came up with!”


Another team performed a poetic reading of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (LSD), complete with lighting, sound effects and props. “We were trying to have Cohort 9 travel though time and space into a chronosynclastic infundibulum where all the different kinds of truths fit together and then bring them back to the classroom,” explained student Toshi Matsumura. “Our props included a spinning color ball, flashlights with colored cellophane, rain sticks, citrus and lavender fragrances, train sounds, stream sounds and kaleidoscope motions on the two front white boards (by jones). The team not only enjoyed presenting to Cohort 9, but also the time spent together to prepare for the presentation.”

A third team used its collective artistic talents to create a movie using puppetry and sound effects to show their interpretation. “I really enjoyed this project because the creativity allowed us to let our guards down and act a little silly, which was beneficial during a time when we’re still getting to know each other,” said Lindsay Swantek, a member of the third group. “It was enjoyable to see how each group interpreted the meaning so differently. I have a feeling we’ll always reflect back on the memories of these presentations with a smile!”


With course No. 1 now complete and 16 more to go, Cohort 9 has worked hard to develop meaningful connections with one another, with the assistance of Dr. Pernell and Professor Peggy Stahl.  Members of the cohort are partners in each other’s learning, and their sense of excitement will undoubtedly propel them through the academic journey ahead.

Executive MBA offers insight, perspective

Articles that explain what an Executive MBA is often focus on how entering a program is an investment in your future, or how it’s an opportunity for a professional to work and go to school at the same time, or how you will gain a competitive edge over your peers.

An Executive MBA classroom serves as an incubator for real-world experience and business thought leadership.

But for Aaron Wright, the experience was much more.

“I look at the way I work differently and with more insight,” said Wright, who is a graduate of the Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 7. “I listen a lot more and try to understand everyone’s point of view before expressing my own opinion or offering advice. I contribute more and can provide a perspective that wasn’t there before getting my MBA.

One of Wright’s classmates, Penny Miller, agreed, and said that the program taught her different ways of seeing the world. “I knew before end of first year how much had changed for me and the way I think and balance and juggle,” said Miller, who works as an HR business partner.

In general, Executive MBA programs attract a diverse group of professionals who want to expand their knowledge and skills. Many use their degree to enter a new field or gain expertise in a new area. Most students have at least 10 years of professional experience under their belts by the time they enter a program, with a significant portion of this experience at the managerial level. (Traditional MBA students usually average three to five years of work experience.)

An Executive MBA helps move along a student’s or graduate’s career. Susan Golinsky, another classmate of Wright’s, said the pursuit of her education at Stetson helped her get ahead of her colleagues. “The fact that I was in school helped differentiate me from others who were applying for jobs,” said Golinsky, “because I was balancing a full-time job and school. I got some promotions that I believe were attributed to my increased business acumen from the Executive MBA program.” Golinsky said the program was a confidence builder, and she learned an incredible amount from her professors and from members of her cohort.

A powerful feature of a typical Executive MBA program is the collective professional experience of its participants. This feature greatly enriches the educational environment, and a team approach is often used on projects that encourage the sharing of diverse perspectives on specific topics.

“My education has allowed me to better understand everyone’s motivations within a project or team environment,” explained Wright. “Where I was previously financially weak, I am now strong enough to ask tough targeted questions to ensure that my partners and clients are all able to accomplish their goals.

Members of an Executive MBA cohort learn from each other and form a professional network that can last throughout the graduates' careers.

“The cohort style of learning and phenomenal support from faculty and staff was the most important highlight for me,” Wright continued. “My experience felt like ‘service-oriented learning.’ We got such great support on a daily basis that it allowed us to focus on a rigorous curriculum and course of study. This really sets Stetson apart from other programs, and I am much better for it.

Many students say they are often able to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it immediately to their current job. Lofton Barnes, a student in the Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 8, is a perfect example.

“The transfer of knowledge is extremely fast,” said Barnes, who co-owns Ladybird Academy in Winter Springs/Oviedo, Fla. “The concepts that we’re learning I can go play with immediately. I can tell a difference already, many months before I graduate.

The Executive MBA is much more than a classroom with a highly educated professor, a textbook and students. The Executive MBA classroom is home to discussion among highly engaged professionals with a facilitator who has real-world experience. It is a place for managers from diverse businesses to work side-by-side throughout the program. Students learn from other students not by chance; it’s woven by design into the very fabric of the program.

Other direct, practical benefits of an Executive MBA program include:

  • Increased confidence and motivation
  • Ability to identify and apply best practice
  • Improved critical thinking skills
  • Clear understanding of the theory behind best practice
  • Greater ability to lead a team and to work within a team
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Incisive and durable competitive edge

Learn more about Executive MBA programs at the Executive MBA Council, The Princeton Review and the Graduate Management Admission Council. Learn more about the Stetson Executive MBA program here.

Open House this weekend

In the same way that getting a sneak peek at the inside of a book can help you decide if you want to read it, a sample of the Stetson University Executive MBA program can help you decide if it’s right for you!

You can enjoy your own commitment-free sneak peek of the Executive MBA program this Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Open House. This session will provide the perfect opportunity to meet the program staff and alumni, interact with current and prospective students, and see the school’s facilities. You’ll even get to observe an actual class in session and enjoy a laid-back complimentary lunch with program staff, students, faculty and the program director.

Two Stetson Executive MBA Cohort 9 students attended the Open House this past spring, and it helped them make the decision to join the program.

“My experience at the Stetson Open House was very valuable, from familiarizing myself with the building to seeing an actual class in session,” said Cohort 9 student Brian Smith. “The most beneficial part was conversing with current students and seeing how their excitement and passion for further learning shined through. I’m a hands-on learner, so the clear explanation of the Stetson Difference was incredibly insightful, and I knew that Stetson was the right choice!”

Smith’s classmate Christina Boncela agreed. “I did extensive research around various MBA programs and had decided on and applied to the Stetson Professional Evening MBA program,” said Boncela. “After discussing my decision a little further with a friend who was a current Executive MBA student, I reluctantly agreed to attend the Open House just to make sure I had all my bases covered.

“It’s a good thing I did because I realized I had made a mistake,” Boncela continued. “After watching the current Executive MBA class interact with each other, it was clear the Stetson Executive MBA program would be right for me. I’m so glad I was able to attend the Open House and experience hands-on what it means to be a Stetson Executive MBA student. I know I made the right decision and I’m so excited to be part of this amazing program.”

The Open House will be held at the Celebration Center, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To RSVP, call Wendy Lowe, Executive MBA program coordinator, at 321-939-7603 or e-mail her at

Open House Schedule:

10:00-10:15 Arrive, meet program staff and director

10:15-11:00 Introduction/overview

11:00-11:30 Executive MBA alumni perspectives, tour of campus; Q&A

11:30-12:00 Observe an actual class in session

12:00-1:00 Lunch with program staff, faculty, current students; additional Q&A

Seats are limited. Only two other Open House sessions are scheduled for 2011-2012:

  • November 19, 2011 at 10 a.m.
  • February 18, 2012 at 10 a.m.

College degrees and careers

The importance of an education for your career, written by Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 4 alumnus Cathy Martin:

I was in my thirties when I confronted the beast that was my education to that point. There I was, in a management  job  I loved (Director of H.R. for a large diversified manufacturing and marketing firm), without the usual college degree. I’d attended a big university for nearly five years, unable to settle on a suitable major. Or, unable to sit in a seat in a classroom and focus, depending on how you view my bad decisions. Or, if you view them as my parents did, more interested in social opportunities than educational opportunities.

Read the rest of this post here. 




Cohort 5 graduate earns certification

Craig Feldman, a graduate of Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 5, now has three letters to add to his name besides MBA: PMP.

Craig Feldman, far right, and his classmate Lynda Hoyte completed PMP courses in a program at Stetson University Center at Celebration. Mike Mekdeci, center, of Stetson congratulates them.

Feldman recently completed a course through the Stetson University Project Management Certificate Program and passed the subsequent test to become certified as a Project Management Professional. Feldman currently works as a Project Manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Feldman said his Executive MBA helped prepare him for this additional segment of his education. “Stetson taught me the foundations of what I needed to know, such as the mechanics behind project management. I learned a lot of the analysis for project selection in the Executive MBA program, like IRR, NPV, future value — comparing the project options you have and determining which project to choose.”

This new certification also taught Feldman several skills he didn’t have before, such as how to effectively plan a project, monitor the metrics behind it, and manage the expectations of participants.

“I feel incredibly accomplished,” said Feldman. “I’m so glad I started this program.”

Feldman graduated from the Stetson Executive MBA program in spring 2009 and began the Project Management Certificate Program in fall 2010. He received his certification Aug. 9, 2011.