Cohort 8 does some sightseeing before heading home to Orlando

Stetson's Cohort 8 executives visited Cape Point on their last full day in South Africa.

Students in Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 8 departed a bit after sunrise Friday, June 24, to go to Table Mountain National Park and see Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, the farthest tip of the Cape Peninsula, a protected reserve that horns its way into the ocean.

“The coastal drive was absolutely breathtaking,” said Wendy Lowe, Stetson Executive MBA program coordinator. “It was mountainous, the water had rolling waves, and the area was full of wildlife, including baboons, elands and ostriches.

A rainbow greeted the students as they reached the Cape of Good Hope. The vehicle pulled over at various scenic stops, where students’ cameras flashed nonstop. “We strolled up and down nature trails, leading to cliff views of the ocean or to the lighthouse. It was a picturesque setting in all directions, and baboons were running all around!”

“Seeing the natural beauty of South Africa was awesome and breathtaking,” said Jacob Walters, an executive in Cohort 8.

Penguins covered the beaches at Boulders.

The students’ next stop was Boulders, where penguins scattered the beach and roamed freely. “They weren’t the nicest smelling bird,” said Lowe, “but they were incredibly cute as they waddled to and from the ocean and frolicked in the waves.”

A gift shop owner told Cohort 8 executive Larry Flory that in the summer months, locals swim in the ocean with the penguins. “That I would like to see,” said Flory, “but not today! It’s winter here in South Africa in June.”

Dr. Michelson and the students all got their faces painted at the farewell dinner.

The group’s last cultural activity was the Farewell Dinner at Moyo in the Winery Region at Spier, which means Heart. The buffet was spread around the outskirts of a large tented area. Inside the tent, entertainers danced, played the African drums and painted each student’s face in a local design.

“The dinner and African ambiance was a perfect way to end our week-long international trip,” said Lowe after the dinner was over. “The cohort has memories of a lifetime and can’t wait to share the South African way with others.”

The students left South Africa Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to return to Orlando on Sunday morning. A handful of cohort members have made a pact that they will return to this country with their families because of the hospitality the students received and all of the educational opportunities.

Stetson student’s journey to London successful

As reported last week, Stetson MBA student Jason Sauter and his girlfriend Nancy Vidarte, both of Central Florida, visited London this weekend to report on the Royal Wedding. Sauter filed multiple videos for CNN iReport. See some of his video highlights below.

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Read more about Jason and Nancy’s journey in CNN’s pressroom.

Alumnus gets professor’s chair for a day

Russ Lowe taught students about his real-world statistics experience in a recent class.

Recently, a Stetson University Executive MBA graduate flipped his former role as student to that of a professor — at least, for a day.

On March 17, Russell Lowe (Stetson Executive MBA ’09) was a guest lecturer during a STAT500 class, Issues in Decision Science, at the Celebration campus. Dr. Betty Thorne had asked him to present; she had been his teacher during his MBA experience.

“I often use statistical methods, including regression analysis, to assist in making forecasts and estimates on future sales volume for my business unit,” said Lowe, who is regional sales vice president for Acuity Brands Lighting in Orlando. “During my lecture, I was able to share these real-world applications and methods to help Dr. Thorne’s students increase their identification of statistics information in a business context.”

“It was a great privilege to have Russell speak with my students,” said Thorne, professor of Decision and Information Sciences for Stetson University. “His analysis and interpretation of data made statistics come alive! Russ emphasized the value of a graph, looking for outliers, and recognizing variation and its possible causes.”

Students enjoyed the presentation, as well. “Russell demonstrated how statistics can take raw data such as orders placed and sales and turn this into a tool to forecast for future months and set goals for his team,” said student Philip Pilarz. “Russell used principles we have used in class, such as standard deviations and regression, to understand sales numbers across different regions as well as the relationship between variables to better understand what can be expected in time to come.

“Overall, it was very refreshing and encouraging knowing that the material we are taking our time to study can have real life practices in our future business careers, whatever they may be,” continued Pilarz.

Pilarz’s classmates Matthew Durak and Debra Gatlin echoed his sentiments, adding that Lowe’s visit was a great help and provided invaluable information.

“It was my pleasure to have Russ in class during his Executive MBA education at Stetson,” added Thorne. “As a professor, it is my joy to know that Russ is able to apply knowledge gained in his studies to his career. Thanks, Russ, for your willingness to return to Stetson to demonstrate applications of data analysis to our current students.”