Entrepreneurs Welcome!

Written by: Antwane Stavis

Bom dia everyone! It’s day four in Portugal and MadGrad16 is still rolling strong. This morning we were introduced to a wonderful company, Startup Lisboa, that opened for business in February 2012.  The company was founded in 2011 by the Municipality of Lisbon, Bank Montepio and IAPME, but it is a private non-profit association. Office Manager, Nuno Moreno, filled us in on how big his company’s “heart” is. The company’s mission “is to support the creation of companies and entrepreneurs in their first year of activity, to promote job creation, and aid the urban, social, and economic vitality of Lisbon.” Startup Lisboa has helped entrepreneurs from over 35 countries which generated over 2,000 jobs. They help set up residence in Lisbon for those who want to enter the program, and they facilitate meetings with professionals from specific areas of interest in workspaces they created in two historic buildings and a section of the business lounge at Lisbon Airport. For our knowledge and to illustrate how they work, we were presented with four companies that used Startup Lisboa to start their business. We were able to see how the company works, ask questions as if we were entrepreneurs starting out and network, while also sharing our perspectives about how we viewed their company.

The first company, Argeo, could not physically be present, so their representative, Giovanni Spiller, presented to us by a virtual call, showing the commitment that is made when one joins this family. Argeo is an Italian based company that created a community inside a “Pokémon” style app available in both Google Play and the Apple store. Their tagline, “Augment Your World” describes their augmented reality and GPS Geolocation app. When one pulls up the desired items on a smartphone, the app shows a location where the item can be scanned. Upon reaching the location, the camera on the phone turns on to scan the area until the item is found, and then the person is granted with a reward, such as a discount coupon, that can be saved or gifted to friends or family. Argeo would also like to focus on more personalized app ads. For more information, visit http://www.theargeo.com/engindex.html .

Next, Kristina presented about Secretcitytrails, an app she created with co-founder Wendy because they believe traveling is broken. Kristina explained that one may download apps when on a vacation or a tour that doesn’t share enough information or expose the great hidden spots worth visiting. Secretcitytrails is a game one can play alone, with a team or to compete with others. Solving riddles in the game takes one off the beaten path and leads to the good local spots. The games are created by locals, tour guides and staff. The games are then reviewed and if found worthy go live for purchase and play. This is an interactive way to take a tour of the city and see some of the not so advertised sights and places of a city. For more information go to https://www.secretcitytrails.com/ .

The third presentation was made by Sention CEO Zan Bridi. Sention developed a new way to see advertisements on live or past sporting events. Advertising at sporting events takes a lot of time and equipment to ensure what is being advertised appears like it was placed on purpose by the sports venue. Bridi’s program uses modeling, programming and cloud server technology to put the advertisement in the best viewing or hard to place areas. This is all accomplished remotely, which reduces the price of using a high-end broadcast booth. For more information go to http://www.sention.co.uk/ .

Carlos led the final presentation on a company called BoxToLife. This product is meant to “provide meaningful experiences to visitors who attend museums, archaeological sites, parks, monuments and streets.” A visitor does not need an internet connection to access the box.  The information is uploaded to the cloud and the information is broadcast in whatever language one selects. Its artificial intelligence learns and creates more powerful experiences for visitors. For more information, visit https://www.boxto.life/

There are still more days and more fun to come so keep stopping by to learn about our next adventure. Until then, obrigado Ate Logo!

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s Off to AICEP We Go…

Written by: Yamila H. Harris

On the heels of an incredible weekend exploring Lisbon and learning about its rich culture and history, Cohort 16 of Stetson’s EMBA program kept the momentum going with an insightful visit to AICEP. AICEP is a government agency in Portugal focused on trade and investment, whose mission is two-fold: to encourage foreign companies to invest in Portugal and to aid Portuguese companies abroad with their internationalization processes. 

It was fascinating to interact with diplomats like Francisco Calheiros Manezes, Sebastiao Silva and Frederico Batista, as they shared insights about Portugal’s current economic revival, evidence of which appears to be everywhere we look. From innovation hubs and incubators like Hub Criativo do Beato and Startup Lisboa, to the mass influx of tourists and local tour providers like Keep It Local Tours (Lisboa), and the plethora of new, trendy shops and restaurants like those found at the LX Factory, there’s no denying that Portugal, and Lisbon in particular, is experiencing a major boom.

Given my particular proclivity for technology and STEM advocacy, it was also incredibly encouraging to hear that more than 26% of degrees in Portugal are in STEM…and that number is growing. It was equally exciting to hear that the Web Summit, one of the most coveted technology conferences for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike, will be hosted in Lisbon for the next decade. This is a huge win for the city and for Portugal’s economic future.

All in all, it was a great start to the official ‘work’ week, with AICEP formally kicking-off our business visits in Lisbon. Thanks again to the AICEP team for taking the time to meet with us.  Muito Obrigada!!

Historical Tour of Lisbon

Written by: Joe Styron

According to our tour guide Miguel, Fado represents the culture of Lisbon and Portugal, always nostalgic and full of pride. With a sense of longing and pride in the past, the people want the present to be more than what it is. Today we got to see the historical beauty and innovation of the country, but we were always brought back to earth with a sense of truth and honesty. Our day started on the shore of the Rio Tejo in Belem (Bethlehem). We were able to spend some time learning about Lisbon. With 500,000 inhabitants, Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal. Including the outlying areas, that number grows to 3.2 million inhabitants. As a country that only boasts a population of 10.5 million, one can easily see how Lisbon, a city older than Rome, can be full of excitement and intrigue.

After our brief lesson, we were able to stop at the Belem Tower.  Miguel pointed out the ornate structures and with pride talked about the construction of the tower. He highlighted that Belem Tower, in its original state, was only meant as a safeguard against unwelcome ships, but the Portuguese king wanted to show off his vast wealth and pride, adding extra towers which then became customs and created the look of the area.

We then traveled to the Monument to Discovery. The idea was to showcase the people that led Portugal to innovate and strive for the unknown, bringing them out of the dark ages. Leading the way at the top was Henry the Navigator, known not for his navigational skills on the water, but for navigating Portugal into an age of exploration. It was here, when talking about the nations that Portugal traveled to prior to anyone else and the grandeur of what once was, that we got our biggest insight into the Portuguese culture. Miguel shared his personal feelings about how prideful he was, despite longing for better present-day conditions. The new museum located next to the Monastery of St Jerome was built using the same limestone used in the monastery and essentially added that feeling of nostalgia to a present-day building.

After seeing the Monastery, we stopped for Pasteis, a local favorite pastry, originated from monks. Pasteis are a delicious treat made with Filo dough, custard and egg, topped with either cinnamon or powdered sugar. As we left, we passed by Pasteis de Belem, noticing the long line of patrons waiting to get one of the local, handmade, historical treats.

We spent another hour exploring areas of Lisbon, and talking about the rich, prideful culture of the people who always yearn for more. It was heartbreaking to hear that the inhabitants of such a beautiful, welcoming, and forgiving culture often do not extend that same notion to themselves, but nonetheless it was an honor that we were given a glimpse of what truly is, extremely Portuguese.

Finding the Culture in Sintra

Written by: Elise Porter

Ola! Today, the MadGrad16 cohort embarked on a cultural tour of Sintra. Our first stop – Quinta de Regaleira! As we climbed the hill to the entrance, the group started to realize something wasn’t quite right…Cabo de Roca had lost its power. Our tour guides at Keep it Local Tours made an impromptu change in plans to head for the coast, but not before stopping at a local bakery off the beaten path for some fresh Bao de Chorizo, which was comparable to a Portuguese Hot Pocket (cheese and chorizo bread).

After taking a group picture, we stopped at Mercado Da Praia Das Macas, a local fish and fruit market, to try tremoço (salty bean with a waxy outer shell).  The group then proceeded down the coast’s narrow streets to reach Cabo de Roca, which is the “most western point in Europe – other than Ireland.”  Cabo de Roca was one of the biggest tourist locations we visited today. When we first arrived, the area was filled with many motorcyclists, but that did not stop us from admiring the views and taking many selfies!

The next stop on our tour was a local family owned restaurant called the Sisudo, where we  enjoyed the daily specials: Octopus rice, pork leg, and green bean soup.  After lunch, we decided to head to the beach where we were able to dip our feet into the very, very cold Atlantic water.

Then, the group traveled to see an actual cork oak tree! We were granted the opportunity of an up-close experience with the same types of trees we were learning about in our course. The tour guide unlocked the gate next to the cork oak to introduce the group to Baloo, a Portuguese Mountain Dog who was extremely excited to see us…and our left-over pork leg bones.

Afterward, we braved the narrow streets back to Quinta de Regaleira, where we toured the summer house of Antonio Monterio, walked the gardens, and climbed to the initiation well. Our day ended with a stop at a local Sintra bakery called Casa Do Preto for travesseiros de Sintra – a Portuguese pillow pastry! Yum!

Janice’s Transformational EMBA Journey Results In Lifelong Opportunities

Janice Trew

Shared by Janice Trew

As a senior in high school, I had an opportunity to join a two-day business session in our regional school district. Our first guest speaker talked to a room full of college-bound high school seniors about the importance of a college degree and more so the importance a Master’s Degree would be 15 years from that moment. I remember thinking I was barely prepared to spend another 4 years in school, yet alone more. His comments stuck with me and here I am today, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. And though it took a while to convince me I needed additional education, the choice was based on timing, opportunity and support.

Stetson’s Cohort 14 EMBA students posing for a group picture.

My career path has always been focused on Food and Beverage. From my first job at 14 in a breakfast cafe, to my first professional internship at 21, I have worked all types of food service in many different positions. I wanted a change after 15 years as a Food & Beverage Leader at Walt Disney World. Better yet, I needed a change. An old friend, and alumni of Stetson EMBA, called me up with an opportunity to work in Revenue Management as an analyst, focused on Food & Beverage Line of Business. I was overjoyed to join the analytical workforce where I could use my vast knowledge of the food and beverage industry behind the scenes. Not only was I fortunate to work along side my friend Brian Sward (alumni) and Krista Eudene (alumni), I  also met and became friends with Marissa Condello who was just finishing up her program at Stetson. Along with past F&B peers I’ve had the privilege to work next to, those three spoke so highly of the program, I finally sought more information. I knew I could be more successful in my new role, with additional education. It was the first time in my 15 professional years, I felt the desire to learn more to advance my potential.

The choice to go back to school became a family decision. Both my husband and I worked full-time during the weekdays, and watched over our three young daughters. We analyzed our finances and talked through what a typical week schedule would look like if we decided I was able to go to grad school. Since our daughters were still in elementary school and middle school without after-school activities, the timing was the best it could be. I never wanted to be a “calendar person” but quickly realized my success as a professional, a college student, a wife and mother would depend greatly on a balanced schedule. We made it work. We agreed to keep family movie nights every Friday, but sacrificed family dinners on Sunday to study. We agreed on early bedtimes, so I could study at night and still watch Saturday football every other weekend. Even squeezed three half marathons into the 18months, for added fun.

Cohort 14 at Disneyland in Hong Kong during their International Trip.

I could have never predicted the profound influence the EMBA, and my cohort, would have on me. The leadership course taught me so much about myself, in both a professional perspective and a personal insight. I was taught vulnerability and strength. It allowed me to thrive in my past role, and gave me courage to seek out new opportunities. Half-way through my program, I was promoted into a senior analyst role within the Food and Beverage Pricing and Revenue Management team. Through the business courses, I realized what I passion I had for financial business aspects. Motivated by Dr. Giovanni Fernandez’ classes, I started to look for new roles at Walt Disney World in the financial arena.  Since my last class in Spring 2018, I was offered a role with the  Attendance Forecasting team on a large-scale project with vast scope and challenges. And just recently joined the Merchandise Forecasting team as a Senior Analyst. I truly believe the Stetson EMBA helped create the opportunities for me, through advanced education and leadership.

I graduated in May 2018, as part of Legion 14, with a Masters in Business Administration and 11 life-long friends. We shared ideas, projects, long study nights, and lunches. We bonded in Hong Kong and Thailand but grew roots for those friendships since Day 1. We watched one another grow personally, and professionally. We had each others’ backs; if one of us stressed, we all offered a helping hand. All the late nights, all the weekends studying, all the pressure and all the help: it was worth every minute, every penny, every effort. This program helped me believe in myself and helped me reach my potential.

Janice & family on graduation day.

Dr. Madhu Rao

B. Madhu Rao earned a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of Toronto. He started his academic career at the College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and served as professor, chair of the department of applied statistics and operations research, senior associate dean, and interim dean of the College of Business Administration. During this period, he was recognized for his undergraduate and graduate teaching, research productivity, administrative leadership and service to the university.

He comes to Stetson University from Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he served as senior associate dean for two years. His professional experience also includes serving as a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, visiting faculty at the National University of Singapore and as industrial engineer for a major engineering firm in India.