All posts by Cristiane Gandin

Meet Stetson’s Incoming EMBA Class of 2018

Stetson Executive MBA is proud to present the new EMBA Class of 2018.

Name: David T. Pickens

Hometown: Paducah, KY

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.27.08 AMBackground: Attended two Universities and completed a variety of Executive Educational Training programs over his career. David is now retired after a 41-year career at Darden Restaurant.

Based on your own selection process, what would you say for those who are looking for an EMBA to apply?

I would suggest that an applicant for an EMBA program should seek to find an institution that answers three specific questions for you.

The first question is does the design of the EMBA program allow a potential student to give their full commitment and effort toward a successful and rewarding educational experience.

The second question is can you sense a high degree of understanding for your academic goals and dreams from the members of the institution that you come in contact with.

And finally, do you feel that there is confidence in you as a potential student.
What impacted you the most on your selection process for an EMBA school/program?

To better understand what influences you I would suggest a tour of the facility, various meetings and conversations with faculty and staff, and time in a class.

This was an important part of the process for me. To be candid, I had several conversations with other schools. I also visited a campus and participated in a class. The net of it for me was that I felt a commitment from the team at Stetson. That commitment works both ways to be sure. I felt that commitment and I wanted the teal at Stetson to feel the same commitment back from me!

What led you to choose this program?

The people at all levels, the diversity, the facility, the EMBA schedule and the reputation of Stetson University.

What are your higher expectations about Stetson and about this EMBA?

My expectations are to successfully complete the EMBA program. To accomplish this I understand that I will need support from others. This support should come from the facility and staff, as well as the other members of Cohort 14. I am excited to leverage my business experience and expertise and I would expect that this would be valued. I also do believe that I can help others in their quest to successfully complete this program.

What would you ultimately like to achieve during these program?

I would expect to experience personal and professional growth; I also expect to assist others in the program by being a valued and committed member of the team. I really want this to be a rewarding and satisfying experience.

Anything else you want to share?

I clearly understand that I am not a typical (whatever that is) student at the Stetson University EMBA program. I have been retired for almost two years after a rewarding and successful 41-year career at Darden. I was the President of Olive Garden (7 years) and Red Lobster (2 years) prior to my retirement. I am also the proud father of Kate, our 13-year-old daughter. She thinks it is pretty cool that I am going to school! My wife Sue is a fantastic person, an amazing friend and an awesome mother. I could not pursue this goal without her total support.

I also want to help others and I spend much of my time now on a variety of activities that I believe are meaningful and that make a positive difference in people’s lives.

This EMBA program is one of those things for sure!

I know that I will need help and assistance along the way, and I am committed to providing the same to others during our journey together.

Inspiring Business Men from Stetson’s Executive MBA

Stetson University’s Executive MBA program has formed great leaders since its inception in 2002. “Our proposal goes beyond theory and is intrinsically related to a culture of leadership development, which is only possible to reach with great commitment and vast hours of personal time and professional guidance”, says Yiorgos Bakamitsos, Associate Dean for Stetson’s School of Business Administration.

Proof of that can be found everywhere. Alumni from Stetson’s EMBA program have been granted the best of the best in their career development. They have not only achieved great positions in great companies, but also have been inspiring people and teams throughout their journey.

Kenyon Langford
Kenyon Langford, Cohort 7

Kenyon Langford, Vice President of Information Technology for The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, is one example. Kenyon is a native Floridian, and has been growing his career in many innovative ways. Many interesting and important projects propelled him to the top. Specifically he recalls one project that made him feel as if he was on the right career path. “One of the larger projects I’ve been priviledged to be involved with would be the architecture of a club management software package that would run our club/city and potentially be sold to other private clubs upon completion.  My Stetson EMBA helped me tremendously with the accounting requirements of this application.  It also helped me with my project management skills and with the ability to write a justification package that resulted in the project being approved by the board of directors”. Kenyon subscribes to the maximizer approach of leadership, empowering employees and encouraging them to do their best work. “The architecture of a cohesive talented team is key for my success and for the success of the organization”, stated Kenyon.  His career is not the only thing Kenyon has been passionate about. “I am a new father and it has added many wonderful challenges to my life and my professional career”, whom is very proud of his personal accomplishments and his family.  Kenyon fills his free time by serving on the board of a health care organization, in the Keys, and has plans to join other influential boards, which has only been possible because of his passion, dedication, and engagement with the highest of leadership standards.

John Mandigo
John Mandigo, Cohort 4

Another great example, is John W. Mandigo. John came from Wichita Falls, TX, and is currently the North America Sales Engineering Manager for ThyssenKrupp Elevator. Working for the same company for the past 12 years, John has been assigned to important projects including: Miami Dolphins Stadium, Citrus Bowl, Daytona Speedway, MD Anderson Cancer Research Center, which also happened to be one of his first big jobs that not only benchmarked his career, but was also a significant learning experience. John remembered that “It was a year out of college and I secured a renovation project at MD Anderson in Houston, a $52 million dollar job.  It was an incredible opportunity and I learned more than words can describe”.  More recently, he is working on a prestigious project in Toronto, Canada. In his career, John always believed in the power of knowledge as an important tool to drive your path. “I am asked all the time why did I go on to get an MBA at Stetson, Masters Engineering at University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters from University of Oxford, and my short answer is, I love to learn and push myself to take every bit of knowledge and tie it together in all aspects of my life”, said John with confidence and respect for his own choices and battles. John challenges himself everyday to learn something new. This is one of the most positive experiences a leader can have, and John knows it, “I constantly find myself asking why, how, what is the root cause, what is the value proposition, etc.  Besides, I usually start my week out with just a couple small goals in an area that I need to build my knowledge on”.  As of late, his biggest challenge is making sure that he has time reserved for his wonderful wife and two little girls ages 5 and 22 months. Not an easy goal, when someone is highly committed and dedicated to his tasks as a leader, as John is. “I have found that I actually have to put on my calendar some of the little things that my family has planned so I don’t look back in 20 years and say where was I?  Trust me, it’s easy to lose track of time when you love your job like I do”. John knows not only the value he has for the society and for his corporation, but also the value he has for his family, and that is extremely important if you want to lead with wisdom and to inspire others.

Craig Feldman
Craig Feldman, Cohort 5

And talking about inspiration, Craig M. Feldman is another stellar example. Craig was born in New York but came to Florida to work for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in Orlando, where he developed a valuable career over 15 years. Craig is currently based in Miami, FL as the Director of Concept Design & Development for Carnival Corporation Global Experience & Innovation, where he has been for the past 16 months. “I lead the creative and media efforts for the Global Experience & Innovation team at Carnival Corp. Our group is responsible for experience planning and development for the world’s largest vacation company. It’s a very exciting time to be part of this company, as we’re focusing on the future of the Guest and Crew experience. For me, this is the role of a lifetime because it’s the aggregation of just about everything I’ve done in my career – the perfect mix of creative and technical”, said Craig with excitement and joy. Craig knows that leadership is all about finding the perfect balance between the future and the past. With big ideas and dreams about what’s ahead, it’s important for him to remember the lessons he’s learned in his career. “Always keep your eye on the prize, but do it in a way that is accretive to what’s been accomplished along the way”, he says. Craig uses the professional experiences he has personally had as a sounding board for when a new challenge comes his way. Throughout his career, he’s been fortunate to have held many diverse roles that have all built upon each other, so each new door that opens is connected in some way to something he’s done before. And as a great leader and a motivated person, he tries to keep a firm hold on the things that are really important in life, his family and friends, while still working hard to write the next chapter. ”My current role is very high-capacity, so it leaves little time for extra-curricular activities. However I still save time to the things I love most, my family, to travel and see the world. Whether it’s discovering new places or revisiting familiar favorites, you can’t keep me in one place for too long”. Innovation is part of Craig’s life, and Stetson provided him with tools that brought him the perfect balance between being innovative and responsible for the things he has done, and for the things he still wants to accomplish.

To accomplish an EMBA was important for each one of these brilliant men. They have learned not only different practices to conduct their jobs in a significant and impactful way, but also how to manage their teams thorough innovation. Bringing this all together is a win every-day to the battle of professional and personal life. They each have developed their knowledge, were trained to never give up, and have stayed committed to their goals and dreams! We look forward to seeing where journey in life takes them next!

Ready to Commit and to Be Challenged

“Be ready to make the commitment over the next year and a half. It is a challenging, yet rewarding program”, says Jason Deane, currently enrolled in Cohort 13 at Stetson EMBA program. Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.13.59 AMA former resident from Nottingham, NH, Jason moved to Florida when he was 12 and completed his undergraduate at University of Central Florida with a double major in Accounting & Finance. Jason loves to watch sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), gamble, vacation, drink, eat, and have fun with friends and family. He was raised by his mom and his grandpa who have made everything possible for him to reach the highest of standards with their constant support and encouragement.. 

Currently, Jason is a Business Process Manager at The Walt Disney Company and chose to do the Stetson EMBA program so he could continue to grow as a leader and progress in his career development. “My plan was always to go back and get an MBA once I had some work experience. I had to be in the right role where I could make it work and also find a program that would be beneficial as well”, he recalls.

Jason’s entire career has been with The Walt Disney Company where he started as a High Scholar doing merchandise at Wide World of Sports on the weekends as a part-time cast member. After 5 years, and after he finished College, he started working with Disney Worldwide Shared Services Payroll and has had multiple roles within the department. Some time later, Jason left payroll for an opportunity to work on the Shanghai Project as an HRIS Analyst for Time and Pay. Jason admits, “This was one of the greatest experiences I have had during my professional career and has allowed me to challenge myself and experience things I may never get to again”. Once that project was finished, Jason returned to his payroll position, but now as a Sr. Analyst handling payroll taxes for the domestic company and shortly thereafter was promoted to the Business Process Manager for Time and Pay for the Enterprise. In order to better strengthen his activities, Jason partners with all Disney business units domestic and international. This includes Theme Parks and Resorts, Disney Cruise Line, ESPN, ABC, Corporate, Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and others. He also interacts with Disney IT, with other vendors and with SAP, a huge multinational IT corporation.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.33.53 AMAll the responsibility that comes with his important job has led Jason to new goals in his career and to new and important objectives in his education as well. Stetson EMBA has been challenging, but essential in a way that the program has already proved itself to be a right step Jason has taken in his life. “The most surprising thing for me has been the realization of how much you can accomplish in a day when enrolled in the EMBA. If you will learn anything from this program, it will be how to prioritize and manage your time. You will realize very quickly how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it”, says Jason, who has his family, friends and in his girlfriend, Danielle, all the support he needs to achieve this important aspiration for a great future, “Between home life and work life the timing was right”.

As far as the EMBA, it is a great commitment and an immense challenge, Jason is very positive about that. “There will be high times and low times, the key for me is time management and knowing there are things I did before that I would need to give up to make this work. If you have a significant other or family, I would make sure you have their complete blessing and buy-in because it is going to take time away from them in the short-term. Like anything else in this world, no sacrifice; no victory. I would recommend the program to anyone looking to better themselves not only in the workplace but in everyday life.”

One of the high points Jason pointed out about the Stetson EMBA program, is its Cohort based format. “It is nice being with the same people through the entire program. You can lean on them as most of them are going through the same experience you are. You will quickly learn people’s strengths and be able to utilize each person’s skills to help the cohort as a whole”. Being able to learn and grow from other people that have different perspectives and work with different companies employees is a huge benefit for anyone, and Jason not only acknowledged that, but also understands that this is the best way to walk this path – joining efforts!

About the future, Jason shared “The goals I have for this MBA program are to continue to develop my leadership skills and gain experience from others that work in different environments and acquire different and varied skills. I am looking to continue to grow as a person and a leader”. As much as Jason wants to grow, Stetson EMBA also expects to assist their students achieve the grandest opportunities and position they can, and be sure that the program is designed to teaching much more than theory. Students will apply their knowledge and earn many opportunities to practice until these new skills are refined and polished. Stetson EMBA students are poised to conquer everything they aspire to.

An Inspiring Marketing Career

Innovation and leadership development have always been two of the main pillars for Stetson Executive MBA approach. Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.02.46 AMIt has been a rewarding experience to see the vast opportunities our Alumni have fulfilled in the professional market, and how much their careers have become strengthened and intensively wedded to social, environmental and economical responsibility.

Darcy Clark is a perfect example. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Darcy was part of Stetson’s EMBA Cohort 7, and since graduation has been committed to the highest standards for her continued professional development and future. Three years ago Darcy was nominated as the Marketing Manager for Disney Springs. In this position, Darcy has been responsible for the day-to-day on-property marketing efforts for the retail, dining and entertainment district at Walt Disney World Resort. This includes everything from social media to collateral development, media interviews to writing for The Disney Parks Blog. During Disney Springs’ recent transition from Downtown Disney, Darcy spent a lot of time educating partners about the transformation and the future. Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.22.17 AM“This movement is the largest in our history and we’re literally doubling in size, adding about 60 new retail locations and many new Food & Beverage offerings, including three by James Beard Award Winning Chefs. I’ve been in this role for three years, and I’ve seen every construction wall go up. I’m thrilled that I’m here to see them all come down”, says Darcy.

With fourteen years of professional work experience with Disney Parks & Resorts, Darcy has had a variety of marketing-related roles. She explains, “I’ve been an Advertising Account Manager with our in-house agency, Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group; I’ve been part of our Synergy Team, as the liaison with other divisions of the Disney Company; I’ve even spent time working in Digital Marketing, where I was responsible for the Walt Disney World Facebook page, among others.” All of those roles combined made Darcy a great candidate for this job, which is a nice mix of the skills she has acquired over the years since she started out as an intern with the Walt Disney World College Program. “I think when you work your way up from an entry-level role, you have a better sense for how the organization works and it makes you appreciate it so much more when you finally land in a job you love”, she concludes.

One thing to remember is that although there are challenges with any job, they can make you stronger and bring a better sense of accomplishment. For Darcy it has not being any different, and she remembers, “For me, I had a lot to learn about the operations side of the business. For ten years, I sat in an office building and supported the Parks from afar; in my current role, I’m located in the midst of Disney Springs, and I love it! This is a fast-paced environment. My current team isn’t afraid to schedule an 8:30 a.m. meeting. We work really hard and sometimes it’s hectic and stressful, but at the end of day, it’s so worth it!”

Darcy story is inspiring and brings Stetson immense pride in her tremendous accomplishments! Join us to celebrate this inspirational woman that is making a significant difference in the world.

About Disney Springs™

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.23.24 AMThe name change from Downtown Disney® to Disney Springs™ is official! This change marks an important milestone in the ongoing transformation of the shopping, dining and entertainment district at Walt Disney World® Resort. Drawing inspiration from Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs treats guests to a one-of-a-kind Disney experience amid beautiful open-air promenades, flowing springs and waterfront charm. Disney Springs will include four interconnected neighborhoods: The LandingMarketplaceWest Side and Town Center. When Disney Springs is fully completed in 2016, the number of shopping, dining and entertainment venues will increase from the current 75 to more than 150. Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.22.27 AMNew to Disney Springs is The Landing, home to unique shopping locations and memorable dining experiences, including the recently opened Morimoto Asia and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. Coming soon, the Town Center will include a diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options – and unique restaurants.

(Source: DisneySpringsHotels.com)

 

 

Preparing for a Great Future ahead

Meet Nathan Ochsenbein from Cohort 13

Nathan Ochsenbein was born in Jackson, Ohio, and is the youngest child in a family of three. He moved to Central Florida in 2008 to attend UCF, from which he graduated with his undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management. Since 2009, he has been working in park operations for The Walt Disney Company. In his current role, Guest Experience Manager, he has led employees in attractions and transportation lines of business. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 1.05.27 PMHaving spent the last four years working at Epcot, Nathan has fallen in love with the park, especially during the festivals.

In his current role, working among a team of fourteen Guest Experience Managers and being responsible for the daily operation of the attractions in Future World, Nathan faces numerous leadership challenges. In addition to the daily operation, each team member has different responsibilities for which they collaborate with the Cast and coordinators in the area to develop strategic plans to enhance the overall Guest experience. Thinking about all those challenges, and eager to reach a higher level in his career, Nathan decided to expand his education. “In the middle of last year, I felt like I needed to conquer another challenge and decided to go back to school. I looked at several MBA programs and Stetson’s EMBA was most appealing. The close proximity to work and home, the Cohort dynamic, the professional development opportunities, and the level of service and experience that the professors, faculty and staff bring to the program made Stetson my number one choice”, says Nathan, remembering that he actually invested a vast amount of time in the evaluation of different MBA opportunities he had in Orlando.

At this point in his career, Nathan is absolutely sure that he has a lot to learn about leadership and business, and he wanted more diverse perspectives to bring to his work location and company. “Joining Cohort 13 and Stetson’s EMBA program was a perfect decision for me at this moment, because I have the time to focus on the academics and I can practice the skills that I am learning in the classroom immediately when I return to work”, affirms Nathan. And this is a reality most students face. Stetson’s EMBA program is not only devoted to theory, but is also focused on the ability to apply the important concepts students learn in classroom to their professional and personal life. At Stetson’s EMBA students engage in lively discussions, activities and projects in a Cohort-based learning environment that allows them to create a sharing and safe network to enhance their leadership and management skills.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.39.40 AMNathan is completing his ninth month of the EMBA program this month, and he is amazed by the immense commitment that Stetson’s team has showed to him, “I continue to be surprised, each and every day, at how the professors, faculty and staff truly care about the success of each Cohort member. Collectively, they work around the clock to ensure they respond to our questions, even about the smallest of details. They also constantly think ahead about obstacles that are potential barriers to our learning environment and do what it takes to minimize the impact. The Stetson University staff caters to the Cohort member’s needs and makes sure that we have everything we need to be successful in the program. Their attention to detail allows for the Cohort to focus on the most important part of the program – learning and growing together as professionals in the community.”

Besides, Nathan cannot forget the diverse opportunities this program is bringing to him, specifically the Cohort Experience. Stetson’s commitment is to guide every student to become the best person, the best professional and the best global leader they can be, allowing the students to have a transformative experience that is innovative, intimate, and delivered in a “client-centered model”. Each student is unique for Stetson’s staff and faculty, and small classrooms allow them to integrate, socialize and share experiences in a single and unmatched way. Nathan gives a lot of credit to it, and he believes that this is significantly contributing to his development. “As we continue our learning journey, the Cohort approach allows for each member to work together as a team so we grow as individuals and as a cohesive unit. We continue to learn about each other, our strengths and weaknesses, and we can focus on the success of the entire Cohort. In addition to learning about each other, we continue to build a strong network of professionals in not only the Central Florida area, but also internationally.”

Nathan is drawing his own path with responsibility, creativity, commitment and a lot of effort. We are certain that his future will bring great opportunities to him, and that the bonds and the friendships he is making at Stetson will help him to get there.

Join us in congratulating Nathan for his commitment to the journey and for his tremendous growth so far. We are confident that Nathan will be poised for continued success.

We Did It! We finally graduated!

13133288_1298164946877453_4750646036647372539_nMy graduation was a really special day that I was fortunate enough to share with my close friends and my Stetson family. After a 18 month journey with nineteen fabulous people, seventeen challenging courses and 12 awesome professors, I found myself in front of a mirror adjusting my cap and gown. Actually, I found myself in front of a mirror having a minor panic attack, because I never really thought that I could do it, and believe me I was struggling to place the hood on my gown with my shaky hands. I was minutes away from having completed a master’s degree, and I was having issues with a hood! Luckily, my daughters came to my rescue, and after talking to me and making me understand I was just nervous, because I cared so much, they made sure that I looked presentable.

When I finally realized I was looking for my own spot in the procession line-up, I was surprised by how many people I knew and how fast the days went by. Starting an Executive MBA at the age of 45 was really not expected, but on top of it all, having made so many friends with different ages and backgrounds (and even from different places around the globe) was not only amazing, it was also magical. It was really cool to see so many friends all in one place, celebrating the same achievement that we all worked so diligently to master

I also really underestimated how amazing it would feel to get hooded and to walk at Commencement. I could hardly contain my smile as I walked past so many undergraduate students, parents, and teachers. But, I have to say that hearing my name called, walking across the stage and shaking several hands of University leaders are all somewhat of a blur! As I focused on not tripping on the stairs or on the stage, I was still able to truly appreciate the excitement and focus on the moment. That day was not only the accomplishment of a tough but rewarding task, but also the realization of a dream! A dream to be proud of myself in front of my family, my friends, my cohort, my graduate professors, and Stetson’s staff who have helped me throughout the journey. I even smiled with pride in front of people that I’ve never met and that I won’t probably ever meet in my lifetime. The joy of the conquest and the beauty of having done something bigger than I ever thought I could do was overwhelming. I was not only graduating with a master’s degree, but I was also graduating from one of the premier universities in Central Florida, and from one of the leading programs in the US.  Being from a foreign university background, I have now accomplished an EMBA program in English and, let me brag a little, I have done a great job!

Having dedicated my time to this EMBA was honorable and such a valuable choice. We always tend to think that we’ve accomplished a lot in our lives and sometimes we neglect our own capabilities and strength to go even further. I put off this lofty goal for a long time, like many do. Having two undergraduates and one graduate diploma in Brazil did not satisfy me. I wanted more, and I came after it. I am the first one in my family to graduate from a foreign university, which is also extremely special. All of the love and support that I had on graduation day — not to mention throughout the course of completing my degree — made me feel really proud of my accomplishments. As somewhat of a perfectionist, occasionally I’ve been less than satisfied with certain grades during my time at Stetson. But on graduation day, the grades, the time spent in the study rooms, all of the little things that I like to stress over, didn’t matter — I made it, I have a master’s degree!

And here I am now, celebrating this wonderful adventure and this huge undertaking with my Cohort, who, like me, was always ready to do more and to conquer new victories. We Did It Cohort 12! We did it, Heitor, Marissa, Yoshi, Chad, Melanie, Tom, Liliana, Ashley, Valerie, Dave, Joe, Jessica, Sarah, Rose, Franz, Britteny, Karla, Kim and Aubrey. We did it together, joining efforts and bringing the “best of each of us” to the experience and from that we have built a strong foundation for our future and for our careers.

Congratulate to all of you graduates who took the time and the incredible and necessary effort to go through it and to become a better person, a better professional and a great leader!

Cheers to a very bright future!

Preventing a Dystopian World: Making the Business Case for Sustainability

by: Dr. Ramachandran Subramanian

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.08.15 AMLet’s say that a remote village has a lake to provide water for its inhabitants. But intermittent rain in that area means that, at any given time, there is a limited amount of water in the lake. Let’s also say that the villagers are aware of this constraint and so have informally agreed that each household will draw only one pail of water a day. One of the villagers – let’s call him Pablo – is a very rational man and feels that his family needs more than one pail a day. Acting out of self-interest, Pablo begins drawing three pails of water a day discretely. He rationalizes his decision by saying that his action is too small to impact the water supply and that the villagers will have adequate water from the pool, no matter what he does. Imagine if the village has multiple “Pablos!” Each acts on his self-interest and rationalizes that their actions won’t have a larger impact. Very soon, the lake will run out of water. While this scenario and its consequences seem obvious now, it took a biology professor, Garrett Hardin, in a paper that he published in a 1968 issue of Science magazine to articulate this in the form of a concept that is now called “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

The Tragedy of the Commons underpins and informs any argument about sustainability of resources and the role of humans in preserving the environment. Hardin was clear in stating that the only way to overcome the “commons” problem (“commons” refers to any shared resource) was to regulate. The villagers could have enacted a law and punish the Pablos to avoid depletion of water. More recently, however, scholars like Elinor Ostrom, a Indiana University professor who won a Nobel prize for her work in this area, argued that more than regulation, the “commons” issue can and has been (in cases) solved simply by people realizing the long-term consequences of actions.

Okay, so what has this to do with MBAs and business education? While sustainability has become a buzzword today, it is clear via evidence from a wide variety of sources, that the business world, at least in the United States, has not embraced it completely. For example, as SolarCity, a leading player in the U.S. retail rooftop solar market, attempts to get corporate customers to switch to solar, they get push back on account of significant upfront costs compared to marginal savings. There is also the well documented case of SodaStream’s almost complete failure in promoting their home carbonation system that saves landfills from being inundated with beverage bottles. It turns out that SodaStream simply couldn’t convince customers (their iconic Super Bowl commercial, notwithstanding!) that buying a Coke or a Pepsi product came with significant environmental cost. The CFO of UPS, in a Harvard Business Review article was emphatic in saying that unless one can make a business case for sustainability, U.S. corporations will only pay lip service to the whole notion. That’s where you come in, as MBAs and potential leaders of companies. There is a small, but noticeable shift happening in the U.S. currently that one can’t deplete nature’s resources today with no thought of tomorrow. Companies are sensing a business opportunity in sustainability. This shift needs to be brought to the mainstream, not by political activists or environmental lobbyists, but by people like you, those that matter in corporate America.

When UPS wanted to play a leading role in the sustainability movement, they decided to isolate on specific areas and make a business case for it to gain the support of upper management. For example, one of their initiatives involves ensuring that their drivers don’t pollute the environment by idling their vehicle waiting to make a left turn on an unprotected light. So, UPS’s operations people studied the impact of simply re-routing trucks to either avoid or at least minimize any left turns at all in their daily routes. Much to their surprise, they found that re-routing had almost no cost impact. They pitched this to upper management and got approval. UPS is just one example. But the point is clear: for sustainability to find favor, the business world has to get in the act. For them to get in the act, sustainability should be examined through the lens of dollars and cents. It can be done and that’s where you come in. Garrett Hardin’s dystopian vision of self-interest destroying the environment is a clarion call for action. The hand-off has been made to you. No pressure!

If you are interested:

Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, December 1968, volume 162, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/162/3859/1243.full.pdf, accessed April 3, 2016

Vernon L. Smith, “Governing the Commons, Forbes, October 12, 2009, http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/12/elinor-ostrom-commons-nobel-economics-opinions-contributors-vernon-l-smith.html, accessed April 3, 2016 (this provides a nice summary of Elinor Ostrom’s work in an easy to read journalistic style)

Kurt Kuehn, “Sustainability a CFO can Love, Harvard Business Review, April 2014, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2014/04/sustainability-a-cfo-can-love, accessed April 3, 2016.

About the Author (Source: stetson.edu)

Dr. Subramanian’s academic background is in strategic management. In addition, he teaches courses in a variety of areas in the broad field of management including family business, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior.

His research interest is in examining various facets of the organization-environment relationship and has published papers related to market orientation and environmental scanning in Journal of Management, Journal of Business Research, and Management International Review, among others. He is deeply interested in the case methodology and has published teaching cases in Case Research Journal, Business Case Journal, and Asian Case Research Journal. He has several cases in the Ivey Publishing depositary that distributes cases worldwide.

In 2013, he was a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in case methodology and taught case writing and case teaching to faculty in two Indian business schools.

 

A new Chapter in a Life full of Challenges

Meet Guillermo Moreno Halphen

Guillermo was born in Puerto Armuelles, Panama, but has been living in the United States for a long time.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.45.36 AMHe owns an Undergraduate degree in Architecture, and later completed his studies with a Masters of Architecture at Texas A & M University. Being currently the President & CEO of HMMG, LLC, Guillermo has a busy professional life. However, looking for higher achievements, Guillermo decided to join Stetson in 2015, and enhance his background with an Executive MBA program.

For Guillermo, the decision to do an EMBA is intrinsically related to a long-standing interest in further educating himself, attempted when he was much younger and in the midst of launching his first company. Faced with the successful growth of his company, he was forced to discontinue the program, leaving this goal unmet and to be completed in the future. Timing and continued interest aligned this past year, so he took the opportunity to embark on this journey once again, with the eventual goal of graduating with an Executive MBA degree. And here he is.

In his own words, “I come from a family-centered background, grew up in Panama, Central America, with amazing parents who encouraged and challenged my three brother and I to educate and advance ourselves beyond their achievement. I left my country to pursue a higher-level education in architecture. While in college, I was fortunate to learn about the healthcare industry, which became my career path, experience and passion. This next step in my leadership growth and development will round up some new skills and knowledge which will enable me to become the complete professional I always wanted to be”. And Guillermo is excelling, ask any of his faculty or peers in Cohort 13.

After completing eight months of the program, Guillermo is sure he made the right decision, and is still excited by the outcomes and results he’s achieved. “The two things that have surprised me most are the speed by which the weeks go by, together with the amount of material being covered”, says Guillermo who has been fully dedicated to books and essays for the past months; and he adds, “The amount of work-effort required outside of class to meet the demands of the program and the need for high-functioning organization given a large portion of the work is team-based, is substantial”. However, as he completes the program courses, he becomes a witness of the improvement and benefits it has brought to his personal and professional life.

GuillermoAs the President & CEO of a privately held advisory services company specialized in start-up, turnaround, and high growth initiatives for organizations serving U.S. and International healthcare delivery systems, Guillermo feels that the challenges of the EMBA program have helped him to achieve a different level of leadership and teamwork in his job. “I have a proven track record of building high performing teams with the ability to translate the U.S. and foreign market trends, and the experience to guide these organizations to prepare and deliver against them”, he says; “And all the learning I’ve had here at Stetson has helped me to go even further”, comments Guillermo.

To deal with diversity of opinions, to work on a team-based environment, to increase skills in time and personality management, and to find great enjoyment and friendly competition, are some of the benefits Guillermo believes he is receiving from this experience. Guillermo sees Stetson’s EMBA program as a well-organized, focused and intensive. For him, this is exactly how an executive level MBA should be. Besides, there are a few more important strengths that complete Stetson’s program. He says, “For me, the added convenience of a community-based program makes it that much more appealing. The diversity, age mix and professional background of the cohort add a refreshing dimension to it. Finally, the administrative staff within the program is unparalleled, making the overall experience pleasant and relevant”.

Gillermo BikeAs his hobbies, Guillermo has his family, great food and great wine – he is actually an avid cook and wine collector, and fitness enthusiast. Besides, he is not only facing the challenges of an Executive MBA, but is also a triathlete and Ironman participant. And he still has many goals for the future. With the MBA degree he expects to acquire new knowledge, to re-energize his learning skills, and to complete a long-standing bucket list item on a personal level. On the professional side – rounding up some skills and abilities he felt were either missing or weak, he is preparing himself to grow and launch the next chapter in his career. Stetson University and Cohort 13, now lifelong friends and partners, cannot wait to witness next steps and will be cheering him on every step of the way!

Is Your Organization Sustainable?

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.44.39 AMby: Dr. Jaideep Motwani

As leaders or emerging leaders of major corporations, here are three fundamental questions pertaining to sustainability that you should be ready to answer.

 

  • What is sustainability and why is it a strategic issue?

The term sustainability means different things to different people. Some relate sustainability to waste reduction, while others associate the term with clean technology, social justice, green movement, etc. Managing the “triple bottom line (TBL)” is the key to implementing sustainability in an organization.  When making business decisions, leaders should consider the social obligations and environmental risks in addition to the financial impact.   To understand the true value of sustainability, it might be good to carefully study some of the fast facts published on sustainability (www.google.com). These include:

  • A staggering 50% of North America’s 108 million corporate PCs and monitors are left on overnight and on weekends wasting up to $4 billion of electricity a year
  • Energy use can account for over 30% of a company’s operating budget, while adding 20% to the nation’s GHG emissions
  • The average American produces 1609 lbs. of waste per year
  • One ton of 100% PCW recycled paper (400 reams of 8 1/2″ by 11″ copier paper)   saves the equivalent of 4,100 kWh of energy, 7000 gallons of water, and 60 pounds of air emissions and three cubic yards of landfill space.

A recent Global McKinsey Survey (www.mckinsey.com) reports that, “Now 43 percent (and the largest share) say their companies seek to align sustainability with their overall business goals, mission, or values — up from 30 percent who said so in 2012.” The top 3 reasons for implementing sustainability are highlighted in the Exhibit below. For sustainability initiatives to be successful, they should support the organization’s mission, goals, and strategic direction and should positively impact the TBL.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.46.48 AM

 

  • What are some of the major initiatives your organization can take to become more sustainable?

There are a wide range of initiatives that an organization can implement as part of their sustainability initiative. Typically, the initiatives focus on improving processes and practices and have a direct impact on the people, planet and profit. The Exhibit below provides a list of the major initiatives that the BASF Company considers when planning for sustainability (www.basf.com). This is a good list to follow when deciding on your implementation strategy.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.47.11 AM

 

 

  • How do you measure success?

Moving forward, if you are not already doing so, you need to create an overall metrics or index that measures and monitors TBL performance and progress. A good example of a metric is the one developed by Cascade Engineering, a private company headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI (www.cascadeng.com). The specific measured included in their Annual TBL Scorecard are:

Economic/Profit – Fiscal Year Sales (dollars in million); and Sales to Kilowatt Hour (sales $ per kilowatt hour).

Social/People – Safety Incident Rate (rates per 200,000 hours worked, %); Welfare to Career (retention rate, %); and Social Contributions (dollars in thousands).

Environmental/Planet – Greenhouse Gas Emissions (CO2 tons in thousands compared to

GR campus sales); PCR/PIR Usage (pounds in million); and Landfill Cost (waste to landfill $).

Research clearly shows that sustainability is here to stay. Organizations such as BASF, Cascade Engineering, among other have achieved substantial innovation growth across the TBL on account of sustainability. As current and future leaders, are you willing to take up the challenge and work conscientiously to construct a strategy, focused on sustainability, which will drive your organization to the next level in the future?

 

About the Author  (Source: gvsu.edu)

Stetson_28Dr. Jaideep Motwani is Chairperson and Professor of Management at the Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University since 2000. He received his Ph.D. degree in Operations Management from University of North Texas. He has co-authored 15 books and published more than 150 articles in prestigious journals such as Operations Research, IEEE Transactions of Engineering Management, European Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Production Research, Omega, Business Horizons, Journal of Operational Research Society, among others. Majority of Dr. Motwani’s publications are in the area of total quality management, lean manufacturing, strategic manufacturing, technology management and global competitiveness. In 2004, Dr. Motwani was ranked among the Top 1% Researcher in the field of Technology Management by the International Association of Management of Technology (IAMOT). He also appears in several Who’s Who in the World publications annually and is the recipient of the Michigan Outstanding Educator’s Award granted by the Governor of Michigan.

Education

  • PH.D., Production/Operations Management, Management Science, University of North Texas. (1990).
  • MBA, Finance, Sam Houston State University. (1986).
  • BBA, Accounting, Bombay University. (1984)

Teaching Areas

  • Quality
  • Strategy Service
  • Operations International

Publications

  • Motwani, J., Ptacek, R., Fleming, R. Lean Sigma Methods and Tools for Service Organizations: The Story of a Cruise Line Transformation.
  • Akbulut-Bailey, A. Y., Smedley, E., Motwani, J. (2012). When Lean and Six-Sigma Converge: A Case Study of a Successful Implementation of Lean Six-Sigma at an Aerospace Company. International Journal of Technology Management.
  • Hu, X., Motwani, J. (in press). Determine targets with revenue maximization and downside risk hedging considerations under the stochastic setting. To appear in International Journal of Operational Research

Services

  • Community, APICS, Member.
  • Community, Stepping Stones Montessori School, Service activities and fund raiser.
  • Editorial and Review Activities, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Editorial/Review Position.

 

Diversity, Integrity and Innovative Leadership in the Human Resources Field

Meet Sonja Scott from Cohort 13

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.43.01 AMOriginating from Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, Sonja Scott has spent the majority of her life in this majestic place. With a Bachelors degree in English, a Master’s Degree in HR Management and vast business experience, Sonja wanted more. So, in the fall of 2015 she decided to move to the U.S. in order to accomplish one of her goals; to get a Master’s Degree in Business in an Executive Program had to be the next step. But how did Sonja get to Stetson University?

“I did considerable research into MBA and EMBA programs worldwide before choosing the EMBA at Stetson University”, explains Sonja. And it was not a simple choice for her. With an excellent background and with an audacious objective, Sonja had a lot to consider. “There were a number of things I considered; an accreditation to guarantee quality, international studies, excellent professors, a University with proven strong academic performance in the education and a program that had ambitious links to the business world”, she says while remembering all the research and analysis she did before having her decision made. And she completes “After the interview process, I felt that Stetson’s EMBA program would serve me best”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.28.32 AMBut that was not everything. Choosing the right university was important; however Sonja had a lot more to think about. “Taking a break in my career and bringing my family of five half way across the globe was a leap of faith”, states Sonja who believes now Stetson’s program was the right choice.

After eight months in the program, Sonja is amazed by the fact that Stetson’s staff and faculty not only go deep into the education process on behalf of knowledge, but also stress important things a leader will need to develop teams, create great teamwork atmosphere, and lead.  “I am pleasantly surprised by how much my professors emphasize integrity and authenticity in business procedures as well as understanding and optimizing financial performance”.

Having her background in HR and special interest in diversity, since the onset, she was very excited to incorporate such grounded values in business studies, and bring everything together to enhance her capabilities as a leader and her knowledge and understanding as a person. “I was also surprised by how much we are encouraged to be the best that we can be, not only in our careers but in our private lives as well. The program takes a holistic approach to leadership development, which I truly believe is one of the program’s best qualities”, she says. Stetson believes that the personal and the professional cannot and should not be separated. For Stetson, the alignment of these two perceptions creates a leader with greater integrity, trust, and greater meaning in life. In times of exponential change, being grounded in deep self-awareness, including your character, besides being introduced to the best theory, is absolutely imperative.

Sonja has already experienced half of the EMBA program at Stetson, and besides the regular classes, she has been participating in executive one-on-one coaching sessions. Not usually offered by other MBA programs, the coaching sessions are developed to bring more effectiveness to the educational process, and to create a holistic environment where students are able to develop not only their professional and business acumen, but also the personal characteristics that complement their curricula and make them more vulnerable to the world and to themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.10.26 AMThe cohort-based learning environment is a great differential of Stetson’s program as well. Sonja affirms that “In the cohort environment, it becomes a more personal experience and we are able to make more meaningful working relationships with each other. As we have gotten to know each other better, we are able to draw on individual strengths and learn from everyone’s skills and experiences”. This is very important to Stetson; learn to connect your self-awareness to the cohort and interact as a team not only on the application of course material, but also in supporting each other’s growth, development, and success.

When asked about goals, Sonja is decisive and direct. “I hope to leverage my HR and management experience with newly acquired business acumen and leadership practices to become a more successful and agile leader. My goal is to secure a new position in leadership or start my own company where I can engender personal and organizational excellence through innovation, acceptance of diversity and integrity”. And Sonja can be totally comfortable with that, because Stetson also believes that agile and inclusive leadership is the future of businesses.