Category Archives: Entrepreneurs

Leadership and Team Simulation: Everest

Cohort 12 – Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest

During the Executive MBA Cohort 12 Management & Leadership course, students participated in a simulation exercise called “Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest” by Harvard Business.

Students explored various group dynamics, the impact of individual vs. team goals, and the significance of clear communication to succeed as an overall team. Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated the simulation as student groups navigated various factors and problem-solved in this active learning challenge.Pic1

The overall goal was to summit Mount Everest. The students were assigned a role (photographer, marathoner, environmentalist, physician or leader) in each of their teams.

Each team member had their own personal goals they were trying to achieve throughout each part of the simulation.Team members may have been asked to sacrifice their personal goals in order to benefit the team commented Melanie Johnston and Tom Sharman, but ultimately it was up to the team’s leader to ensure the goals were met in the best way possible.

Complicating the work was the weather, food supply, medical supplies, health and mental acuity of the climbers, distribution of information needed for the ascent.Pic3

 The teams had several “a-ha” moments when information was individually being shared that would impact the overall performance of the team. This is when critical communication and decisions needed to be made for the team to succeed as a unit.

The valuable business lesson was that individual goals don’t always coincide with the team goals.

A valuable lesson that reinforces that each member brings unique strengths to a situation and by sharing them with integral members of the team, the entire group will perform better, whether that is in a virtual world or at work.

Cohort 9 – Final Capstone Presentations

C9 Capstone 1
Team 1 presents

Cohort 9 completed their final capstone course on March 23, 2013, by bringing the knowledge and skills they had gained over the past 19 months, and applying these to real-life business cases. Students experienced a working product, and the processes of strategic business plan development while bringing together different functional business areas such as marketing, finance and management to develop a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the company.Each group worked with an existing company, collaborated throughout the semester by acting as a consultant to refine all aspects of their business plan, and eventually make recommendations accordingly. On the last day, the business teams presented their recommendations to the entrepreneurs and a panel of experts. Each group did a phenomenal job, making this a very rewarding experience for the students and businesses alike.

Below is a summary of the businesses that our EMBA teams were exposed to for this exercise.

The judging panel & audience

Natural Current, Inc. – Edwin, Crystal, David, Michelle & Brian.

Natural Current produces innovative and environmentally friendly products for the swimming pool industry by providing an off-grid alternative to clean residential and commercial swimming pools. The product utilizes solar technology to reduce the energy cost to the consumer, and also reduce their carbon footprint, and is capable of filtering up to 10,000 gallons of water daily.

ProFlower Design – Joe, Monica, Wayne, Nelson & Lindsay.

ProFlower Design offers unique and innovative software that has the potential to reinvent the world of floral design and events. ProFlower Designs provides a range of tools to companies in the floral industry.

C9 Capstone 2
Congratulations to the winning team!

Fusion Fitness Designs – Glorimar, Christina L., Rebecca, Bonnie & Duane.

Fusion Fitness Designs is a Florida based company which designs, manufactures and sells strength training equipment. Their mission is to “supply the international strength training equipment market with a superior product in design and aesthetics and provide new designs, increased technology and health awareness training.”

Choose Rain – Christina B., Danielle, John, Maria & Michael.

Choose Rain operates in the ultra premium bottled water category. The amount of water Americas drink has risen nearly every year and Choose Rain plans to capitalize this trend while standing out by offering a healthy alternative to the other bottled water products, which are treated with chlorine.

Summaries ‘R US – Brad, Dianne, Gwen, Toshi & Valerie.

Summaries ‘R Us is a website of textbook summaries (focusing on History and Science) that helps students to focus their studies on important and relevant information in book chapters. The site would provide chapter summaries, as well as other useful resources to help students study and manage their workload.

Congratulations to everyone on some outstanding work, and we look forward to
celebrating your graduation with you next month!!!

 

Pozitron teaches Cohort 9 about entrepreneurship

Cohort 9 students enjoyed the youthful atmosphere at Pozitron.

Students from Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 9 got to meet with Firat Isbecer, co-founder and director and business development at Pozitron, earlier today. The highly entrepreneurial mobile app and IT business has been very successful in its short 12-year existence.

Pozitron’s founders came up with the business idea during their final years in college. The business’ mission is to help its clients grow their business with its unique, custom-implemented mobile technology.

The company is self-funded, and from 2006 to 2011, has experienced a revenue growth of 1,100%. Pozitron’s growth has increased by 80% each year, and Isbecer said the company looks for a continuation of this trend in the coming year.

“Cohort members were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the company because Turkey did not embrace entrepreneurs until just recently,” said Wendy Lowe, program coordinator for the Executive MBA program.

The company has grown from a handful of people to more than 60 today, with the average age being only 25. These young engineers are competitively compensated and have access to cutting-edge technology, earn bonuses every six months and receive other perks to stay competitive in the high technology industry that exists today. Pozitron’s client numbers have risen with the release of the iPhone because now, not only do banks want to use its mobile applications, but so do thousands of others. Today, Pozitron doesn’t have to as aggressively sell into new clients as clients are looking to use mobile applications to communicate internally and externally with employees or partners.

Isbecer told the students he believes Pozitron was in the right place at the right time and that the economic downturn actually worked in its favor because competitors who were trying to come to Turkey didn’t have the patience for the economy to sort itself out. This impatience allowed Pozitron to nurture existing relationships, grow new opportunities and find ways to differentiate itself locally. Its focus on large Fortune 500 type of companies, primarily banks, hasn’t been a quick sell. It often takes 11 months in the works with a two-month delivery timeframe to deliver a customized solution.

Pozitron continues to deliver and build long-term relationships. Mobile applications and IT products in general will continue to be an emerging sector, said Isbecer. He added that some measurable risks must be taken to be ultimately successful and to grow! Isbecer said he believes you must be transparent and honest, as well as build a lasting team. “These components will earn integrity and opportunities, especially in Turkey,” he said.

Cohort 9 student Monica Jordan asked how Pozitron handles ongoing training and development.  “Very carefully,” said Isbecer. “As employees want to attend key conferences or workshops, we sponsor them. We will bring in specialists in a technical field as well.”

Student Rebecca Potter asked how the company handles human resources issues. The company has grown so quickly that Isbecer continues to be involved in the interview process of each candidate and even with financial decisions as well. However, he added, the company is scaling to a point that he will start letting go of this segment of the business.

Two other students made observations after the visit was over. Gwen Schaefer said she enjoyed the company’s entrepreneurial spirit, adding that she likes that they have made calculated decisions to prosper, using patience instead of making the wrong decisions in hiring or partnering with a misfit. Student David LaRocque pointed out that in both this business visit and the earlier one to GE, the speakers stressed the importance of using local people to impact local economy.

Chang and Trujillo honored by Hispanic community

Juliana Trujillo, left, and Yvonne Chang are active in Central Florida's Hispanic business community.

Yvonne Chang, an alumna of the Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 5, was a runner-up for the 2011 Don Quijote Award for Professional of the Year. Chang was a finalist with peers José Costa, vice president of Nodarse, a Terracon company, and Jaime Piñero, director of sales for CenturyLink. Costa won the Professional of the Year award.

The Don Quijote Awards are the most prestigious honors within the Hispanic business community in Central Florida, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida. The Don Quijote awards are a celebration of success, courage and determination. They recognize the hard-working, innovative entrepreneurs who have exhibited the spirit of Don Quijote — that is, visionaries, dreamers and businesspersons who are willing to take risks in order to achieve their dreams.

In attendance at the awards banquet, Dec. 3, was Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 8 student Juliana Trujillo.

“It was such an inspirational event surrounded by successful, dedicated and humble professionals,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo was recently appointed president of Walt Disney World’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA), in which she leads a committee that seeks to provide business insight to internal operations through engaging the Hispanic employee community at Disney while providing social, cultural and career advancement exposure for that key workforce segment.

Three Cohort 7 students win honors in worldwide business simulation

Kenyon Langford

If Dynergy Champ was a real company that manufactured athletic footwear, three Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 7 alumni would be millionaires.

The three alumni, David Ulloa (College Board in Virginia), Chuck Rivas (Walt Disney World), and Kenyon Langford (GE Healthcare), just graduated with their MBAs earlier this month. Their performance in their final classroom exercise earned them an invitation to participate in the Best-Strategy Invitational (BSI), and their accomplishments in this exclusive group earned the trio accolades.

Dynergy Champ won first place in its industry, dominating fashion, with more than $1 billion in sales in its final year, based on a 10-year simulation. The industry was made up of six companies total. “We tried almost every tactic from small boutique to giant mega-producer,” said Langford. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t try the virtual shoe because the second-place team had that sewn up.”

David Ulloa

In addition, Dynergy performed well in all the categories BSI monitored: earnings per share (EPS), return on equity/investment (ROE) and stock price. All places are out of more than 100 teams that participated. See the team’s placement in each category below:

9th-best stock price: $468.96

10th-best ROE: 42.8%

11th-best EPS: $22.31

21st-best overall score: 108.5 out of 110 points (six-way tie)

The team of Ulloa, Rivas and Langford will be enshrined as one of the best teams ever to have managed a BSG company, and the three executives will be inducted into the BSG Hall of Fame as BSI Grand Champions. Dr. Kathryn Martell, the team’s adjunct professor, will also be recognized as a Master Professor.

Chuck Rivas

All Stetson University Executive MBA students participate in The Business Strategy Game (BSG) as part of the BN 585 capstone course, in which class members are divided into teams and assigned the task of running an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies managed by other class members. Company operations parallel those of actual athletic footwear companies. Just as in the real world, companies compete in a global market arena, selling branded and private-label athletic footwear in four geographic regions — Europe-Africa, North America, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. BSG has a strong 21-year history.

Company managers must make decisions relating to plant operations, distribution and warehouse operations, work force compensation, online sales at the company’s website, sales and marketing, and finance. The challenge is to craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in a respected brand image, keeps your company in contention for global market leadership and produces strong financial performance.

Congratulations, Stetson University Executive MBA alumni, on this tremendous accomplishment!

‘Precious Pets’ business plan wins Cohort 7 honors

This is the team of Executive MBA students whose Precious Pets Resort and Spa business plan was selected by professors as the best. They are Wael Alfattani, Susan Golinsky, Terry Tasior, Kimberly Ruggiero and Joel Foreman.

Detailed business plans created by teams of students are a critical entrepreneurial exercise that draws on all elements of study and comes at the end of the rigorous School of Business Administration’s EMBA program.

Four teams in Stetson EMBA’s Cohort 7 created plans for businesses ranging from health and fitness to practical transportation and an art house. But professors and others who studied the plans awarded the Best Business Plan to a pet care concept developed by Kim Ruggiero of Winter Garden and four students from Orlando: Terrence Tasior, Wael Alfattani, Joel Foreman and Susan Golinsky.

Precious Pets Resort and Spa targets a high margin and underdeveloped niche of the steadily-growing pet care market by focusing on pet boarding supported with revenue from grooming, pet sitting, daycamp and care services and retail merchandising. The market model is tested and ready to be developed.

Participants in the Precious Pets project and other EMBA graduates will receive diplomas at Stetson University Commencement ceremonies on May 7.

Stetson University’s EMBA program is designed for mature students with years of real world experience who must fit weekend classes around family and career obligations. Most members of the group are employed by various Disney operations, but others came from backgrounds with Saudi Arabian Airlines, General Electric and other businesses.

Self-discipline pays off for Cohort 6

EMBA’s Cohort 6 -- Back row: Anne Hamilton, Brian Sward, PJ Baro, Andre Hale, Shawn Byrd and Eileen Bowe. Middle row: Abdullah Qasim, Kelly Long, Damaris Jimenez, Mark Snider, Carlos Escobar, Doug Steele, Derrick Guss and Melissa Emley. Front: Bryan Tabler, Deborah Gustafson, Jennifer Small, Melania Lavezzi, Shibani Kyani and Melissa Holycross.

Consider this business proposal: Build a luxury hotel resort condominium on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast that will have rapid initial sales and maintain high occupancy rates. Call it the Tropical Sands. Give it 84 two-bedroom units with many amenities, including balconies with views of both ocean and jungle. Build it in the country’s hottest destination, easily accessible and environmentally rich.

Or what about selling cars online, or operating an adult daycare center or selling wine or developing and selling smart phone apps?

They are all entrepreneurial ideas of students in Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 6, who graduated from Stetson University in May 2010. The detailed business plans, some of which may become reality, are a critical exercise that comes at the end of 19 months of rigorous study.

Awards, surprises, friends and good food made a festive finish for a cohort that went a long way together — all the way, in fact, to the constitutional monarchy of Dubai on the Persian Gulf, 3,700 miles east of the cohort’s classroom, for the international field study element of the group’s studies. In Dubai, students met leading financiers and managers of businesses with a global reach. They also walked the sands of the Arabian Desert and met a few camels.

Students voted lecturer Peggy Stahl of the Management and International Business Department as their “Distinguished Professor.” Jennifer Small was voted “Top Student Overall.” The award for best business plan, decided by Drs. Monique Forte, Ted Surynt and Stuart Michelson, dean of the School of Business Administration, was Tropical Sands, developed by Anne Hamilton, Melania Lavezzi, Abdullah Oasim and Doug Steele.

Among other accomplishments, Cohort 6 left its mark on Stetson by developing a Code of Ethics for future cohorts.

The EMBA program is designed for students with years of real world experience. Cohort 6 is a combination of regional residents, employees of Celebration area businesses, and some who traveled more than two hours to attend class every Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

But that wasn’t the hardest part, said PJ Baro. “Making the decision to obtain a graduate level degree was the most difficult part,” Baro said. After that was merely a matter of “great discipline and focus to balance family, work and school responsibilities.” The reward, he said, has been meaningful relationships, a wide professional network, advanced business knowledge and acumen that will “make a lifelong impact.”

Baro was one of six Cohort 6 members tapped to join the honorary society Beta Gamma Sigma. The others are Eileen Bowe, Melissa Emley, Jennifer Small, Doug Steele and Brian Sward.