Ram Subramanian is professor of leadership in the management
department in the School of Business Administration, where he teaches courses in strategy both at the undergraduate and
at the M.B.A. levels. 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 international management, 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 Harvard Business
Review, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Research and Management
International Review, among others.
Ram makes extensive use of the case method in his classes.
In 2016, Ram was invited to serve on the editorial board of Case
Research Journal, after he won an award from the journal as its “Most
Outstanding Ad Hoc Reviewer.” He has
published teaching cases in Case Research Journal, Business Case
Journal and Asian Case Research Journal. He has more
than 15 cases in the Ivey Publishing depositary
that distributes cases worldwide.
In 2016, he was a Fulbright specialist scholar in case methodology and taught case writing and case teaching to faculty at Windescheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. His cases have won more than $25,000 in prize money in global competitions organized by Canada’s John Molson School of Business and by Oikos in Switzerland.
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.
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
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.
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
Dr. Joe Woodside is an Assistant Professor of Business Systems and Analytics at Stetson University teaching undergraduate, graduate, and executive courses on analytics, healthcare, business intelligence, business analysis, and information systems. Some of his previous students shared that he is “an excellent professor and an even better person. Very accessible outside of class and delivers a great lecture. He is committed to ensuring that all of his students succeed in his class and in their careers”, while others commented on his passion for the subject; “You can tell that he loves teaching. He shares his knowledge and wisdom in a way that is encouraging and invigorating. He gives great feedback. He is always available to answer questions either by email or in person”. Dr. Woodside incorporates his professional industry experience in the classroom, and the learning approach follows his publication on Real-world rigor: An integrative learning approach for industry and higher education.
Stetson’s Executive MBA program and students have been fortunate to have his tremendous expertise during their 18-month program, and have grown tremendously accordingly. Students gain a wealth of knowledge and awareness from relevant case studies, discussions, applications and simulations that demonstrate firsthand how business intelligence and analytics when leveraged properly can make all the difference in decision-making, strategy, and overall business performance. Dr. Woodside is also releasing a new textbook Applied Health Analytics and Informatics Using SAS, as a result of the significant demand to take advantage of increasing amounts of data by utilizing analytics for insights and decision making in healthcare.
Matthew Hurst, Ph.D., a tenure-track assistant professor of finance, comes to Stetson from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where his family has lived since the 1930s. He was attracted to the School of Business Administration at Stetson because of its focus on student learning and low student-to-teacher ratio where he could really make an impact on learning. Some of his previous students boasted that he is “the best finance professor at Stetson” and complimented the “practicality of his class.”
Since 2008, Hurst has taught investments, real estate and corporate. He has made presentations of his co-authored research papers at the American Real Estate Society symposium and the Southern Finance Association conference.
Dr. Hurst’s willingness to forge creative instruction with relevant applications in the Executive MBA program has significantly increased overall confidence with financial related matters. EMBA students engage with meaningful activities and projects that equip them as leaders within their businesses to direct and stimulate meaningful discussions, strategic projects and initiatives.
Dr. Ram Subramanian, Professor of Strategic Management in our Executive MBA Program, ventured to Thailand with our Cohort 15 students, and shares his experiences.
“We’ll Always Have Sukhumwit”
My colleague, Jon Carrick, was in full drill master mode on our first day in Thailand. I, like most others in Cohort 15, had landed late Saturday at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and the nearly 20-hour flight had left me, as I am sure the others, in a groggy and disoriented state. Jon, a veteran of several trips to Thailand, had anticipated correctly our discomfiture and had the perfect antidote for it! A 6:00 a.m. wake up call and a day long bus trip was just the panacea for jet lag!
The beauty of Ayutthaya more than made up for Jon’s tough love approach! Ayutthaya, Thailand’s variation of Ayodhya, the historic city in northeast India, putatively the site of Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic, hit its peak in the 14th-18th centuries, when it was a leading city in Asia, and a center of both commerce and culture. By then, Buddhism was widespread, and Ayutthaya was replete with numerous statues of Gautama Buddha. What we saw, however, was the strange sight of statue after statue with Buddha’s head chopped off. Our intrepid guide, Crystal, told us that the Burmese were to blame for the beheadings. Regardless of what the Burmese did, Buddha’s influence permeates even today in a country where 97 percent of the people are Buddhists. Buddha got his enlightenment while meditating by a tree and so I thought it fitting that an interesting feature of our visit was the sight of a Buddha statue embedded in a tree.
While Sunday was the cultural tour of Ayutthaya, the rest of our hectic week was filled with business visits, each of them distinct and interesting in its own way. At McDonald’s or McThai, we saw how the famed American restaurant chain succeeded by adapting its menu to fit local market needs. An interesting presentation at Taskworld showed us how coding and start-up skills can be found anywhere. Our visit to Kantor gave us a fine-grained glimpse of Thai market conditions from the perspective of a market research firm. Kidzania allowed us to be kids once again, albeit for a brief while. And at Hangar we saw a replica of Silicon Valley’s vaunted entrepreneurial culture as our presenter told us that the search was on for Thailand’s first unicorn! Every day was exhausting but interesting and informative. At the end of each day, we looked forward to coming back to the luxurious confines of Westin Grand Sukhumwit, our hotel, which as our resident hotel expert Aziz pointed out is part of the worldwide Marriott group. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t be wrong if I paraphrase Humphry Bogart in saying, no matter what, we’ll always have Sukhumwit!
As Cohort 15 prepares to return and Cohort 16 prepares to begin their EMBA journey, we wanted to take the time to get to know our new Assistant Director of Graduate and Professional Programs, Jessica Kozlowski!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the beautiful island of St. Croix. You should visit if you haven’t been there before. It’s a great place to kick back and relax with stunning beaches and lots of historical sites to explore.
Tell us about where you worked prior to Stetson
Most of my career has been spent in higher education. Right before joining Stetson, I worked for the University of Notre Dame with the Alliance for Catholic Education. It was a remote position in which I worked with four Notre Dame ACE Academies in Central Florida as the Regional Advancement Coordinator. I also worked at Valencia College as Director of Transition and Enrollment Services and Chestnut Hill College as Assistant Director of Admission and Coordinator of On-campus Recruitment. In addition, I have experience in the staffing industry as an Executive Mortgage Recruiter at ABTSolutions and Director at CareersUSA. I’ve also worked part-time at Walt Disney World for seven years.
What are you most excited about working at Stetson?
Meeting new amazing people, the opportunities for growth and making this a life-long career.
Are you married?
Yes, two years to my loving and supportive husband Tommy. He’s my rock, very handsome and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
Do you have any children?
I have two awesome stepsons, Karter and Tommy Jr., who are totally into sports and enjoy going on adventures with me.
Who inspires you, or is your hero?
Oh boy, this is a hard one for me. My parents were my first heroes and they always will be. I have also really admired Harriet Tubman, but there are many people that inspire me. I am inspired when I see random acts of kindness, good deeds and people bringing hope to others.
What are you passionate about at work?
Building relationships and finding ways to bring new levels of success to the institution.
What is your favorite type of cuisine?
I really enjoy all types of food but, if I really had to pick, it would be a tossup between Latin and Caribbean.
What are some of your secret talents?
I have danced since the age of two and became part of the Caribbean Dance Company and the Contemporary Dance Company in St. Croix so needless to say, I love to dance. I also competed in gymnastics, though I can’t tumble the way I used to anymore – bad wrists. I’ve been told I’m great at event planning, crafts and DIY projects.
Tell us some of your pet peeves?
Injustice, bullies, lies and people who don’t do what they say they are going to do. In general, I truly value integrity.
Where is your alma mater?
Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA where I earned both my bachelor and master degrees.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy going to the beach, hiking, Geocaching and just about anything outdoors. I love adventure and like to experience and try new things from skydiving to new restaurants.
What impression do you want to leave on EMBA students?
It is my personal mission to positively impact those I meet and I would hope to do that for our EMBA students.
One of the culminating efforts for Cohort 14’s, 18-month experience was to research and identify an innovative product or service (or redesign an existing product or service) for the bottom of the pyramid. As a team, they were to select the product or service and be prepared to present the target market, service concept, operations strategy and service delivery for your offering. Below is an overview of each groups presentation.
Good turn was created by Cohort 14 members Matt Wierenga, Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, and Adam Swiatek.
Their concept was to create a network of skilled individuals who have the opportunity to pay it forward with an act of kindness. Professionals fill out a survey identifying their skill set which then are added to a broader network list. These services would be beneficial to those in need or who may not be able to afford to pay for these services otherwise.
This company runs off of a give and take concept; looking at our community alone, there are 350,000 people who are in need, and 3.17 million with the skills to help.
These services would be accessed through a phone application or through the internet, and would work on a token system. Some of these e-tokens would be donated to charity, others sold to businesses that would gain promotion and online marketing from the experience. The e-tokens would then be distributed to those in need, who could exchange an e-token for a service they are in need of in the community.
The Kin~nected Hearts Foundation Empowering Families
This company was created by Cohort 14 members Julie Billy, Hakim Lucas, Lyndsey Denton, and Christy Reynolds.
Their concept was a company with a social enterprise focus and directed at those at the bottom of the World Pyramid, focusing specifically on single mothers of young children in Central Florida. A significant 68% of single parent households are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, 85% of brain growth occurs in the first 3 years of life, yet 45% of center-based child care facilities do not offer infant and toddler care.
A social enterprise is an organization that has a mission that benefits the public or community; they utilize trade, of which a substantial portion of income comes from; and reinvest the majority of their profit into their mission.
Their mission statement is:
To serve the single mothers of young children in Central Florida by providing education, job placement, and support services, while providing high quality, on-site child care in a nurturing environment.
The company would offer support services, with a mentorship program, child care, job training, and job placement. This is an extremely unique offering as all of these services are provided in one location vs. what traditionally these single mothers face and that is having to go to individual agencies one by one to get their issues resolved.
Ms. Keeter Beater
This company was created by Cohort 14 members Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, Zineb Sands, and Janice Trew.
The goal of this company is to reduce the spread of diseases in the rural, southeast Asia region. Preventing illness and death from diseases is done through affordable sanitation and proper protection. They target families with school-age children 5-17, school teachers, healthcare providers, and those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid.’
A hygiene product combined with a bug protectant is used to reduce illness. It is made up of liquid citronella soap dried on paper which dissolves when water it is applied. This is then sold in small, local marketplaces. This is a unique offering as it is a solution that provides hygienic car
e plus insect repellant all in one. Also, they address sustainability as there is no waste of any kind or footprint left behind. The box the product initially comes in, is returned to the distributors for reuse, and the soap dried paper dissolves and disappears.
All three teams presented their very different products with passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm; however, our guest Alumni panel selected Ms. Keeter Beater as the company with the overall Most Innovative Product or Service. A huge congrats to their company for their creative and well-thought out plan which we all agreed could be implemented and solve a looming problem in this region!
We are so fortunate to have watched our students transform professionally and personally over the past 18 months. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of them!
On Friday September 22nd, Cohort 15 participated in a number of stations, one of which focused on leadership and teamwork. This particular station involved groups of five completing a web-based simulation of a team climbing Mount Everest! Our graduate assistants Jenny and Lauren share their and their teammates’ experiences of working together in an attempt to reach the summit.
Last weekend we had the pleasure of spending roughly two hours with a few of our members from Cohort 15 in a simulation that focused on problem-solving and decision-making challenges. Each person in the group was assigned an individual position (either: leader, marathoner, environmentalist, physician, or photographer). However, they had one group goal in mind: make it up the summit of Mount Everest together. The group faced obstacles along the way that forced them to make decisions as a team in a way that would not only benefit an individual, but would also benefit the group as a whole and thus increase their chances of making it to the top together.
Jenny’s Group –
Jenny’s team took some time to explore the program together and read aloud the goals for the climb. It was quickly noted that individual goals would contrast with each other, and there were going to have to be decisions made along the climb in the interest of the group and not the individual. With each stage, the group discussed pros and cons, always only proceeding with everyone in agreement.
There were sacrifices made for the group, which all members were more than willing to make. Individual goals and points were forgotten, and the overall climb and health of each member quickly became the main concern. The interesting aspect of a struggle with oxygen was that everyone had pieces of information with regards to calculations, but it was only by putting the information together that the answer could actually be found. Though the team did not make it to the summit – as two individuals had to be rescued – it was considered an overall success for coming so far and working so well as a team.
Jenny enjoyed the time to bond with the group and work together to reach their goals, and liked how team members were becoming more and more concerned for each other’s health as time went on, even though it was just a simulation. Abdoul said that though he felt exhausted after the experience, he felt that with a lack of information, mistakes were inevitable, but that it was a good lesson that making mistakes is a big part of leadership and teamwork. Sophia felt that the team became more confident in each other and were going with gut feelings, which is also a big part of teamwork and leadership. Kristie very much enjoyed that the efforts and concerns for the group as a whole took preference over individual goals. She also appreciated that though there was an assigned leader, everyone had equal input into the decisions that were made. Nicole noted that the survey during the simulation asked questions regarding to disagreements and contrasting opinions during discussions, but she found that in each decision we made, we were all unanimous and united as a group.
Lauren’s Group –
On day four, Lauren’s group had successfully made it to camp three. However, they were all starting to have critical health conditions both physically and mentally, with some team members also having frostbite and breathing issues. They were faced with the decision of whether to remain at camp three and let everyone rest for the day or move forward to camp four before resting, which was recommended by experts as well as earned them more ‘team points.’ Lauren’s group decided to try and make it to camp four despite everyone being in critical health conditions. Unfortunately, this was not the best choice for them, and both their photographer and physician had to be rescued and brought back to base camp. The next day, the three remaining members made the trudge up the summit, but unfortunately two members ran out of oxygen and had to be rescued and returned to base camp. Because of this, the leader was the only one to make it to the top of the summit successfully.
After the stimulation, everyone in Lauren’s group agreed that they had worked really well together despite not making to the top of the summit together. Everyone in her group had decided to disclose any health related issues they had, which they could have kept to themselves. The group felt that this benefited them as they were all aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
One of the students in Lauren’s group described this experience in her own words: “This stimulation was a lot like life: it throws random obstacles at you and you just have to learn and adapt to the curve balls.” The group also agreed that again, like life, it is important to take risks, but it is also important to be conservative sometimes. They took a risk going to camp four to earn more team points, but perhaps they should have been a little more conservative with this decision considering the critical condition of all the team members. Everyone in Lauren’s group had a blast doing this stimulation! They all agreed that it was a great way to get to know their cohort members more through a team building process which took them out of their comfort zone and forced them to make decisions as a group rather than individually.
On August 18th, Cohort 14 welcomed Cohort 15 to Stetson’s Executive MBA Program. Adam Swiatek from Cohort 14 shares some great highlights from Orientation weekend. Our new students are eager and enthusiastic to begin classes and we are excited to have them!
Each year, the Stetson EMBA admits a tight-knit group of students to the program. The group takes classes together, travels abroad, creates group projects and socializes together. Through the structure and the experience that the EMBA provides, students are able to take relationships to the next level – creating bonds that are unparalleled and unmatched.
Since the program is selective, there is extra special attention given to each student and the relationships that form as a result of the program. Cohort 14 (affectionately called the “Legion”) welcomed Cohort 15 last weekend. These are the new eager students who will be sharing the Center at Celebration with the “Legion” – and more importantly, the snack room! They are the next generation and the next wave of EMBA learners coming through the program prepared to receive a transformational experience.
Cohort 14 paved the way for strong relationships and close bonds. Over this past summer, those relationships were strengthened as the cohort traveled to Hong Kong and Bangkok as part of their International Field Experience course. Through in the moment scenarios, that could only come up when traveling, the cohort bonded and learned more about each other. They were already close – but, the trip experience really solidified the deal.
When they returned back to the Center, they were excited to keep the memories of their time together going with the new wall décor in Celebration featuring their travels and experiences of our Cohort 14 students on the walls for all to enjoy!
Cohort 15 was welcomed to the EMBA program by Cohort 14 students with open arms. Returning students could not wait to meet the new students for breakfast. And, the meeting of new friends continued at lunch at Happy Hour after class. Returning students interspersed with new students during meals – as they told the tales and shared their personal experiences of the journey the next 18 months ahead.
Following the first weekend of class, some Cohort 15 students already started using the study rooms and taking advantage of the resources that Stetson provides. This won’t be the only opportunity that they have to use the study rooms. There will be 18 more months of coursework and small group work ahead. While some of it will be relatively easy, some of it will really take the mental power and support of the whole cohort. They will discover their strengths – some strengths that they might not even know they had – and band together to make the educational experience truly amazing.
Cohort 14 undoubtedly will continue to be great mentors and supporters of our new executive students as they learn to balance professional and personal priorities with being a student in a progressive master’s program. As these two cohorts collaborate, naturally skills will be transferred and networks will be broadened heightening each individual’s experience. Later this fall, Alumni will be added to the mix with our Tailgate Mixer at the Stetson vs. Brown football game in DeLand and then in the spring at our annual Alumni event. Pairing emerging leaders in Central Florida has been a highlight for all involved.