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
Completing the Stetson EMBA has enriched my personal and professional life in ways that I could not have imagined. When I was considering MBA programs, I chose Stetson because it was complementary to my full-time job at The Walt Disney World Resort, and I was really intrigued by the cohort experience. I knew that no matter what master’s program I selected, it would be a challenge and come with trying times, so I liked the concept of going through the whole program with a cohort that would be a great support system. I learned it was much more, as the cohort quickly became part of my family.
The technical knowledge I gained during my EMBA gave me the depth of understanding and the credibility to be someone my team could count on to analyze financial reports and data, as well as the ability to see unconventional ways to improve efficiencies, save costs, and improve workplace safety. The varied subjects we studied gave me many lenses to look at the workplace with and a better concept of the “big picture”. This knowledge helped me as I got promoted during my program to being a Restaurant Guest Experience Manager in Magic Kingdom Park.
While the technical knowledge was an extremely important part of gaining my EMBA, the concepts that we learned about the difference between being a leader and a manager have been very relevant throughout my leadership journey at Disney.
One of the most valuable parts of the EMBA program for me was the coaching sessions and the focus on self-reflection and being intentional about how you approach each area of your life to be the best leader you can be. My advice to anyone considering this program would be that to reap the benefits of this approach, you have to be vulnerable and “all in”. Like most things in life, it will be what you make of it, and you will only gain what you are willing to put in. The result for me brought about a positive shift that allowed me to better align my personal and professional life and not only be a better employee and leader, but also be a better friend, partner, daughter, and sister.
Reflecting on my Stetson experience, I have taken away so much more than 18 months of intensive studying, learning concepts, and developing skills; I realize now that it was a platform to catapult me into a lifetime of learning. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in this program because it would not have been possible without support from leaders, coworkers, family, friends, and Disney’s commitment to continued learning. Since graduation, I have had the opportunity to work and learn from different restaurants at Disney and most recently have had the opportunity to join a leadership team supporting Disney Internships and Programs that aligns with my values of ongoing education and development.
My personal life has also had some exciting changes since graduation; I met my forever partner, and we recently got engaged and bought our first house! I can’t wait to see what my next chapters hold; I’ve got a lot of learning and adventures ahead!
Each year students ending their EMBA program have a Capstone Project to complete and present on their last day of class. This year it was Cohort 15’s turn to present their final project before celebrating together that evening at their graduation party.
They were tasked with a research project on launching an innovative product or service, or redesigning an existing product or service for the bottom of the pyramid. Each of the 4 teams were fully responsible for the project from beginning to end. Below is an overview of the companies each team presented on.
Generation Hearts is a company whose vision is to enhance the quality of life for lonely, aging, less fortunate individuals by satisfying the basic human need of interaction via an intergenerational safe and caring virtual social network. Their logo which displays connected hearts aims to connect generations to one another to help the aging population who are lonely. Through a downloadable app on your phone, seniors could easily connect to trained individuals that will speak with them and keep them company for some time throughout the day. This company was created by Ryan Gorman, Elena Outlan, Lilian Kaares and Juan Yang.
Block Builders was created by Kris Sahadeo, Kristie Jones, Nicole Amero and Sophia Baldwin to enhance lives by creating high quality places to live. Their mission is to build world-class, affordable residences through up-cycling shipping containers into Minuscule Mansions. Don’t let the fact that they are shipping containers fool you, while they are very affordable, each container is fully outfitted to look like a regular home and redesigned exteriors form beautiful communities.
GrOtown Greens is dedicated to feeding and fueling Orlando through a vertically integrated model which incorporates school gardens, holistic education, a fresh take on a food truck (for improved access to healthy dishes and increased food distribution) and continued community engagement opportunities. Through their efforts, GrOtown Greens hopes to plant the seeds for a better tomorrow for children and their families in Central Florida. This company was created by Jessica Bundy, Natalie Ferrer, Kate Kroll, Brian Vann and Laurie Warfield.
For the Future
Food For the Future (F3) was created by Aziz
Ndiaye, Nicole O’Reilly, Eddie Molina and Greg Lucas. F3 leverages the
organizational advantage of an established non-profit (Meals on Wheels America)
to create an in-home delivery option for families who need food during school
breaks. Through partnerships with multiple non-profits and civic organizations they
bring peace of mind and create “Full Bellies, Healthy Minds” to the
underprivileged youth of Central Florida. By working with administrators in
local schools with free and reduced lunch populations, families could connect
to F3 to receive this service.
With their presentations, final projects and papers submitted, SqUadron 15 can now take some time to relax and celebrate their accomplishments. We can’t wait to see you walk across the stage on Graduation Day!
Honeymoon Hats™ was founded and designed by one of our very own Stetson EMBA students, Megan Griffin in early 2016. She wanted her sun hat to stand out on a cruise, so she added sequin writing to a store-bought hat. While on the cruise, she received many compliments on the hat, and noticed many couples on their honeymoon. When she returned home, she decided to start selling her handmade hats, and realized she could customize them with the bride’s last name as a perfect gift for all the honeymooners.
The scope of the business has rapidly expanded since then, but the hats are still made by hand in sunny Florida today at Honeymoon Hat HQ. Each hat is customized at the time of purchase for a treasured keepsake that is also a practical vacation accessory.
Honeymoon Hats™ has received industry recognition in many fashion websites and blogs, including Inside Weddings Magazine, Racked.com, Yahoo Style, and Shape Magazine. They have become the new essential honeymoon accessory and expanded the bridal gift market. Their success has inspired many imitators, but their hats still remain a testament to quality, luxury, and their signature hand-applied sequin script.
My career path has been far from conventional. Being raised in the restaurant business, I was not really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. After earning my Associate of Arts in Political Science, I began working for a commercial construction company initially doing project accounting but quickly moving up and into training and HR. While I loved the work, I knew my lack of education held me back. I decided to go back to school to study one of my passions, Culinary Arts. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts, I moved to Orlando to follow a dream of working for the Walt Disney Company. I was hired as a Sous Chef at Disney’s Polynesian Resort where I worked for 4 years and then moved to Disney’s Old Key West Resort for 3 years. It was there that I met my Front of House peer, Kim Tuttle. Kim decided to start the Stetson University EMBA program, and I watched as she blossomed as a Leader and in her life. It was inspiring, and I wanted that for myself.
It did not take long to convince me that I needed to look at the Stetson EMBA program. I never thought I would go back to school at 40 to get a Master’s Degree in Business. No one in my immediate family had advanced degrees, and my background and education did not include in-depth accounting and finance. I knew it would be a challenge for this Chef! I thought I could manage attending school two days per week, and the Cohort program appealed to me. I am so glad I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone to go to Stetson. The EMBA program was life altering. The Leadership component of the program alone is worth the price of admission. The knowledge and growth I experienced was tremendous. Here I was travelling to Thailand, to present a business case to an international technology company on how they could expand their business into the United States. I came back a very different, and more confident, person. Several people in my Cohort became like family, and we made memories that I will cherish forever.
Armed with additional experiences and increased knowledge, I took a chance and applied for a brand new role at Walt Disney World while I was finishing my MBA. The role would move me out of the kitchen and was a considerable promotion. I was offered the Labor and Training Integration Manager role starting in September 2016. While my Professors and cohort were a source of support and encouragement throughout the program, they were especially there for me during this job transition, at which time I was also experiencing some health issues. These health issues resulted in a hospital stay and prescribed bed rest, so I very much appreciated my professors and cohort helping me remotely, allowing me to still get all my necessary work for the courses completed. It felt like one of the greatest accomplishments of my life when I walked across that stage for my diploma.
No matter where you are in your career or life, you should definitely take a chance on yourself and participate in this EMBA program!
Choosing to do Stetson’s EMBA program was one of the best decisions I’ve made personally and professionally. It was the perfect balance for me to grow business skills and learn deeply about what my drivers are that can be applied to work and my life as a whole.
While in school I worked for the Walt Disney Company in Learning and Development. I knew this was an area I was passionate about and wanted to pursue further when I was done with school. I had lived in Florida for 6 years and though I loved my time there, I always knew it wasn’t my forever.
Shortly after graduation I was recruited to work for a company in Colorado as they were creating a new Learning and Development team. They were very excited to hear about the program at Stetson and how we focus not only on business development but personal and leadership development as well. I took a leap of faith, packed up my life in Florida, and made the move for this new career opportunity.
Most recently I’ve been able to use all facets of my EMBA in a Project Management role. Being able to see something full scope is something I solely credit to Stetson. Seeing the impacts of one decision financially, strategically, and employee focused are all skills I learned in the program.
Earning my EMBA at Stetson was the busiest, craziest, sleepless two years of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I left the program with an education I’m very proud of and lifelong friendships.
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.
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!