EMBA Alumni Update: Cohort 15 Alumna Tifferney White Travels with Cohort 17 to Vietnam and Thailand Views International Seminar Through a New and Exciting Lens
“To travel on a UNLV EMBA international seminar trip as an Executive MBA alumni is a familiar experience but seen through a completely different and fascinating lens than when I was a student,” said Tifferney White (Cohort 15), “I’d recommend it to all my fellow EMBA alums!” While attending the UNLV EMBA program, Tifferney White (Cohort 15) served as president and CEO of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum. She relocated to Charlotte, NC immediately after graduation to accept the position as chief learning officer with Discovery Place, a national organization.
White, whose cohort traveled to Argentina for its international seminar, has always wanted to visit Asia, and jumped at the chance to experience Vietnam and Thailand with EMBA Cohort 17.
“I’m thrilled that the EMBA program invites alumni to participate in the international seminars,” said White. “Because of the outstanding job the program does in developing the business and social itinerary, they offer an experience you couldn’t find outside the EMBA program. It’s an exceptional opportunity to continue learning about international business and to bond with fellow EMBA students and graduates.”
“We always invite our EMBA alums to travel with us on the international seminar trips,” said Nikkole Liesse, EMBA Executive director and program alumna. “The Executive MBA international experience is more than just an overseas trip. It’s an opportunity for cohort members and our alumni to be immersed in the business world and the culture of unfamiliar places. That’s the reason we select the locations we do – to create a transformative experience.”
Prior to departure for Vietnam and Thailand, White traveled to Las Vegas to spend time with Cohort 17 members. “I know from experience that cohorts form a special bond. I wanted to give them the opportunity to know me and I wanted to know them before leaving for an international journey,” said White. “To no one’s surprise, I was welcomed with open-arms.”
While White participated in all the planned business outings and social activities during the ten-day Asian excursion, she also set a personal goal to be more open to new experiences with food, the culture and to simply have fun. “Without the pressure of being a current EMBA student who has to write a final paper on the trip, I was more relaxed. So not only was the trip enlightening, it was truly fun,” she said.
It’s not an over-statement to say White accomplished her goal. While in Vietnam during their free-time, White, Nikki Liesse, program manager Carissa Marquez and UNLV faculty member Mike Sullivan jumped on the back of Vespa’s for a four-hour food tour, motoring from restaurant to restaurant. “It was all new to me. I relished every moment and every bite,” said White. While White says her favorite was the Vietnamese coffee, she laughs about nibbling on the “Jumping Chicken,” which is actually frog. White admits she was told it was frog and partook in the delicacy anyway.
But Vietnam wasn’t all about a personal culinary adventure. As part of the trip’s Social Impact Experience, the cohort visited the Andre Mai Sen Vocational School where disadvantaged children receive free tuition and accommodations at a culinary school. “It was such an emotional experience because working to improve children’s lives is what I do,” said White.
“One of the most fascinating aspects of traveling as an alumni is the ability to participate in the planned business outings,” said White. “For current students, everything they have learned in the program is still fresh. They’re thinking, this is the end of my journey. As an alumni, I was able to fully focus on the information being provided and relate it not only to what I had learned in the program, but also apply it to the professional I have become because of my EMBA education.”
The group also met with Phi Van Nguyen, chairperson - board of advisors for the Saigon Innovation Hub, who White refers to as a “rock star” speaker. Additionally, Cohort 17 participated in a panel discussion with representatives of the U.S. Consulate General Vietnam discussing the political and economic outlook as it relates to the U.S. and global trade.
Then it was onto Thailand where the EMBA students participated in a Local Market Immersion in Bangkok. The goal of which is to provide cohort members with the opportunity to get a first-hand feel for bustling businesses including such pre-selected locations as a market place, shopping mall and department store. “I was so happy to see that the program had added an immersion segment to the international seminar itinerary,” White commented. “When Cohort 15 returned from Argentina, we recommended the university provide students with this opportunity. And, like everything else with the UNLV EMBA program, they respected our input.”
In Thailand, White went big – as in riding an elephant along with a member of Cohort 17. “I’m very cognizant to animal abuse as it relates to international tourism,” said White. She made sure the that the elephants at the animal preserve were well treated and well fed, going so far as to observe them as they wandered free.
While in Thailand, Cohort 17 visited the TMC Industrial PCL plant for a tour and presentation including the hydraulic pressing machine and automation system. In addition, they visited Bumrungrad International Hospital and toured the ancient city of Ayutthaya.
“When you participate in your own cohort’s international trip, you think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” notes White. “While it’s true that each trip is different and you definitely view the experience from a different perspective as an alumni, it’s the chance to experience that once-in-a-lifetime again and again.”