CIMBA Newsletter
                                                WAKE UP THE
                                    LEADER IN YOU!

January 2009

Meet the Alumni
Partrick McClelland
Patrick McClelland

What year were you at CIMBA? Where have you gone since then, professionally?

I graduated from CIMBA July 2000. Since that time, my professional life has taken a number of fortuitous turns that all had their genesis in Asolo. Upon graduating from CIMBA, I returned to work in the Veneto for Fashion Box S.p.A. as an internal consultant. My task was to serve the top management team in a variety of areas ranging from formulating business strategy to working to identify and acquire the resources needed to launch a fledgling business into Europe. The experience was an incredible one that solidified much that I learned at CIMBA (e.g. the value of critical thinking, the need for creativity in identifying and developing solutions to business problems, and the impact of developing strong relationships both within and without the organization).
In the year after my graduation I began to give very serious thought to a conversation that I had with my strategy professor about entering the Ph.D. program at Kansas, and considering life as a professor. I made the jump. And, since that time I have thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of that decision. I recently completed a Ph.D. in Strategic Management at the University of Kansas, and am now an Assistant Professor of Management near my home state of Maryland at the University of Delaware. I am very happy with the choices that I have made as I both love teaching and building theory and conducting empirical analyses in the areas of corporate governance and CEO compensation.
Without my experience at CIMBA, and more importantly the guidance that Dr. Al and others offered, these experiences would not have materialized!

What was your best "CIMBA" moment?

It is really difficult to single out any one particular moment. There were so many that took place both in and out of the classroom. They range from CIMBA-arranged dinners in Bassano, to visiting grappa and pasta factories, to playing golf amidst the beauty of Asolo Golf Club. My best "moment" at CIMBA is not a moment at all, however. As I reflect back on my time in Asolo, I can honestly count several relationships that have since become critically important to me both personally and professionally. Hence, it was the time spent building the relationships that I forged at CIMBA that have both endured and brought immense gratification to me since.

How has CIMBA affected your life, professionally and personally?

My experience at CIMBA did a great deal for me from a professional standpoint. It opened my eyes to what it takes to become a professional with a sense of accountability, both to myself and the people that depend on me. From a professional standpoint, much of this was forged in the CIMBA classroom through group projects that planted the seeds for leadership and cultivated an understanding of the need for cohesive and purposeful action in teams. CIMBA sharpened my interpersonal skills, honed my analytical and critical thinking, and broadened my perspective.
What truly differentiates the CIMBA experience for me is appreciation for cultural, professional, and cognitive diversity that the CIMBA experience inspires. Particularly, CIMBA made me more sensitive to the nuances of situations, personalities, and cultures that make me a more productive professional and person. These are lessons that have continued to serve me well as an academic.

How do you keep a work/life balance? Any tips?

Ah, work/life balance? I once thought this to be a simple concept. In reality it has been difficult to attain. Frankly, I realized that the concept became increasingly less important to me as I found a profession and a function that I truly enjoy. In as much, I have been able to conceptualize my work more as play, and as something that I would do even if I weren't paid.
Among the tips that I would offer are several that unlikely to be revelations. First, I would say that it is critical to know thyself and to pursue a career that utilizes your unique skills and helps to develop your weaknesses: doing so will help to reduce the stress that can result from being ill-fit to your career.  Second, I would also say that. I also think that recognizing one's limits is critical when it comes to ensuring that burnout does not occur. I have also found it to be incredibly useful to limit the unnecessary distractions and to focus on the few things that help me to recharge my batteries, be it spending time with family and friends, travelling, practicing yoga, or playing golf. I have found that cultivating restorative interests allows me manage stress and to recharge my batteries.  I have found that keeping to these simple tenets has allowed me to be both more productive and more gratified in my work.  Last, and perhaps most important, is forging relationships with people who will offer truthful advice and act as a sounding board when help is needed.

What advice can you give current CIMBA students?

My advice would be along a couple of dimensions. First, appreciate the education that you are fortunate enough to receive. CIMBA offers a unique environment in which both personal and professional development can occur contemporaneously. Dr. Al and Cristina do an amazing job facilitating this process by integrating academic rigor with exposure to a unique cultural context. I would also ask that you recognize, in advance, that there will come a time, when you return to your home country or when your cohort members return home, that you will reflect in appreciation for the exposure to the variety of cultures and perspectives contained in your cohorts, the intensive nature of the learning environment, and the focus on infusing a sense of personal responsibility and self reliance in how you conduct yourselves. Soak it up! On a personal note, be sure to use your personal time to immerse yourselves in what la bel'Italia and Europe have to offer. Dr. Al and Cristina have done a great job in programming your academic schedule (while rigorous) so as to allow you to use personal time to explore the region.

Anything else?

Work hard. But, be sure to enjoy your time in Italy and the people with whom you spend it! In bocca al lupo!

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Happy New Year!

January brings in a new year and a new semester for the CIMBA undergraduate campus and the halfway point for the MBA students working in Asolo. The MBAs are working on international consulting projects and leadership coaching, and the undergrads are starting their semesters with KT, LIFE and low ropes courses.

Link up with CIMBA on LinkedIn by going to the CIMBA Alumni Association LinkedIn page at to stay in touch with the CIMBA community. Make sure to add in the education section, the CIMBA program, year or semester that you attended.

Enjoy the newsletter and, as always, let's hear from you! Give us your updates and news at and your items will appear in the Alumni Update section below.

Have a great month!
From MBA student Lisa DePass:

Christmas 2008 has come and gone and all the students have is the smoke that has been left in its wake.  The MBA class of 2009 travelled the world (Brazil, Amsterdam, US, UK, Spain, and distant parts of Italy) this past break, returning to loved ones who have not been seen since early September of this past fall.
MBA students
Some would say that the break was not long enough for a proper recuperation with the visits to family members, reconnecting with friends, and all the business that comes along with the Christmas holidays.  Others would say that the timing was just right.  Had there been another week away from CIMBA, it would be near impossible to get back into the intense swing of things.  The one thing that all have agreed on is that everyone missed one another a great deal.  Upon return to the CIMBA compound, all have expressed missing the sense of family that has developed amongst the class.  If this were the only positive thing realized coming out of the holidays, we would all have to agree that it is a great thing.

Follow us on the Web!

Check out the CIMBA MBA blog on Businessweek's website at for updates and perspectives from our students throughout the year.
CIMBA Undergraduate

CIMBA UG LIFE studentsA New Group!

The new semester has started, and Spring 2009 students have started KT classes, the low ropes course and the first group has completed and graduated from LIFE (Leadership Initiative For Excellence), CIMBA's rigorous three-day leadership program.

This spring, 141 undergraduates and 13 professors joined us at the CIMBA undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa. We'll keep you posted on their happenings and events throughout the semester.
CIMBA Executive Programs
Executive Certificate in International Management and Strategy participants have finished the module in business law and are in the process of developing strategic initiatives with the skills and knowledge they've gained thus far.

CIMBA is in the process of selecting participants for the executive LIFE (Leadership Initiative For Excellence) program coming up in February. If you are interested, please contact
CIMBA Calendar - October 2008
January 8 - Coaching Skills Workshop
January 15 - Feedback Workshop
January 28-30 - Coaching at the UG campus
January 19 - Student arrivals
January 20 - Student orientation
January 23-25 - LIFE program
January 30-February 1 - LIFE program
January 16-17 - "Executive Certificate Program in International Management and Strategy," International Business Law 
January 21 - "Executive Program in Business Communication," Program Presentation
January 28 - "Executive Certificate in Leadership Development," Program Presentation
Alumni Updates
New job? New move? Getting married? Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and your item will appear here next month.

2000 - Walter Garbuio is now Fund Manager at Essdar Capital Managers Limited.

2001 - Erika Keber is now Software Compliance for Developing markets at IBM.

2001 - Franco Picone is now Lean Program Manager at Marelli Motori.

CIMBA Alumni Network
If you are a CIMBA Undergraduate, MBA or Executive Programs Alumnus, we want to keep in touch with you. The CIMBA Alumni Network gives you a way to connect with other graduates from the different areas of CIMBA.
Join the CIMBA Alumni Network by clicking on this link: CIMBA Alumni Network
A-B-C: Al's Book Club 
I know that many of you look to this corner both to see what we are reading and thinking at CIMBA and to get an idea of where we are headed (I am equally confident that you are not looking here to find books to place on your summer reading list). In that spirit, I am going to take a small deviation from that path this month and suggest an article as opposed to a book. I encourage you to go to the Harvard Business School website, search for, and then download an article by Prof. Scott A. Snook entitled Leader(ship) Development. (Click here to link to Leader(ship) Development by A.S. Snook - note: there is a fee for this article)

Before getting into some of the interesting thoughts in that article, I want you to know what prompted me to go there and search for it. A great friend of and professor at CIMBA, Dr. Ed Watson, sent me a link to an HBS newsletter entitled "Working Knowledge" dated November 24, 2008 ( The newsletter discussed a May 2008 meeting of some 100 Harvard Business School members who gathered together to undertake the "100-year" review of business school programs. Finding the current state of programs to be "depressing," they came to the following interesting conclusion:

Most agreed that business schools are skilled at "know what"-teaching disciplinary and functional knowledge. But they fall down on "know how"-teaching students how to think beyond information silos and to be more self-aware as leaders. It's the "know how" that's most valued in the business world ... . How to bridge the "knowing-doing" gap became a focal point of discussion. By the end, a consensus "bordering on unanimity" emerged, ... namely, that bridging the knowing-doing gap at HBS means supplementing the curriculum in three areas: globalization, experiential learning, and leadership development. [Emphasis added]

Most of our MBA graduates, and particularly those graduated in the last 5 to 7 years, know that globalization, experiential learning, and leadership development have long been what we stand for at CIMBA. My curiosity about what "leadership development" might mean at Harvard Business School led me to look for and find the article by Prof. Snook.

What I particularly like about the article is that it is written prospectively -- looking at what is currently happening and contemplating what could be happening in the areas of leader and leadership development in the future. Prof. Snook begins the article by highlighting the number of leading business schools which expressly state that their mission is to "educate" or "develop" leaders and then goes on to argue convincingly that much of that effort is currently unsystematic. In fact, one of my most favorite quotes from the article is on page 11 where he quotes a student as saying "I know something's happening, I am just not really sure what ... ." He argues convincingly for the importance of transformational development as opposed to more traditional informational learning opportunities as a primary vehicle for leadership development.

Simply providing an MBA consulting project would arguably meet the requirement of an experiential learning opportunity, but coupling it with systematic coaching and facilitation interventions as we do here at CIMBA converts it into such a transformational learning opportunity. The continuous balancing of challenges and support within the CIMBA leadership development process places those leadership development experiences in a far more useful context. Our unique LIFE program certainly sets the stage for transformational development and that is its primary purpose.  In addition, the executive coaches provide a meaningful and purposeful vehicle for reflection.

Again, Prof. Snook emphasizes the importance of this component at page 28: " [W]e were also troubled to discover that if left to their own devices, absent our periodic interviews and e-mail prompts, most students would not have been made time for serious reflection." All-in-all, the article fully supports the direction in leadership development we are taking here at CIMBA. In many passages, Prof. Snook describes our process even better than we do - but he is looking to his future and we are looking at our present.