CIMBA Newsletter
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February 2009
In This Issue
Alumni Updates
CIMBA Calendar
An Alpina Update
Al's Book Corner
Meet the Alumni

Rajkumar Palanna 

Dr. Rajkumar Palanna

What year were you at CIMBA? Where have you gone since then, professionally?
I graduated with my MBA in 1994. After that I managed a textile company based in Florida. I moved onto working at Delphi, Ford, Honeywell and other companies with jobs of increasing responsibilities. Currently, I am CEO of a young market research company. We offer market data analysis outsourcing from the USA and Europe to our back office in India. We also help companies launch their brand and operations in India.
I also got an MS and Ph.d. in Engineering after my MBA.

What was your best "CIMBA" moment?
Traveling around Europe with my classmates was one of the most memorable times. Our class is still a closely-knit community and we meet each other when we visit different countries.
How has CIMBA affected your life, professionally and personally?
CIMBA provided me the foundation to becoming a global citizen. It gave me a great lesson in understanding people and businesses that are based in different countries. I think the CIMBA MBA provided me with the foundation that has made me, what I have become in my professional career.

eMpulse is a Global company. CIMBA MBA gave me the knowledge and credential to operate successfully in a global business environment.
How do you keep a work/life balance? Any tips?
Leading a young company can be very demanding in terms of time and commitments. This has put lot of pressure on work/life balance. I make it a point to play for an hour every day with my 5-year-old son, Ryan, regardless of what is going on with my work schedule. Also, I shut down my Blackberry every Sunday. Blackberry can be addictive and take over your life, especially if we are in international business. E-mails keep flowing 24 hours  a day.
What advice can you give current CIMBA students?
Have fun when you are there. It is going to come to an end. The CIMBA MBA days were one of the best times in my life. I never realized it at that time, but in hindsight, I would give anything to go back to the good old days.

Anything else?
Develop a good network of friends. It will become very useful as you progress through your careers. If any of you are visiting Dallas, TX, or Bangalore, India, I would love to meet with you and network with fellow alumni. I shuttle between India and the USA. You can reach me at

Dr. Palanna is part of the MBA class of 1994, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary in Asolo in June from the 25th-27th. More to come on that celebration!
MBA 2010 Recruitment

We're in the recruiting process for CIMBA MBA class of 2010 students! The deadline for application submission is May 30. If you know of a bright, talented young man or woman eager to get an international MBA degree with emphasis on leadership and consulting, please tell him/her to  visit us at for more information or contact us at
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.

2008 - Robert Tudisco is now a business analyst for Talisen Technologies in St. Louis.

2004 - David Gower married Wendy Strobel.
CIMBA Calendar - February 2009
Feb. 7-8 - Human Resources Management, Milan Pagon, University of Cyprus

Feb. 10-11 - New Venture Development: Law, Nancy Hauserman, University of Iowa

Feb. 17, 19, 21-22 - Global Marketing, Molly Rapert, University of Arkansas

Feb. 28-29 - Finance, David Carter, Oklahoma State University
Feb. 11 - Gourmet Dinner

Feb. 13-22 - Travel Week #1

Feb. 24 - ECS: Etiquette Seminar, History of Veneto

Feb. 26 - ECS: EU and its Institutions
Feb. 6  - "Executive Program in Business Communication" 
Program Presentation
Feb. 9 - "Executive Certificate in Leadership Development" Program Presentation

Feb. 13-14 - "Executive Certificate Program in International Management and Strategy" Global Marketing
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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
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Join Our Mailing List!

It's been a brisk February here in Italy, but we've been keeping plenty busy indoors and out, with travel weeks, projects, classes, seminars and more!

The MBA campus welcomed its first professor from the University of Iowa, Professor Nancy Hauserman, for New Venture Development: Law (see more in the MBA feature). In the Undergraduate feature, we sat down with Alba, owner of the Alpina, for a quick Q&A session about the ever-popular PdG hangout.

Are you a Facebook fan? Find us on Facebook at and become a fan of CIMBA!

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!
Iowa comes to CIMBA
Professor Nancy Hauserman from the University of Iowa came to lecture for New Venture Development: Law. We caught up with her for a few minutes to talk about her experience at CIMBA.
Nancy Hauserman
How was your overall experience coming to Italy to lecture?
Wonderful. The students were engaging and engaged and they pushed me to my first cup of coffee in 32 years ... an experience that was well worth coming off the wagon! Asolo is a lovely town and I enjoyed walking everywhere and eating everything! The people were friendly and tolerant of my minimal Italian.

What were the main differences between classes at Iowa and class in CIMBA?
None really, except that I don't walk up a huge hill to get to class at Iowa! The weather was better at CIMBA. The room and the equipment were similar, although we have a bit better Internet access in our buildings at Iowa.

Any surprises during class? What was most memorable?
I had not expected the high level of class participation. It was a welcomed surprise!

Any advice for the MBA students?
Retain your enthusiasm for learning and participation. It was great. Get used to ICON since it is the internet device of choice for Iowa professors and once you are used to it, you will find it very helpful. Bring a good sense of humor, a willingness to learn and work, and a strong sense of ethics to the classes.

Mark your calendars

CIMBA MBA 2009 graduation will take place on July 18th, with the awards dinner the night before in Iowa City, Iowa. All alumni are invited to come and celebrate with us and cheer on the first class to graduate from the University of Iowa - we'd love to see you there!

Follow us on the Web!

Check out the CIMBA MBA blog on Businessweek's website at for updates and short takes on the happenings at CIMBA Asolo.
CIMBA Undergraduate
From the AlpinaThe Alpina in Paderno del Grappa

The Alpina has been on the corner in Paderno del Grappa for 43 years and has become a very popular drop-in point for CIMBA Undergrad students looking for a quiet place to study, a quick caffeine fix or a pastry to appease a sweet tooth.
CIMBA students, says Alba, the proprietress, come to the Alpina more often than the Filippin students and are always very respectful. The business CIMBA students bring in has been a boon for them, and they enjoy the steady traffic.

Alba and MassimoAmerican favorites? Cappuccino is the top beverage and dischi, a thin cookie sandwich covered with powdered sugar, is the preferred pastry, though fruit pastries and, of course, brioche sell quickly. Americans love panettone at Christmas time and other Display at the Alpinaseasonal breads and always have questions about the Italian traditions.

We look forward to many more years as Alpina fans, and hope you have good memories of Paderno's little coffee and pastry shop!

Follow us on the Web!

Check out the CIMBA ambassadors' blogs on for updates and perspectives from five of our undergraduate students throughout their semesters in Paderno del Grappa.
CIMBA Executive Programs
Executive Certificate in International Management
Participants just completed the International Marketing Module, and the next module will be finance and accounting on March 13-14.

We are organizing the final week at the University of Iowa in the U.S.A. which will be from July 11-18.
Leadership Development Training - L.I.F.E. Program
The next edition of LIFE will be from March 13-15, in an international group with both European and American participants enrolled!
For more information about LIFE, please send an e-mail to
A-B-C: Al's Book Corner

Many alumni are asking us questions about CIMBA's new LIFE program - Leadership Initiative For Excellence. CIMBA people are known for their curiosity. By taking you through the basics of the neuroscience of leadership, I have already covertly "explained" LIFE to you.  This month, I would like to continue that journey - again to satisfy (and hopefully, stimulate) the curious.

It is surprising to discover that the number of books setting out a leadership development process is quite low: Among the best, Avolio's Leadership Development in the Balance, the Center for Creative Leadership's Handbook of Leadership Development, Avolio and Luthan's The High Impact Leader, and Thomas's Crucibles of Leadership. It is this latter book upon which I would like you to focus, not for its content specifically but as a basis of comparison to LIFE.

The basic ingredients of an effective leadership development process include a ready learner who throughout the process is systematically challenged by self-discovery experiences and experiential learThe Crucibles of Leadershipning activities, supported and nurtured by coaches, and continuously assessed and evaluated to define "current self" and to measure progress toward developmental goals and the "potential self."  But from our experience, these ingredients are not enough by themselves to achieve our goal of sustainable personal intentional change. We knew there was more that could be done, and that something "more" is best described by Rock and Schwartz in their 2006 strategy + business article "The Neuroscience of Leadership":

A very effective way to start to facilitate change is by cultivating moments of insight. Large-scale behavioral change requires a large-scale change in those mental maps that hold our habits.  This in turn requires some kind of event or experience which allows us to provoke ourselves, in effect, to change our attitudes and expectations more quickly and dramatically than we would normally.

As some alumni know, in our search for such an "event or experience," we tested and eliminated a variety of programs including trekking, climbing, low-ropes and high-ropes programs. We then considered variations of what is becoming to be referred to as the "life-stories" approach to leadership development and that brings us to Robert Thomas' (who is executive director of the Institute for High-Performance Business at Accenture) Crucibles of Leadership. Under this approach, a leader's "life-story" provides a "meaning system" from which the leader can act authentically. This "life story" is often described as an event forming a crucible, moment or jolt that provides a critical turning point in the way the leader views themselves and their role as a leader. The intent of the "life-stores" leadership development process is to ferret out and define a participant's implicit leadership style by using such events or "moments" -- in our words, by making it explicit.

Outside the explication of an individual's crucible, we found our leadership development processes to be quite similar: explications of the individual's basic beliefs and motivations for leadership, assessments to define current self, goal setting to define potential self, and the use of coaching as a primary support mechanism were shared between the two processes. Could the explication of an individual's crucible moments provide us with the "event or experience" for which we were looking? Although we ultimately answered the question "no," we remain convinced that for some individuals the "life story" leadership development process would be effective.

The difficulties we encountered had to do with (1) the person-to-person variability of that crucible, which often detracted from the student's coachability in terms of both focus and time commitment, and (2) our belief that the student's implicit leadership style it was to define was being suppressed by habits and behaviors that often came from other, seemingly unrelated, "moments." Avolio and Luthans refer to these habits as being driven by an individual's "automatic thinking." We referred to those "habits" as barriers to leadership and asked ourselves: Could those barriers be addressed systematically? How could we motivate participants to look more closely at what habits were holding them back? What kind of event or experience could we create to motivate the individual to take that look and the action necessary to overcome it?

Throughout this search, the applicability of current research in neuroscience, particularly social cognitive neuroscience, and psychology was becoming clearer. Every CIMBA alumnus knows that this research is still in its infancy as it relates to business schools but is quite advanced as it relates to social psychology. Social neuroscientists educated us on the importance of understanding "social pain." Neuro-psychologists educated us to more fully appreciate the importance of the relationship between emotion and cognition when it comes to "deep" learning. It was upon this research that we began to build our "deep change," or LIFE, program.

LIFE is a small group, experiential, personal development learning opportunity based on neuroscience and psychology. It is intended to provoke participant thinking to encourage them to evaluate their attitudes and behaviors more closely. In psychology terms, it creates a "safe emergency," providing a challenge for growth and integration in a context of guidance and support. Integration is accomplished through the fear and anxiety of public speaking coupled with strong, nurturing group support. The program facilitates the personal development process through supplying challenges of all kinds but each coupled with education of participants (What made me feel this way?) for the express purpose of combining emotion with cognition. The positive outcomes generated by the program are related to this combined engagement of thought and the affect, utilizing both support and challenge. This combination is well understood by neuroscientists to trigger neuroplasticity and is a key element in the success of the program. The program effectively harnesses the interaction of stress and learning in changing mental maps to motivate personal intentional change.

In the creation of an autobiographical memory, LIFE focuses on interpersonal honesty, exploration, expressiveness, self-disclosure and self-reflection. Consistent with the CIMBA personality, participants who gain the most from LIFE characterize themselves as highly-motivated, highly-achievement driven, open to experience, and wanting to make a difference in the lives of others including their families, friends, social networks and community.  Take a moment to compare the CIMBA leadership development process to Crucibles. The comparison will tell you a great deal about where we have been and where we are headed.