CIMBA Newsletter


November 2009
In This Issue
CIMBA Undergraduate
Executive Programs
Al's Book Club
CIMBA Calendar of Events
Meet the Alumni

Gary Stehle

When did you graduate from CIMBA?
I graduated from CIMBA in 1994 when the program was in Pordenone and associated with Clemson University.  I was somewhat of an outlier in the fact that I went right into the full-time MBA program after graduating from Purdue University with a BS in Mathematics & Statistics.  I knew upon graduation from Purdue I wanted to eventually earn an MBA, I just didn't realize the opportunity would come so fast!  After a few months (and several conversations with Dr. Ringleb), I was on an airplane to Italy.  Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. 
How has CIMBA affected your life, professionally and personally?
Upon graduating from the CIMBA program in 1994, I went to work for an international consulting firm in Chicago (my hometown).  I would have never had that opportunity had it not been for my CIMBA education and experience.  My initial position at the firm was a research associate, reporting to one of the Vice Presidents.  I was quickly immersed in the world of joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions, and strategic alliances.  I worked directly with executives of international firms who were looking to expand, but engaged our services in order to determine the most favorable "mode" of expansion.  At the conclusion of our analysis, we were often hired to identify, approach and negotiate with targeted strategic partners.  In essence, we acted as the corporate development team for our client. 
Within a year, I was promoted to Director of Sales for the firm and was given the Americas as my territory.  All along, I had the entrepreneurial "bug" and eventually made the decision to branch out on my own as a small business owner.  I spent 10 years as an owner of a chain of frozen dessert outlets in Indiana and Florida.  After 10 years and many changes (including a wife, two kids and a dog) the time was right for me and my family to sell the businesses and move on to the next phase of our lives. 
That brings me to my current role as an M&A Intermediary with national firm in Indianapolis, Indiana.  My focus at Sunbelt Network is advising lower middle market companies ($5mm to $150mm in revenue) in mergers, acquisitions, and recapitalizations.  This career is extremely challenging yet rewarding.  With the onslaught of retiring baby-boomers, I look forward to being very busy over the next 10 to 15 years.
If you had to describe your best memory at CIMBA, what would it be?
I have many fond memories of my time in Italy.  Where do I start?  From the beautiful scenery, the wonderful people, and of course the professors and fellow classmates my experience was one that I will never forget.  I certainly recall the intensity and workload, but remember we always seemed to find the time to get away on the weekends or during a break.  In fact, I believe I was able to visit 13 countries while living in Italy.  I would always try to make time to visit a new place or do something new each weekend if the opportunity arose.  My advice to current and future students is to take advantage of all that you possibly can while in Italy, even if it means less sleep.  You'll never have this kind of opportunity again -- work, family, and life in general pull you in many different directions and consume your time. 
What advice can you give current CIMBA students?
Because our class was so small (I believe around 80 students), I had the opportunity to get to know most of my classmates pretty well both in the classroom and outside the classroom.  We studied together, ate together and traveled together.  The other unique aspect of the program is being totally immersed in the local culture.  I found that to be intimidating at first, but my advice is to embrace this opportunity by getting to know the locals and spending some time outside your normal circle of friends.   
What else?
Looking back, I found the case study aspect of the program to be extremely valuable.  Working in a group environment can be challenging enough, but when you mix in different cultures that made it all the more challenging.  One of the more important traits I gained from being involved in the CIMBA program was how to work effectively with classmates and colleagues that come from very different backgrounds.  I believe that experience taught me well in my current position as an M&A Intermediary.  I work with business owners, buyers, accountants, attorneys and other advisors on a daily basis.  We all have a common goal which is to get the deal done, but we each have different opinions and personalities that effect how negotiations progress.  Recognizing this and being put outside of my comfort zone while at CIMBA helped prepare me for whatever challenges I've faced in my professional career.

Gary Stehle lives in Zionsville, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis) with his wife, Mary, and their two children -- Megan, who is six, and Brandon, who is two.
CIMBA's 2009 Advisors' Conference

During the late part of the last month, CIMBA hosted its 2009 advisors' conference -- its second conference of this kind thus far. Twenty-two advisors from the United States traveled to CIMBA to gather information about CIMBA and its variety of programs. Says Cassie Cooper, CIMBA's director of outreach and program development, "The goal of the advisors' conference is to provide the staff members that are on the front-line of working with students the opportunity to see what the CIMBA program offers firsthand.  It's one thing to describe living in the dorm, eating in the cafeteria and the like to someone.  However, for an advisor to see these things firsthand makes it so much more powerful then they talk to students.  They can say, 'I've been there.'"
"The conference was a great opportunity for the CIMBA staff to meet colleagues from across the U.S. who promote the program at their universities.  I think it also helped to increase the advisors' understanding of the philosophy behind CIMBA and the programs such as CAP, LEAP, and LIFE that make it unique. Hearing about them from students and faculty on the program this semester was invaluable," says Kate Gerken, the assistant director for the CIMBA Italy Programs at the University of Iowa.
Alumni Updates

Chiara Fardin (of the part-time MBA class of 2003)  is the proud mother of Giulia, born on October 26th.
Amélie Cesarina Schiavon was born on Tuesday, October 27th. She is the third child of Mauro and Shanna Schiavon (each of the MBA class of 2001); she follows Sofia, age three, and Julian, age one.

Congratulations, CIMBA parents!

New job? Moving somewhere new? Getting married? Other life changes? Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and they will appear here the following month.
Quick Links
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Happy Thanksgiving!
November has come (and nearly gone!), and the CIMBA campuses have been bustling with events all the way through. After a host of activities -- the regular class load, career workshops, cultural seminars and events like "Add a Seat to the Table," CIMBA's Kepner-Tregoe training, and week reserved for travel -- the undergraduate fall 2009 semester is coming to a close. This following week will include their third and final gourmet dinner, the end of classes, and their final exams.
The MBA campus has seen an equal amount of goings-on -- from their first exam in accounting, their final exam in statistical analysis, personal career strategy workshops, work with their consulting projects (see the MBA article below), and a formal dinner in celebration of Thanksgiving. What's next? The MBAs will continue on with their consulting projects, begin their courses in production and operations management with Dr. Kirk Karwan and in leadership and personal development with Dr. Milan Pagon (whose interview is the feature of the undergraduate article), train in Six Sigma, attend the CIMBA holiday dinner, and then relax for their winter breaks.
The first half of the academic year has certainly flown by, and everyone at CIMBA is certainly looking forward to the next half -- after a little bit of winter hibernation, of course!
The yearly consulting projects have begun for the CIMBA MBAs! These experience-based projects are designed to connect students with local companies and to have them take on actual consulting experience. "Students are able to take the learning they get and apply it in real-life situations with client companies. It has all the intricacies of a class assignment while incorporating all the experiential aspects of CIMBA knowledge processes and behaviors," says Mr. Roy Pettibone, one of the project leaders and organizers for these projects. Fellow organizer and project leader, Mr. Simone Bigolin, says, "The consulting projects are valuable to the MBA students because they are direct and practical experiences. Students will remember more -- and for a longer time -- of what they learn through these experiences, rather than through hundreds of pages of exercises and readings. And since a consulting project is always a challenging experience, full of personal interactions where students have to deal with the unexpected and the ambiguous, it is valuable because it provides an example of what business life really is."
Tommy Thompson, a part-time CIMBA MBA who works as a campus life coordinator at CIMBA's undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa, participated in the MBA consulting projects last year. He says, of this experience, "The consulting project has been my favorite aspect of the CIMBA MBA so far.  I feel that I learned so much from the relative expertise of the various members of my diverse consulting team. It was exciting to be able to pull together experiential skills such as team-building and time management, add educational knowledge of fields like marketing and information systems, and then synthesize them into a dynamic, multifaceted project where our decisions made real-world changes. I challenge anyone to find a better way to test someone's ability to be successful in today's globalized world."
If you would like your company to participate in a consulting project, you may e-mail Simone Bigolin. "Thanks to our students' past experiences, competencies, and cultural backgrounds, they are effective in detecting gaps and providing ideas for improvement and growth. This is a great value for each company: achieving higher awareness about their various situations and benchmarking it with other organizations, even competitors, in the pursuit of constant improvement.Companies that receive our international teams of students have immediately felt this implicit benefit. Our client companies also always receive a lot of fresh energy, thanks to the motivation and enthusiasm of our students. To a wise observer this is also a really great value; it can drive a new wave of motivation, commitment, and thought within actual company personnel."
CIMBA Undergraduate

Dr. Milan Pagon, who has played an integral role in the CIMBA experience for several years, has joined the CIMBA staff this semester as the new academic director of the undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa, Italy. We're delighted to have him in this new role, and we'd like to take this opportunity to let you know a little bit more about him!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm coming from Slovenia, Italy's neighboring country. I have an undergraduate degree in education and psychology from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, a master's and a doctoral degree in organizational studies (human resource management) from the University of Maribor, Slovenia, and a doctoral degree in business administration (management/organizational behavior) from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA. I was a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship. I have thirty years of work experience. Among other duties, I was a chief of police, a police inspector, a human resource manager, an assistant director for the Personnel Agency of Slovenia, and a university professor. For ten years, I was the dean of two different schools within the University of Maribor. The last of the two had 4,500 students and 105 employees. My international experience includes teaching at the University of Arkansas, USA, at the Middle East Technical University in Northern Cyprus, and at CIMBA, Italy. I've been an active researcher with an extensive record of publication. I'm married, with two children. My daughter is a psychology student at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and my son has his own IT company in Slovenia. My wife works for a bank in Slovenia. My hobbies include motorbike riding, swimming, and fitness.
What is your previous experience with CIMBA?
For many years I've conducted team-building workshops for the CIMBA undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs, using either the Low Ropes or the High Ropes Courses. Four years ago, I started to teach in the CIMBA MBA program as well. This semester I joined CIMBA as a full-time staff member.
What about the CIMBA philosophy most appeals to you? What do you identify with?
What excites me about CIMBA is a fact that it is always at the forefront of the student and leadership development, constantly incorporating the latest findings from the frontiers of science into its programs. The emphasis is placed on the personal development of each of the programs' participant much more than it is on imparting the knowledge per se. I strongly identify with the "students first" part of the CIMBA's basic beliefs. That's why we're here.
What about this position are you looking forward to most?
It's hard to single out one particular thing considering how many hats I'm wearing here at CIMBA. I'm the academic director of the undergraduate campus (which involves dealing with the professors and the students, dealing with disciplinary issues, working with the students with special needs, and evaluating and improving the process); I'm a professor in the undergraduate program, teaching Topics in Management: Business, Culture, and Society in Western Europe; I'm a professor in the MBA program, teaching leadership and personal development; I'm a Da Vinci Challenge instructor, conducting the Low and the High Ropes Courses for the undergraduates, the MBA students, and the executives. I'm an academic trainer in the LIFE program; I'm a reviewer for the NeuroLeadership Journal; I'm about to get trained as a Kepner-Tregoe (KT) instructor and as a coach; I'm designing some research projects involving various CIMBA program participants; and I'm also involved in designing the new CIMBA training and development initiatives. These are all challenging and exciting projects and I'm looking forward to make a difference, whether in the life of a student or in the quality of a program or a project.
CIMBA Executive Programs
Executive Certificate Program
The 8th edition of the Executive Certificate in International Management and Strategy successfully began on Friday, November 20th. High profile participants coming from important companies of the northeast of Italy have gone through their strategy modules. This first and crucial class was held by Professor Roy Pettibone from the University of Iowa. The other seven weekends of class will be held in December and in June. Afterward, participants will fly to the University of Iowa to attend the one-week capstone and receive their certification.  
LIFE Leadership Program
CIMBA's LIFE Leadership Program has extended its boundaries beyond Italy once more: after Princeton, New Jersey, the latest edition of the program was been held in Ljubljana, Slovenia from November 20st through the 22nd.

LIFE Participants in Lubjana, November 22nd
The next edition of LIFE (in English) will be in the Asolo area January.  For more information, or to enroll, send an e-mail to  
In-Company Training & Coaching
Several companies are getting tangible benefits thanks to CIMBA's in-company leadership development training and coaching. If you are interested, give us a call or send us an e-mail and we will show you what your ROI could be.
A-B-C: Al's Book Club 

This month's ABC gives me an opportunity to do two important tasks at the same time: (1) acquaint you with a very interesting book written by an even more interesting person, and (2) introduce you to CIMBA's new "Leadership Competencies" workshops. As most Just Listen - Coverof you who read this column regularly know, and particularly readers who are also alumni of the MBA program, CIMBA has been on a determined mission to define, develop, and implement an effective leadership development system. From its beginnings, this mission has focused on personal intentional change as it relates to an individual's leadership skills. While we have always defined a "leadership competency" as being comprised of requisite skill and behavior components, we have largely centered our attention on the behavior component. In major part, this had been the consequence of an internal decision that could be basically stated (naïvely) as "The student can acquire the skill component on his/her own" and "The student needs assistance in acquiring the behavioral component." In conducting background research in an unrelated area, we found (quite honestly, almost by accident) that student behavior development was beginning to seriously outrun skill development in critical leadership competency areas. More directly, students were developing the ability to handle difficult, emotional situations but were unable to get the most out of the situation because they lacked the requisite skill component. In other words, I was wrong -- mastery of both the skill and the behavior components are necessary and sufficient conditions of acquiring a leadership competency. As most of you would predict, we sought a solution by looking to neuroscience and social psychology research and found that the successful acquisition of a leadership competency requires that they be learned together. That finding led us to develop our new "Leadership Competencies" workshops.
Depending on the leadership competency of interest, individual competency workshops vary in length from a half-day to two days.  Among several others (currently, more than 20 in total), the leadership competency workshops include such competencies as issue resolution (centered on Kepner-Tregoe's Decision-Making and Problem Solving and Project Management tools and techniques), managing conflict, delegation, performance appraisal, feedback, and -- the book subject of this ABC -- communications. Each Leadership Competency workshop involves three players: (1) a "neuroscientist," (2) a coach or facilitator, and (3) a teacher or professor. It begins with a short overview of the neuroscience specifically related to the workshop's leadership competency. For example, if the leadership competency is "Managing Conflict," the workshop would begin with an overview of the neuroscience of managing conflict, with its roots in the SCARF model.  The workshop then moves into assessments of the participant's understanding of the requisite skill required to manage conflict (essentially measuring whether or not they have had prior skills training) and ability to manage the requisite behavior or emotion. After these assessments, the workshop provides a series of exercises or processes whose purpose it is to elicit participant emotion specific to the competency. This part of the workshop is managed by a coach or facilitator. Directly after the exercises, participants undertake a reassessment of the behavior or emotional part of the competency. (Most participants in our beta tests were quite surprised by the results.) Participants are guided by the coach or facilitator in setting out the behavioral or emotional "issues" that he/she will need to take on with her/his coach during coaching sessions. The teacher or professor then provides participants with information on the skills or techniques that may be used in the effective practice of this particular leadership competency. The neuroscientist closes the workshop by explaining the neuroscience solution for managing the behavior/emotion. Students understand that achieving the leadership competency demands meeting both its skill and behavior or emotional requirements. Exciting stuff!
Our challenge in making the workshops a meaningful experience within the CIMBA leadership development system is to find support material consistent with our model of the leadership competency: leadership competency equals mastery of the requisite skill plus mastery of the requisite behavior. The vast majority of academic materials focus on the skill component part (something the instructional psychology literature refers to as biologically secondary information) with only a passive or implicit reference to the behavioral component (biologically primary information). Our approach requires that the material expressly bring the two component parts together through a strong foundation of neuroscience and social psychology research. After a fair measure of frustration in developing materials for our "Crucial Communications" Leadership Competency workshop, I was fortunate to meet Mark Goulston at our Neuroleadership Summit in Los Angeles. Mark is a psychiatrist, coach, and author who really understood and appreciated what it was that we were seeking. His solution: he simply handed me his new book, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. Does Mark have the real-world expertise to provide practical advice on crucial communications? He was a highly-respected FBI hostage-negotiation trainer. Need I say more? Given his science background, Mark is also very comfortable intertwining the skill component with the behavior component.  He understands and relates very practically to our notions of a "Red-Zone Emotion" (read his description of it in his own words on page 17) and empathetic relationships built upon mirror neurons: effective leaders understand that people need to be "felt" to best facilitate communication and connection. I was particularly intrigued by his notion of a "mirror neuron receptor deficit." His in-depth understanding of the communication process takes him naturally to an implicit/explicit understanding of the neuroscience of insight and the power behind asking the right questions and influencing the environment by making the right statements. His understanding of emotional control within the communication process interconnects well with our understanding of the neuroscience of labeling and reappraisal. All totaled, the book matches perfectly with our needs for the "Crucial Communications" Leadership Competency workshop, is consistent with both our coaching methodology and personal intentional change philosophy, and has good science at its foundation. Although we have found Mark to be an exceptional author and thinker, I want you to know that he is an even more exceptional person. We look forward to long relationship between Mark and his thinking and CIMBA.
CIMBA Calendar of Events: 
November / December 2009

25 Nov.: Statistics, Final Exam
30 Nov -1 Dec.: KT Project Management
3 Dec.: Accounting, Final Exam
5-6, 9-10 Dec.: MBA Leadership and Personal Development (with Dr. Milan Pagon)
12-13 Dec.: MBA Production  & Operations (with Dr. Kirk Karwan)
14 Dec.: MBA Holiday Season Dinner
15-17 Dec.: Green Belt Six Sigma Training (with Mr. Lee Campe)
18 Dec.: MBA HRM Exam I
19-20 Dec.: MBA Production & Operations (with Dr. Kirk Karwan)
21 Dec. - 5 Jan.: Winter Break

1 Dec.: Final Gourmet Dinner
2 Dec.: Last Day of Classes
3-5 Dec.: Final Exams
5 Dec.: Check Out Day (Travel Safely!)
10 Dec.: Strengths Workshop (in Italian)
11-12 Dec.: K-T Problem Solving & Decision Making 
15 Dec.: Coaching Skills for Managers & Entrepreneurs
22 Dec.: International Management and Strategy