CIMBA Newsletter

November 2010
In This Issue
CIMBA Undergraduate
Executive Programs
Al's Book Club
Meet the Alumni

Arianna Colombari

My name is Arianna Colombari, I live in Italy, and I graduated from CIMBA in 2008 as a part-time student. I'm currently the Marketing Director of the sporting goods Company Tecnica Group. I am directly in charge of all international activities of the brands: Nordica skis and ski boots, Rollerblade inline skates, and Dolomite Italian outdoor shoes. The organization is one of the largest in the international market; it is privately owned with active direct business in more than 67 countries. Even though my previous experiences were going toward a different direction (I pursued a BA in Taiwan in Chinese language and economics), I started my career in marketing 12 years ago.  

I have a positive memory of my days at the Campus in Asolo, but I could never deny that it was a real challenge and very demanding of my energies. To keep working and travelling the world while preparing for an MBA is not easy. I remember myself running through the various floors of some hotel abroad to receive, complete, and send back my examinations on time, or loading my luggage with books to use all travel time to catch up in my studies... but I knew the personal satisfaction that would came out of the MBA. I wish I could have had some more time to spend with my schoolmates during the 2 years as I did during our final month in Lawrence, where we shared an apartment. We really came closer and had a lot of fun.

By coincidence, I made large changes in my private life right after CIMBA. I didn't change my job, but instead kept growing in the same company where I'm now in charge of some wider responsibilities (responsibilities, incidentally, that I can better manage and understand after all subjects we covered in Asolo). When you become an expert in any specific field of an organization, it's not easy to open your mind and enlarge your vision to all other various aspects this involves. That's exactly what I learned in my MBA. Implementing a new e-commerce platform and starting a process for a corporate sustainability project are now two of my tasks where I can better apply the 360 degrees of vision that CIMBA gave me.
Alumni Updates

Tanya Cottrell, CIMBA Undergraduate Class of 2008, was recently hired at Periscope, one of the largest independently owned advertising firms in the American Midwest, as an Account Coordinator on the UnitedHealthcare account.



New job? Moving somewhere new? Getting married? Other life changes? Want to volunteer your profile for the Meet the Alumni section?

Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and they will appear here the following month.
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Calendar of Events:
November-December 2010

Executive Programs
26-27 Nov.: ECIM Strategy Session
10-11 Dec.: ECIM - KT Problem Solving and Decision Making

26-27 Nov.: MBA Production, Dr. Kirk Karwan
4-5 Dec.: MBA Leadership, Dr. Greg Stewart
6-7 Dec.: KT Project Management
11-12 Dec.: MBA MBA Leadership, Dr. Greg Stewart

30 Nov.: Final Gourmet Dinner
1 - 4 Dec.: Finals
4 Dec.: Checkout Day! Safe travels, undergraduates!


Past Issues

Save the Date
CIMBA lion


Please save the following dates for the year-end events at Iowa:


·  Friday,J uly 15, 2011 -CIMBA MBA Banquet and Awards Ceremony;

·  Saturday, July 16, 2011CIMBA MBA Commencement.


More information will be posted as these dates approach. We hope you will be able to celebrate with our students.


Happy Thanksgiving! Though the weather may be cooling quite drastically -- we hear there's snow forecasted for Asolo and Paderno del Grappa this weekend! -- we hope that you are all able to share some warm memories with family and friends.

With the Fall 2010 CIMBA Undergraduate class in their final two weeks, and the CIMBA MBA Class of 2011 nearly halfway through, activity continues bustling through our campuses in the Veneto. Exhilarating learning is happening all around us, and, as a result, the CIMBA students, faculty, and staff are all charged with excitement and a constant anticipation of great, new things.

From everyone here at CIMBA, we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who is a part of the immense CIMBA family. You are each in our thoughts and hearts.

Warm Regards,
The CIMBA Staff

The following article is written by Kevin Karwan, a member of CIMBA's MBA Class of 2011. Kevin is a graduate from the Furman University with a major in Neuroscience. He comes from Greenville, SC, where he gained several years of experience in neuroscience research with 2 publications to date. Kevin decided to join the CIMBA family in order to test the waters in the field of NeuroLeadership and to enhance his knowledge about the global marketplace.

Eighteen individual students from many different backgrounds showed up to campus at CIMBA two months ago with, likely, 18 different ideas about how the CIMBA experience would work itself out. The thing we did not predict is how much teamwork and becoming a team would be important. Over the last two months our class has started to bond like a team. We have gone through our ups and downs, some definite highs when we finished up in Slovenia and at LIFE, and some definite lows from time to time.  One thing we have done well is to implement systems that allow us to facilitate fellowship and get to know each others' strengths and areas of improvement nearly every day.

 A saying that most of us know is, "Those who eat together, stay together." The class of 2011 has planned a schedule to cook, eat, and clean together at least 4 nights a week. The team is divided into groups of 5 and the dishes are creations of each group. So far the dishes have ranged from the Italian spaghetti alla carbonara to traditional Indian cuisine to hamburgers and home fries. As a group we've found it satisfying to taste types of food from other parts of the world and to share it with our team. The cooking and cleaning is divided evenly among the teams and we even compete each week. The best dish each week gets a free round of gelato at Café Centrale.

Dinner with CIMBA's MBA Class of 2011

 Another key approach we have taken as a class is to divide up into different committees that will help enhance our short time here at CIMBA. We have 5 committees: Academic, Cultural, Public Relations, Professional, and Business, each with 3-4 members. The Academic Committee analyzes and reports both good and bad things about our academic life here to the directors. The Professional Committee is in charge of building the CIMBA MBA Resume Book. The Public Relations Committee is responsible for this article and other aspects of the newsletter each month. The Cultural Committee's responsibility is to arrange events that will help us learn more about Italian culture, for example wine and olive oil tastings and Christmas dinner. Finally, the Business Committee is charged with arranging company tours, roundtable meetings with professors, and distributing interesting current event articles to the class. Every person is a member of at least one committee. We find that these things will definitely help us learn more in our short time here and how to further manage our time and utilize our strengths in a team environment.


These are just a few examples of how our class of 2011, LIFE class 1019, is encouraging teamwork within our ranks. The thing we quickly learned when we walked in the door is that working as a team makes CIMBA a much better experience. There will always be some bumps in the road, but we hope these ideas will keep us together for the year and beyond.

CIMBA Undergraduate

The following article is written by Derek Skrainar, a current student at the CIMBA Undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa. Derek is attending CIMBA through the University of Delaware, where he is a junior majoring in Business Management and Operations Management.

The final whistle blew. Battered, bruised, and tired, my body let out a sigh of relief. The game was over. Our rag-tag bunch of American players had beaten the technically precise Italian squad.

When the idea was introduced that there would be a USA vs. Italy soccer match for the Fall 2010 semester, people chuckled. It was going to be a fun and light-hearted match against the CIMBA students and the Filippin high school team. The first thought that ran into my mind was "How good are these guys going to be?"

The CIMBA Undergraduate Soccer Team, Fall 2010

As the night of the game approached, the roughly 20 CIMBA students huddled around their coach, Richard Linkesch, in the hopes that they would each be able to play against an international soccer team. Little did we know, the result of that night's game would be surprising.

The first half of the game was dominated by the Italian side. A barrage of shots, crosses, and dribbling at our back line of defense was at a constant flow during the entire half hour. With the fortune of two shots off the crossbar and outstanding hands and positioning by the American goalie, Ryan Bennett, our team squeaked by at 0-0 by halftime. But the American spirit in us had awakened, and we realized something: we had just weathered the storm.

As the second half started, each player was reminded that we needed to focus our intensity on team organization, individual tenacity, and peer communication. Only by playing within our own abilities would we stand a chance to mount some scoring attacks. The next half hour was a role reversal. Instead of Italians winning challenges in the air, midfielders like Danny Nordstrom, Jason Oertell, Brett Klitz and Dominic Cerri helped keep the ball away from our defensive end with strong headers and aggressive play. Strikers like Dayne Milek, Stephan Schneck, and Andrew Collins continued to pester the Italian defense and played physical, much to the chagrin of the Italians.

With about 5 minutes left in the second half a ball was launched toward the Italian back line. Schneck, continuing to force the issue as a striker, caused an Italian turnover about 30 yards from their goal. The ball broke free from both the Italian defender and Schneck. But just as the deflections occurred off both the American and Italian player, the Italian goalie was also unable to clean handle the soccer ball. Collins was positioned perfectly and was waiting to charge. The deflected ball met Collins as he calmly stroked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Euphoria erupted from the American team and its faithful fans. Ignoring the brisk cold, the numerous students, professors, and administrators cheered and leapt in celebration with the American advantage. Just 5 minutes later, they all cheered again as the 1-0 score stood for the final result. The Americans had beaten the Italians. Pride and excitement joined together as the players sportingly shook hands and congratulated one another on a game well played.

The CIMBA players and fans left Jesus field that night with the sweet taste of victory in their mouths. What a game. What a goal. What a night!

CIMBA Executive Programs

Harvest Your Organization's Potential

As we hear from executive and alumni, at the end of the day, what counts most is not the documents produced, meetings chaired, or good intentions expressed by your organization's leaders.  It is the results they achieve.

All high-potential people - team leaders, managers, project managers, supervisors, and executives - need a set of skills that will coordinate the efforts of the organization and move it forward. Strong critical thinking skills are an essential component in building future leaders.  It is for this reason that all our educational programs incorporate a specific workshop on Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making (PSDM) methodology.  Kepner-Tregoe workshops provide a systematic, common-language approach to solving problems, making better balanced decisions, and managing business critical projects, all powered by logic and good questioning. These same programs are used to develop organizational leaders in major corporations worldwide.

To learn more about how to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your current training efforts we invite you to join our Executive class and attend our KT PSDM workshop on December 10-11. 
For more information on the workshop email

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 ABC gives us an interesting opportunity to revisit the history behind the CIMBA Leadership Development System and to get a sense of what may lie ahead. In several important ways, the recent history of leadership as it struggles to move from theory to more effective practice is beginning to look much like CIMBA's leadership development history over the past 10 years. In this ABC, I would like to direct your attention toward two very important new leadership books by two very eminent leadership scholars: Professors Richard L. Daft's The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader's Guide for Achieving Inner Excellence and Paul R. Lawrence's Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership. Both authors have made significant and important contributions to the traditional leadership literature over the past 30+ years. In the case of Professor Daft, on the basis of his research, it would be fair to say that he has been at the very core in defining leadership as an academic discipline. Professor Lawrence has similarly been at the core of leadership thinking, with his academic research focusing on organizations, organizational behavior, and how leaders bring about change in those organizations. At the NeuroLeadership Summit in Boston, we had the unique opportunity to visit with both of them. We were pleased to learn of the enthusiasm and excitement they both share with us in anticipation of the impacts neuroscience is going to have on the discipline of leadership going forward. In each of their works, they embrace the essence of neuroscience and brain-based thinking. Perhaps most importantly, their stature and influence will have a significant impact on the thinking of new and current leadership scholars towards the acceptance of NeuroLeadership ideas and concepts -- stimulating a very interesting vision of what may lie ahead in this important discipline.

In that their movement toward neuroscience is very similar to ours, let's take a moment and take a look back at how we traveled to this point in time.  As most readers of this column know, the learning pathway to our leadership development system at CIMBA is an anthology of frustrations, detours, dead-ends, deviations, distractions, set-backs, and misdirections, a formidable challenge we certainly found motivating. Early frustrations largely grew out of our initial reliance on traditional informational or epistemological learning approaches to leadership development, which essentially equated leadership competency with the classroom acquisition of a set of skills.  Both of these authors made important contributions to this body of leadership literature. Theoretically, within the "Being-Knowing-Doing" framework (see Hesselbein and Shinseki's Be-Know-Do: Leadership the Army Way for a full explanation), the successful "leader" learns skills ("Knowing," CIMBA's "Knowledge") and makes them actionable or operationally effective ("Doing," CIMBA's "Rational Process"), all under the assumption that both leader and followers manifest at will the appropriate mental state ("Being," CIMBA's "Behavior"). Through observation and experience, we found the traditional skills-building approach particularly deficient in "Being," the development component needed to guide, support and assist learners to reach a deeper psychological understanding of both their values, emotions, behaviors, and thinking and those of others.  Professor Lawrence has come to a similar realization regarding the "Being" component, and, in this book, he applies the four drive theory of human behavior (to acquire, to defend, to comprehend, to bond) to the leadership realm.  In essence, leaders fail when they fail the "Being" component of Effective Leadership.


In searching for "Being" development alternatives, our experiences moved us outside the confines of the major disciplines whose "theories" were then defining the traditional informational (and other) approaches to leadership development. Through the late 90s and early 2000s, we had actively involved social psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists in building a leadership development system implemented through and supported by leadership development coaches. We identified neuroscience for its potential contributions to sense-making and, most importantly, as the natural science upon which leadership development as a struggling social science could seemingly be built or rebuilt. While we fully appreciated the importance of technically-competent leaders, effective leadership development at CIMBA has come to mean developing a leader's mind with attention to neuroscience theories and research to better assist in decision-making, emotional regulation, collaborating with and influencing others, and in facilitating change.  Professor Daft comes to the same basic conclusions:

Leaders usually know what they should do, so why aren't they doing it?  According to neuroscience, the brain has two sometimes-conflicting parts. The inner CEO is the higher part that sees the objective big picture with a balanced approach to determining the best action.  The lower part is the inner elephant, with its ego, unconscious impulses, emotions, and lifelong habits. The strength of the leader's elephant may pull him or her toward micromanaging, putting things off, tactless remarks, insisting on always being right, overreacting, finding fault rather than appreciating, and not listening or not staying focused.  Such behaviors can overpower the wisdom of the inner CEO.


Neuroscience provided us with a science-based vehicle for setting out for the learner the "What, Why, and How" of leadership development -- moving leadership development beyond its traditional focus on the "What." Learners enjoyed -- and were in fact drawn to -- learning about their brain and their ability to expressly direct its attention. In essence, we found a viable solution at the intersection of neuroscience and social psychology, overlaid it onto a more traditional leadership development system, and created a system that makes use of neurobiofeedback technology. Through that application of that technology based on neuroscience research, we are able to assist leaders in "explicating" their emotions, thereby giving the leader the ability to control them and more effectively apply the appropriate skill. Professor Daft comes to a similar conclusion:


Leaders often know what they should be doing, how to do it, and why they should do it. Yet when their intentions and behaviors refuse to align, the unwanted actions of the inner elephant take priority over the wisdom of the inner CEO. ... Most leaders know what they should be doing differently.  The challenge for leaders is how to change themselves to eliminate a flaw or bad habit.  When leaders learn how to strengthen their inner CEO and control their elephant, they will do what they know is best.


Although the research linkages between psychology and business in general and leadership more specifically are long-held and productive, the formal research linkages between leadership and neuroscience are much less developed. Still, it is evident that the contributions neuroscience research has and could be making to psychology differ little from the contributions it could make toward deepening and furthering our understanding of the leadership development process. Although prior to these two books it seemed unknown to leadership theorists, neuroscience is very rapidly beginning to uncover, define and expand the anatomy and physiology behind the social science of leadership. I strongly suggest both of these books for a good Christmas read and particularly Daft's The Executive and the Elephant for that person new to neuroscience and its applications. His thinking is very much aligned with ours.