CIMBA Newsletter
                                                                 Happy Holidays!!
December 2010
In This Issue
CIMBA Undergraduate
Al's Book Club
Meet the Alumni

Bing Howell,
CIMBA MBA Class of 2006

My name is Bing! I'm from California (but moved across the U.S. and Mexico growing up), and I completed the CIMBA part-time MBA program in 2006 while also working as a Program Coordinator for CIMBA Undergraduate. Prior to my CIMBA experience, I worked at Merrill Lynch as a Senior Specialist across the Global Management and Information Technology group.


Through the exposure that CIMBA provided me to personal and leadership development, as well as access to world-class executive coaching, I was able to unlock my life-long passion to depart from the financial services industry and work in education reform. Similarly, the hands-on exposure I had in terms of practicing leadership and process skills in a real environment enhanced my ability to engage meaningfully with (and lead) teams while also analyzing projects and challenges.


After completing my MBA, I went on to work as an Educational Consultant at Bryanston Square in the UK, where I was able to engage with the Building Schools for the Future initiative. I was able to work with the NCSL, countless local authorities, and schools and corporations interested in creating transformational learning environments across the country. Following my recent return to the United States, I joined Citizen Schools (in New Jersey) as the Director of Development and Civic Engagement. Citizen Schools is a national education reform model centred on expanding the learning day to provide more learning time, hands-on learning, and assisting youth from challenged economic backgrounds through meaningful relationships with community leaders. In partnership with the executive director, I am responsible for building the partnerships and strategies that will enable our growth throughout New Jersey.

A truly life-impacting experience, it is hard for me to single out specific instances that are the most memorable during my two years in Asolo and Paderno. Working full time, sandwiched by courses from 9 to 7 every weekend and consulting project work on most evenings left little time for play. From the time I was able to spend on our beautiful campus working and engaging with part and full-time classmates, to working through the initial design of the leadership program with Dr. Ringleb, Cristina, and the fantastic executive coaching team (Carla, Margo and Debbie), to the family I was able to build in my short time there, my time at CIMBA will always be remembered as one of the highest impact periods of my life.

Alumni Updates

MBA alumni Mauro Pillon and his wife Sabrina are proud to announce the birth our first daughter, Gaia. Gaia was born on September 21. Congratulations, Mauro and Sabrina!

Kerim Hanif (CIMBA class of 1994) and Lara Hanif (CIMBA class of 2000) had a little addition to their family -- Lila (pictured with her mother below), born October 12th, 2010. She is the new sister of Ela, born two years ago. Kerim and Lara live in Redmond, WA. Kerim works as a Program Manager for Microsoft, and Lara works as a Media Specialist, also for Microsoft. Congratulations, Kerim and Lara!


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:
January 2011

7 Jan.: Change Management, Mr. Gregory Rump
8, 9, 15, 16 Jan.
: MBA Financial Management, Dr. David Carter
12 Jan.: Final Exam, POM
21, 22 Jan.: Negotiation Skills, Dr. George Siedel
26 Jan.: Exam I, MBA Financial Management

17 Jan.: Spring 2011 Check-in!
19 Jan.: Classes begin
Save the Date!

CIMBA lion

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


Friday, July 15, 2011
CIMBA MBA Banquet & Awards

Saturday, July 16, 2011

  CIMBA MBA Graduation


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


Past Issues


First off, Happy Holidays from everyone at CIMBA! We all hope that you'll be spending time with friends and family, two immense sources of warmth for us all. And it seems like we'll need all the warmth we can get -- it's been a very cold winter so far here in the Veneto!


Things here at CIMBA are winding down for winter break. CIMBA's undergraduate class of Fall 2010 has made its way home, and will be missed. And the CIMBA MBAs have only one exam to go before their winter break begins on the 21st! Safe travels, everyone -- enjoy some well-deserved rest!


Everyone at CIMBA, in fact, is looking forward to a little down time. But, we've always got our sights ahead of us, and we're very much looking forward to the developments and growth that spring will offer. That said, Happy New Year everyone! 2011 is bound to be a great one.

Warm Regards,
The CIMBA Staff

The following article is written by John Drake, a member of CIMBA's MBA Class of 2011. John is a graduate from Saint Louis University, where he held a major in Business Entrepreneurship with a focus in marketing. He comes from Evansville, IN, where he gained several years of experience in telecommunications expansion, as well as start-up business (under a 3 year medical internship). John decided to join the CIMBA family in order to enhance his leadership abilities, gain an international perspective on the business world, and further his education in the masters program.

"What are you thankful for?" is the question asked all of November leading up to Thanksgiving. Over the month, the MBA team experienced many things to be thankful for. With several companies presented for consulting groups, the MBA students are preparing to embark on several months of extensive research. Consulting groups are definitely something the MBA students are thankful for.


Another event the MBAs are thankful for was their first team coaching session, which brought in trials and tribulations as various issues were brought up and the team was allowed to share their opinions, now having lived with each other for two months.


The MBAs are very thankful that the business committee put together an amazing day at Villa Sandi where the process of making wine was explained, including a tour of the villa and fantastic wine cellar.  Obviously no wine tour is complete without a tasting and some time in the gift shop, where the students (reluctantly) made some purchases.

Happy Holidays from the CIMBA Class of 2011!

This, however, is not the end of the business committees ideas -- the MBAs are thankful that several other events were added to the calendar during November, including group speakers and a tour of Bretton Manufacturing.


What almost all of the MBAs are thankful for, however, is the sharing of the "brother" style mustache, where Hulk Hogan is recognized as a trendsetter in the American-Italian culture of facial manscaping.  This primarily consists of a mustache extending from the nose down to (and past) the chin.  This was a bonding experience for the gentlemen of the MBA program that will never be forgotten, and hopefully never repeated.


Last, but definitely not least, the MBAs are thankful for a Thanksgiving celebration in the Asolo campus. Attending were CIMBA staff, professors, and administration and included a catered meal of which mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberries, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cornbread with honey, and turkey (to name a few) were featured - and, to top the night off, an impromptu dance party celebrating Thanksgiving. Altogether, a Thanksgiving that could never be matched gave the MBAs something to be extremely thankful for.

Presentation on Change Management
The MBA business committee will host a presentation from Mr. Gregory Rump, Technical Operations Director at Honeywell, Europe, on change management. Gregory, a CIMBA alumn of class 1994,  will discuss some concepts and share his broad and diverse experiences. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

The presentation will be January 7 (a Friday)  at 6:30pm in the North Classroom of the MBA campus in Asolo.
All alumni are welcome and may bring friends! RSVP to is recommended as seating is limited.

CIMBA Undergraduate

The following article is written by Elizabeth Carpenter, a student at the CIMBA Undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa. Elizabeth is attending CIMBA through Furman University, where she is a junior majoring in Communications. With the rest of the undergraduates, Elizabeth left Paderno for home (and maybe a little bit more travel) earlier this month. We'll miss you, CIMBA Undergraduate Class of Fall 2011!

I have been told that in the entire history of the CIMBA program in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, I am the first student to truly enjoy the cafeteria food. As strange as it may seem, I have always liked cafeteria food more than the average person. My fondness started in the third grade at Ebenezer Elementary in Statesville, North Carolina. The kind and generous cafeteria ladies, the warm, gooey chocolate cookies, and the comfort of knowing that Friday always meant pizza made the cafeteria feel like an old reliable friend.

My bond with the cafeteria steadily increased until college when I realized that I could not live without it. With one swipe of my student ID card, the dining hall, or the "DH" at Furman University opened up a world of possibilities. A salad bar, fresh fruits, a waffle maker, deli sandwiches, a frozen yogurt machine, and cereal galore made the cafeteria a whole new dining experience. Despite my apprehension about living with a stranger and my uncertainty about the location of my classes, I knew I could depend on the dining hall for three solid meals. There were always three meals at the exact same time, at the exact same table.

So now, twelve years since the days of Ebenezer Elementary and five thousand miles from my beloved "DH," it is no surprise that I am fond of the cafeteria at the Istituti Filippin. Breakfast is my favorite meal because it is a smaller crowd. There is never a line, only the most dedicated cafeteria enthusiasts show up. Every morning it is like discovering an authentic restaurant that only locals know about.

Undergraduates enjoying their meals

As an avid coffee drinker at home in the United States, the first day I went to breakfast I only had one expectation: caffeine. Article continues here

A-B-C: Al's Book Club 

For more than 10 years, CIMBA has actively promoted the importance of express rational process tools as an integral and fundamental component of effective leadership, requiring all students to be proficient in Kepner Tregoe's Problem Solving and Decision Making technologies. Our initial insight evolved from seeing express rational process as a vehicle for making implicit process knowledge explicit, thereby improving group and organizational communication. In the absence of explicit rational process tools, a leader's thinking process is idiosyncratic to the leader (that is, it is implicit knowledge) and is thereby left to his or her followers to decipher or interpret it in their own ways. Later, we came to the realization that explicit rational process tools also served to both assist in overcoming the processing limits of the prefrontal cortex and increase performance within those limits. By
making thinking visible (for example, by expressing thoughts and ideas on a flipchart), individual group members are relieved from the demanding mental task of holding those thoughts and ideas in working memory, allowing the brain to reallocate scarce cognitive resources to far more productive creative or other higher-level thinking tasks. The third major insight grew from our observations that the use of express process tools served to significantly lower team member SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) impacts. If, as a consequence of having an explicit rational process in place, followers understand what information is important and how it is going to be used to resolve issues, then all brains can be directly engaged in the resolution process; brain resources will not, then, be unproductively allocated to the mental resolution of SCARF issues that will naturally arise when team and organizational processes are not explicit (for example, have you ever found yourself in a meeting where the objectives were unclear, the procedure for its resolution was unknown or unarticulated, and you felt too intimidated to ask? Or a meeting where the objective is "clear" but resolution is driven by another agenda?).


Our fourth major insight came at the NeuroLeadership Summit in Boston, an insight that, unbeknownst to us, was going to be particularly interesting and applicable to unrelated events that were to follow. At the Summit, we had the opportunity to meet two very interesting people: Dr. Sheena Iyengar (S.T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia University, whose book, The Art of Choosing, we are featuring this month) and Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett (Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, where she focuses on the study of emotion). Before turning to Dr. Iyengar, let me take a moment and discuss how Dr. Barrett provided a very interesting insight, our fourth major insight on the importance of explicit rational process tools.


To begin, it is important to note that we have been expanding our thinking on the CIMBA Knowledge, Process, Behavior developmental model after discovering its remarkable fit with the US military's Be-Know-Do model. While as members of the academic community we have placed Knowledge or Knowing first in our model, in reality we have always believed that the Behavior or Being component was unquestionably the most fundamental and most likely to define a leader's potential for success. This thinking is consistent with Be's express positioning in the military's leadership model.  I encourage you to take a look at Hesselbein and Shinseki's Be-Know-Do: Leadership the Army Way for lucid discussion of the various components). The Process or Doing component encompasses all processes and procedures the leader uses to produce results -- to make decisions, solve problems, anticipate problems, overcome obstacles, strengthen teamwork, and achieve objectives. In the words of Hesselbein and Shinseki, Doing (or, in our system, Process) encompasses everything that assists the leader in providing "purpose, direction, and motivation." Against this broader definition of Process or Doing, Dr. Barrett made us realize that a core or fundamental consequence of having explicit process was its implicit regulatory impact on team or organizational emotion. Providing teams and organizations with an express, mutually agreed upon process for issue resolution implicitly increases group member status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness (SCARF) thereby increasing overall organizational engagement. Without process, difficult decisions can be influenced by emotional contagion and all of the accompanying negative consequences that flow directly from SCARF impacts on precious organizational cognitive resources. Importantly, just as individuals who find themselves confronting stressful situations that take them into "red-zone" emotions, teams and organizations can be similarly diagnosed as being in a "red-zone" emotional state; both need tools and techniques to assist in emotional regulation in order to bring about consistent, predictable, productive issue resolution. Explicit process serves to control emotional contagion within teams and organizations.


At CIMBA, this important insight has caused us to broaden our definition of Process or Doing and to re-accentuate its importance. But it also raised another issue in serious need of addressing -- not only by CIMBA, but also by the entire leadership development community. In one form or another, virtually all issue resolution processes have both linear (consistent, systematic steps) and nonlinear (creative thinking needed to adjust the process to the unique context to which it is being applied) components. Gains in both emotional regulation and issue resolution are had as nonlinear component parts, become better understood, and are then explicated to become part of the linear component. Unfortunately, we are now beginning to also understand that much of the tested theory upon which some of our "linear" thinking has been based needs to be revisited. To explain, I would like to turn your attention first to an interesting article that appeared in the 16 November 2010 issue of NewScientist (although I may not agree with some of its politics, I find this weekly publication to be timely, quite readable, and very informative on a wide variety of research topics both inside and outside of our leadership development interest). In an article entitled "How Weird Are You? Oddball Minds of the Western World," the author (Laura Spinney) summarizes research from a variety of disciplines, all of which basically conclude that much of what we believe to be true about human psychology has been validated on the basis of research conducted on U.S. undergraduate students. As we make efforts to develop an effective leadership development system at CIMBA, it is very clear that responses from U.S. undergraduates differ from undergraduates from other countries on a wide variety of issues, to say nothing about differences between them and U.S. and foreign executives. In other words, in revisiting Process or Doing with the intend to expand it within our system, we are closely re-examining it and the research upon which it is based looking specifically for context and culture differences that may impact effectiveness and applicability.


This line of thinking brings us back to Dr. Iyengar's book, The Art of Choosing. MBA students may recall from their marketing class that she is the researcher responsible for the famous jam experiment at the luxury foods store in Menlo Park (for the rest of you, the discussion and implications of that experiment alone make the book worth reading). It is the context and cultural implications for process that she relates so very well in her book that has brought me to encourage you to take a look at it. Several of the research projects about which she writes have surprisingly important results and should form an integral part of the thinking as organizations begin to build and rebuild effective process.


To illustrate the cultural implications on process, I would like you to first consider an experiment she conducted with elementary school children in San Francisco's Japantown. From a SCARF standpoint, the experiment has strong Autonomy implications. In essence, the underlying process is a decision (I fully expect that at this moment in your reading of this column, full-time MBA students are reaching for their KT DA card -- am I correct?). She divided the students into two groups, with one group being comprised of children of Japanese or Chinese immigrants who spoke their parent's native language at home ("Asian" group). The other group was labeled the "Anglo American" group, and as the label would imply were more "typical" American elementary students.  Each of the two groups was further divided into three sub-groups. Three experiments were conducted, with each experiment being conducted by one subgroup from both the Anglo American group and the Asian group. The teacher began by showing each child six piles of word puzzles and six marking pens.  Each pile contained one category of anagram -- words about animals, food, the city of San Francisco, and other topics. Each marker was of a different color. Two of the subgroups  -- again, one from each of the two main groups -- were told to choose whichever category and marker they preferred.  Another two subgroups were told specifically by the teacher which category and which marker they were to use. With the final two subgroups, the teacher pretended to relay specific instructions from the child's mother as to which category and which marker they were to use.


The two ethnic groups reacted dramatically differently. The Anglo American children solved the most anagrams and played the longest when they picked their own markers and puzzles; the Asian children did best when they thought they were following their mother's wishes. As Dr. Iyengar points out, the Asian student preferences and their mother's wishes "were practically one and the same." In contrast to the Anglo children who viewed their mother's instructions as authoritative constraints, the Asian children felt that doing what they thought their mothers wanted was, in effect, their first choice. Interestingly, both groups reacted negatively to being told by the teacher which category and marker they were to use.


From a process point of view, the experiment clearly shows that culture matters.  The implications for process are obvious, as are the consequences of ignoring them. From a practical standpoint, revisiting existing processes to the extent they were developed without regard for cultural differences can generate surprises quite similar to the experiment above. Through other experiments and inquiries Dr. Iyengar provides important insights into research that makes it clear that in several important contexts we often habitually take action as opposed to consciously making a choice. In this sense, those habitual responses to situations are largely implicit and can be significantly influenced by emotion. The book provides compelling evidence of the importance of explicitly taking into account culture and context into Process or Doing within our leadership development systems.


Happy Holidays from all of us at CIMBA!