CIMBA Newsletter
March  2014
Read ABC..
Neuroscience has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on thinking in a wide variety of disciplines. With our focus on leadership and personal development, understanding how the human brain functions through neuroscience has provided us with a wealth of insights into human behavior.


Eva & Maja Murko
MBA FT 2008 & MBA PT 2001 


Eva, please introduce yourself..

I am from Ljubljana and my initial  education and training was in medicine. I worked as a room doctor for a couple of years and am now working for the Slovene Ministry of Health in the sector for quality and organization. I was a Full-time student in the MBA class 2008.


Maja, please introduce yourself   
I am from Ljubljana, Slovenia, but the last seven years I have been living abroad.  I lived in Munich, Germany for three years and the last four years I have been enjoying the sun in Barcelona.  


Maja, what was your favorite moment in the CIMBA Program? Favorite class? 

One of the most memorable classes was with Prof. Shaftel, in Accounting class.  His approach to teaching basic accounting by having students play Monopoly for a few hours and then produce a balance sheet for all the transactions, was a fun way to learn accounting basics.

There were many others, but of course I remember the ones outside of classroom too. For example attending a baseball game in Kansas City, and eating the full rack of spare ribs in one sitting.  Remembering the feeling of the last day in Lawrence Kansas, at the last party when we realized that the program was over, that we had to go back to our homes and that we would not see each other again on regular basis in class. Realizing that after the summer holidays we did not have to drive to Asolo again, and that we would miss it.


Eva, you  were a full-time student. What about your favorite class or memories?
My favorite CIMBA class was human resource management taught by Prof. Milan Pagon. We were using a very interesting book by A. Falikowski with various exercises, some from the field of psychology, including the basics of transactional analysis. Since I am deeply interested in human relationships, the functioning of our brain and psychotherapy, this was the best class for me.

Another great memory and very interesting activity was the "high ropes"course. It was the first of many exercises that showed me the power of team work. A team, going in the same direction, can achieve just about anything, and of course I loved spending time with my classmates.


Eva, what was the impact of the program on your life/ career ?

It certain pushed me out of my comfort zone and greatly broadened my horizons!   


What about you Maja? 

As I was in the PT program, I was working during the week, having classes in either Ljubljana or Asolo during weekends. If I look back, I had no life for two years but it was worth every minute of it. My class was mixed with full time students from the USA and other countries. It was a great learning experience to work in groups of mixed nationalities, learning about cultural differences. It inspired my desire to work in a multicultural environment, although it took some more years for me to move abroad. 


What advise would you give to a current or perspective students?

Maja: Say yes to new experiences. Say yes to meeting new people and cultures, learn another language, taste new food. Do a gap year after you have done some years of working. Do not turn into a workaholic, because life is so much more. Travel. Learn how little things in life can make you happy. Don't stress over little things.

Keep in touch with people you meet on the way in your life.
It's a wonderful, unique program, so hang in there and give it your most right to the end.

What inspires you?

Eva: Happy, healthy and active people, with lots of laugh wrinkles. 

Maja: There are many things that inspire me. It can be a conversation with a complete stranger, a movie I have seen, talking to people who are completely different than me. I get great inspirations when I am traveling. Opening my mind to new things keeps me going. 


Eva and Maja... thank you both for playing with us in this interview and moreover for taking the time to come and visit us!  

Alumni Updates

On March 1 Josie Wilde, MBA class of 2006 got married to Tyson Marian. Congratulations, you both look stunning!
Another marriage is in the air!!
Scott Newton,former CIMBA employee and MBA alumnus of 2002 and Sara Simioni, ECIMS alumna of 2010,will get married on May 3rd in Rosą (VI).
We are so happy for you!   


Welcome to life this beautiful and supercute baby! His name is Leonardo and was born on January 16th.

Daddy Alessandro Faidutti, MBA class of 2009, and mommy Cristina are very proud of him! Congratulations guys! We wish you all the best!  


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.


Calendar of Events:
April 2014
April 5 and 6
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Professor Dennis Schrag
University of Iowa 


April 12 and 13

Ethics and the Law
Professor Nancy Housermann
University of Iowa


April 23

New Venture Development Exam 

April 11 and 12
ECIMS - Human Resources 
Professor Dominic Standish 
CIMBA - University of Iowa 

May 16 to 18
LIFE - English Edition  A few places are still available. To apply please contact CIMBA at 
April 12 

April 12 

2014 Italian CIMBA Alumni association meeting 


Quick Links 
CIMBA Website
Tippie School of Management
CIMBA Alumni Association
CIMBA Alumni on LinkedIn
Undergraduate Blogs
Contact Us/Feedback

Like us on Facebook
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Dear ,    


Another winter is officially over and our students are now enjoying a beautiful spring!   

We are excited for so many things going on in the CIMBA community: new additions to our leadership technologies, a CIMBA branding project, a global meeting of Italian Alumni, all as we prepare for the final weeks of our Spring semester.  

In this issue, you can read a wonderful story from Eva and Maja Murko, CIMBA Slovene alumnae, the undergraduate volunteering and service project to support the local cooperativa and as always the latest on what Dr. Al is reading.


Be sure to check out the calendar and alumni updates so you can see what is happening in the lives of your fellow CIMBA friends. In particular, if you are a local alumnus, please make sure to come and register for the CIMBA Alumni Association meeting on Saturday April 12! 


As always, keep us posted on your lives as well and follow us via facebook, linkedin, and twitter. We appreciate your support and we look forward to hearing from you.





Breakfast at dinner  





Undergraduate Students, enjoy a surprise " Breakfast at Dinner" 

Happy Spring!








CIMBA Spring 2014 Adventures!
UG Adventures on Monte Grappa 


CIMBA Special Events
Saturday, April 12th

On Saturday, April 12, the CIMBA Campus will be full of activities. In addition to our regular MBA and Executive Certificate classes we will be hosting two major events:



At 10:00AM there will be a presentation for perspective students of the MBA and the Executive Certificate Programs. This is a great opportunity to breathe the unique educational environment here at CIMBA by seeing the campus, talking to current and former students, and meeting with directors, faculty and staff. If you have friends and colleagues that you think may be interested, please click here for further details and registration.


At 10:30 am the 2014 CIMBA Alumni Association Meeting will be held. All Executive and MBA Alumni are invited to join us and help create the Association's vision for the future. The intent is to develop further opportunities to meet and network. Please join us and register here. 
CIMBA volunteer initiative offering students opportunities to volunteer in the local community at aNursing Home and Cooperativa.

CIMBA recognizes the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. This semester we have been extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to volunteer at several local organizations. Our undergraduate students have been volunteering at the on-campus elementary school, helping pre-school children learn English through interesting presentations about American holidays, growing up in the USA, and answering questions about which the Italian students were curious.  


We were fortunate to be invited to visit two nursing homes in Cavaso, where students were given a tour of the facilities and participated in singing activities and played cards with the elderly residents. The residents faces lit up when our students walked in and they were delighted to talk about their relatives in the USA and their experiences abroad. It was extremely rewarding to see them travel down memory lane and relive their adventurous youth.  


On top of it all we were also invited to engage in volunteer activities at Vita e Lavoro Cooperativa Sociale in Asolo where adults with special needs work on several projects including making gifts for celebrations. They were very happy to see us, get a chance to explain what they were doing, and to show off their knowledge of English. It was an amazing semester of volunteering and we can't wait to participate in more opportunities in this fall.


Raising Money for local Cooperativa:

A group of CIMBA MBA alumni and current staff have recently decided to come together to run for a cause and give to the local community. The CIMBA running team consists of Angelo Balest (MBA Class of 2005), Katiuscia Baggio (class of 2005), Chris Ancona (2011), and current MBA students and CLCs Mattie Clark, Kevin Zakorchemny, Chris Knudsen, and Nina Pagon. The group has committed to run the Venice Moonlight Half-Marathon on May 24th, 2014 in order to raise money for Cooperativa Vallorgana. The Cooperativa is a non-profit organization whose purpose it is to help adults with disabilities develop their potential and skill sets through a positive approach to manual labor, arts and crafts, socialization, and other activities. The Cooperativa is located just down the road from the CIMBA campus, in Castelcucco, Italy.


The team's goal is to raise €1,000 for the organization in order to support future projects and collaborative volunteer experiences for CIMBA students. If anyone is interested in joining the running team or supporting the cause, check out their fundraising website:


As you know, here at CIMBA were are always innovating and looking for the next tool that students and executives can use for self-discovery and personal development. Sometimes we feel that a specific tool would be useful but it does not exist so we take it upon ourselves to create it! is a CIMBA designed web service for those who know that feedback is critical to improvement.  You simply buy a code, select your feedback aspects, provide the code to your audience and their feedback is compiled into a useful anonymous report to help you improve.

Aboutmyspeech is now available for use by the public. If you  or your business have presentations or a speeches to deliver and want immediate feedback, this is the instrument!

Check out more information on Facebook or Linkedin
or visit 


On the CIMBA Impact
Maja Murko is a Slovene Alumna from the Part-time Class of 2001 (see Meet the Alumni column). A couple of weeks ago, Maja and her sister Eva came to visit Asolo and the new campus. She sent us this article

Maja and Eva Murk at Epoca

Just recently I did one of those trips going back to places you have been in your life some years ago that you'll never forget. Asolo is one of those for me. As both my sister Eva and I did the same CIMBA program, we took a weekend off from our daily routine and went on a road trip back to this cute little Italian town on the hills in theVeneto.


Asolo is still adorable. Sun was shining when we were sitting in Cafe Centrale, drinking our cappuccino on a Sunday morning. People were strolling up and down the two main streets, checking out the treasures at the antique market. Next we moved to Epoca on the corner, tasting delicious Bruschette and sipping Aperol Spritz. Bajhat,  the owner, remembered us when we entered the door. It had been 6 years for Eva and 13 years for me since our stay in Asolo, we were pleasantly surprised.

We learned that CIMBA is no longer residing in Asolo and that its campus is now in Paderno del Grappa. We decided to check it out and see if Prof. Ringleb and Cristina would be there, for old time's sake. We were lucky! It was great to see both of them again. As always, Prof. Ringleb impressed me in the half hour conversation we had in his office. I would do CIMBA all over again in a second.


I did my CIMBA MBA 13 years ago as a part time student. I was young, hungry for knowledge, and wanted to have a different study experience than that which was available in my university in Ljubljana. I was working at Adecco recruitment company during the days, studied at nights and went to classes in Italy during the weekend for two years. I graduated in July 2001 after a final month of hot summer and lectures in Lawrence Kansas. It still seems like yesterday. I still smell the classroom air, and dream about pizza, pasta, cappuccino and Aperol spritz. I still to this day vividly remember the graduation speech from my classmate Spela Trefalt - the F word... no, its not what you think, but the air stood still for a second in the room that day.(RIngleb: it was without question one of the very best speeches ever!)


Did I have any life during those two years? It all depends how you look at it.  I met wonderful people, professors, had some great parties. Of course I learned about management, marketing, globalization, finance, and did a Monopoly game to do my balance sheet in accounting class. But most of all, my CIMBA experience was a push to look at things differently, pushing my life out of my comfort zone.


After my CIMBA graduation my desire was to live abroad. But sometimes a person should wait for the right time. In 2006 an interesting offer knocked on my door. A woman I knew from an international Adecco program invited me to join in a start up in Munich. When an opportunity comes on a plate, you should grab it with both hands. I moved to Munich in March 2007 and worked at A.G.Johnsen start up company, doing recruitment and relocation project for two years. Then the  economic crisis made another turn of events in my life, I took a gap year and traveled around the globe for six months.  After many years focused on career and work I wanted to explore what else is out there. Not knowing what will happen with my life, I ended up in Barcelona taking some Spanish classes. As it happens, be careful what you wish for, because your dreams can become a reality.  At the end of 2009 I moved to Barcelona for a job at ESADE business school. Now I work as Program manager for CEMS MIM Master in Management program, after working with exchange students for the first three years. My job is different from the corporate world, but on the other hand... students are very interesting clients.


CIMBA did change my life. I met many interesting people and we still keep in touch. It pushed me to think with an open mind, pushed myself to combine time for working and studying at the same time, challenged me to work in multicultural environments with my classmates from different countries and many other things too numerous to mention.


The weekend in Asolo was short, but full of wonderful moments. I will be back!

A-B-C's: Al's Book Clubabc 

Neuroscience has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on thinking in a wide variety of disciplines. With our focus on leadership and personal development, understanding how the human brain functions through neuroscience has provided us with a wealth of insights into human behavior. Still, as practitioners we are making a discernible move away from the mere "descriptive" use of neuroscience (for example, using neuroscience explanations for behavior in addition to or instead of social science explanations) to more "prescriptive" uses (for example, using neuroscience findings to enhance intervention strategies intent on changing behavior). While the "descriptive" material available to the practitioner is quite extensive, reliable, data-driven "prescriptive" materials are sadly lacking. Certainly, some of this dearth in availability can be explained by the relative youthfulness of the discipline, and the fact that much academic research attention has been placed on ferreting out the underlying brain architecture. Realistically, effectively testing "prescriptive" behavior hypotheses will likely necessitate big data requirements, further prizing the creativity needed to develop those workable "prescriptive" interventions to be tested. To arouse the interest of practitioners, those interventions need to be focused on what it is going to take to assist an individual in becoming more productive, constructive, and creative.


In this specific regard, I would like you to consider Dr. Dan Siegel's book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. I can well imagine that many of you who follow this column on a regular basis are going to react with some surprise to what seems to be this month's focus, the "teenage" brain, as opposed to that of an executive. In response, let me first point out that Dr. Siegel's brain-of-interest is an adolescent brain between the ages of 12 and 24; clearly, the book overlaps very well with our undergraduate student development clients. Secondly, our large and growing database here at CIMBA includes both those undergraduates and a significant number of executives, both of whom have gone through the CIMBA Leadership Development System and adolescence. So it is not so remarkable that the issues these two groups face are very similar, something which does not escape the attention of Dr. Siegel: "The mind is shaped by changes in our relationships and in our brains throughout the lifespan." (At page 197).


In driving our attention towards Dr. Siegel's thinking, we are increasingly finding his insights parallel what we are seeing in our client groups. In the recent past, our principal encumbrance in fully grasping the relevancy of Dr. Siegel's works had been largely a matter of language compatibility. Given that this "prescriptive" space is largely unoccupied, and with the issues and their potential solutions combining and converging from a very wide, divergent group of disciplines, making terminology compatible can be challenging (not to mention Dr. Siegel's particular penchant for the use of acronyms). This minor issue aside, the contributions that Dr. Siegel's thinking is making to the "prescriptive" side of neuroscience applications cannot be ignored (I sincerely hope there is an up and coming "Organization Neuroscience" professor reading this column). Let's take a moment and consider how his thinking is impacting our activities here at CIMBA. I am confident that those of you who have had the privilege of being coached here will find this to be quite compelling.


In setting the stage, our thinking at CIMBA has been greatly assisted over the past year by insights gleaned from our ever-expanding database. Upon the notion that we are wired to be social, we believe that to manage the increasing demands of the human social environment, the brain evolved specialized circuitry to assist with social group adaptation: (1) Self-awareness, (2) Threat and Reward, (3) Social Awareness, and (4) Self-Regulation. With an adaptive failure in any one of these circuitries, an individual risks rejection from the social group and consequential social "death." Much of this required social group adaptation would be applicable to anyone making a social transition to a new social group, whether that individual was intent on being a follower or a leader (And thus this leader-follower distinction is of little concern to the neuroscience research community). However, a leader's responsibility is not only to adapt to the new social group (a follower's core responsibility), but additionally to adapt or mold the social group so that it can thrive, so it can be more successful. The ability for an individual -- leader or follower -- to make such adaptations is a function of something we call mental complexity. Within our core development system, mental complexity measures an individual's ability to effectively adapt to and manage social connections. The higher an individual's level of mental complexity, the more readily can that individual move purposefully in, between, and among social groups. It is a complex function of social, cognitive, and affective variables led by the individual's self-awareness, social awareness, and self-regulatory abilities. For a leader, it also involves being able to differentiate individuals within the social group on the basis of the relevancy of their behavior. The failure to distinguish relevancy from irrelevancy -- between more and less important social group members  -- may lead to following deceptive advice or conforming with the unproductive, unconstructive, or unhealthy attitudes or opinions of individuals less likely to move the group forward, and thus social group failure. Internally at CIMBA, we see this interpersonal neurobiological ability as defining an individual's Wisdom.


We have further observed that challenges to mental complexity are most often experienced or observed during periods of social transition - changes in current, important social connections. Obvious examples from a business leader's perspective would include taking a new job with managerial responsibilities or being promoted into the same; seemingly less obvious examples but equally as challenging in many cases would include a change in team membership (consider the inclusion of a new team member who then brings to bear both a different perspective and a strong personality) or a change in organizational leadership, both of which would involve important adaptations for affected leaders and followers. In our experience, the author who best explains both the what of this social transition notion ("descriptive") and, importantly, the how of going about addressing it ("prescriptive") is Dr. Dan Siegel. Dr. Siegel artfully exposes the depth and complexity of social transitions as he shows us the growth in mental complexity demanded of all members of a primary social group as a member goes through adolescence -- something to which we can all relate.


We have observed that many of the developmental issues facing adults in social transition are manifestations of survival behavior that arose during adolescent years but were never addressed. In fact, it is often frustration with a social transition that motivates most of our clients to seek our assistance. Dr. Siegel provides both anecdotal illustrations of this process based on his experience, and the research upon which his thinking is based (Our only disappointment is in the fact that he does not expressly cite that research, but which may be more in line with the expectations of his primary audience). From our perspective, this recognition of the importance of social transitions is not adequately addressed in a prescriptive sense in the practitioner literature. On a rough but meaningful basis of comparison, you will find that his concept of Mindsight - insight, empathy, and integration - parallels our notion of mental complexity (self-awareness, social awareness, and self-regulation). In an abundance of detail, he explains how we are varyingly and differentially impacted by members of our social groups, and particularly our primary social group. Those relationships build mental "models" the provide us with a schema to "anticipate what is happening next, how we should behave, and what emotions we will have, and how we filter our perceptions" (At page 141). Those "models become engaged automatically, without our awareness or intention" (At page 142) - something we refer to as System 1 thinking, with self-awareness providing a System 2 thinking modulation. Clearly, those "models" can work for and against your interests. "Our non-secure models of attachment reflect how we had to adapt to insecure relationships when we were younger. And these models of attachment persist throughout our lives. They are changeable, yes, but only if we come to understand them." (At page 148).


With specific regard to practitioners, the book is one of the very few that expressly separates description from prescription. After each major descriptive section, which are well developed through personal experience and the relevant science, Dr. Siegel provides a highly useful prescriptive section called Mindsight Tools. He repeatedly emphasizes the importance of building self-awareness (insight), social awareness (empathy), and self-regulation (integration) through a variety of mental exercises and a meaningful mindfulness practice. For example, with regard to social awareness we were pleased to see that several of the mental exercises we prescribe to our student/Coachees are endorsed by Dr. Siegel. He explains the effectiveness of using a television show with the sound turned off as a vehicle for improving an individual's ability to understand another's emotions. We were particularly pleased to see that he encourages turning on the sound if the language is unfamiliar to you in order to capture the tone of the person being observed (something our European location provides in abundance). He explains the practice and usefulness of mindfulness, providing several key insights into that practice our facilitators here have found to be quite useful (As simple as it sounds, if you find yourself drifting toward falling asleep during your mindfulness practice then open your eyes to stimulate your brain a little before returning to your practice). As strong believers in Dr. Siegel's Healthy-Mind Platter, we found his explanation and supporting discussion helpful: the "brain functions in a state-dependent way, meaning that while it is in a calm state, certain integrative [self-regulation] functions may work well and efficiently. But in other situations, those same functions may not work so well" (At page 101). Several of the coaches found his "Chaos or Rigidity" distinction of how an individual might recall a social stimuli triggering event to be quite useful in working with coachees: "Recall a time when your life became filled with chaos or rigidity. This may have been within some interaction with another person in which you felt the chaos of being flooded with emotion, like anger or sadness or fear.  Or it may have been a time of rigidity, in which some repeating thought kept at you without changing, or you felt yourself withdrawing from interactions with others." (At page 61).


While the book does provide meaningful confirmation of our "social transition" approach to personal development, its real strength is in the insights it provides with regard to effective intervention strategies. Social transitions are demanding, and into each new such transition we all carry the "strengths" that made survival possible in past social groups. As Dr. Siegel points out, those "strengths" might not have the intended affect in the new social group. Understanding how the brain functions, and how it functions to form our habitual patterns of behavior in adapting to our social groups, provides considerable direction on how to manage those transitions and develop the needed personal skills. Clearly, there is much to be learned from this book about the practical, "prescriptive" applications of neuroscience tools. This emphasis on the "prescriptive" is the direction the field of NeuroLeadership needs to take if it is to make its intended contributions to individual productivity, creativity, and well-being: