CIMBA Newsletter
February 2012
In This Issue
Meet the Alumni
Alumni Updates
CIMBA Consulting Projects
CIMBA Undergraduate
ABC - Al's Book Club


Matthew Monaghan,  

MBA Class 1999  

Megan and Matthew Monaghan 

Megan and Matt Monaghan 


What was your experience like as CIMBA MBA student?

I was one of the very few married students when I joined CIMBA in 1999. My wife and I, along with our three-year-old daughter and our 4-month-old son, lived in an apartment overlooking the Centro Storico and Bahjat's Caf�. While I know I missed some of the after-hours team building and camaraderie shared by students living onsite, it was our unique situation that allowed us to become friends with the local people. We had our son baptized in Asolo's Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta and had the reception in the dining area of the CIMBA campus. A great mix of the local people came and got to visit the school for the first time.


How did living in Asolo impact your life then and also for the future?

I still think of Asolo in some ways as our kids' "home town." In the same way, I think of Asolo and the CIMBA experience as the starting point for my professional life.  The academic and experiential foundation I received at CIMBA gave me the confidence going forward to make sure that every career choice I made met the highest standards of life, quality, and intellectual gratification. If one can truly embrace life in a place like Asolo, settling for less in the future becomes much less of an option.  

My MBA consulting project, for example, was a particularly rewarding experience. My team's assignment was to create and implement a marketing strategy for a Venice based furniture designer. I enjoyed it so much that after I graduated, I worked for them in the company's catalog marketing department in Miami. It was a tough business with not a lot of money to show for it; however, the real-life entrepreneurial lessons learned from what started as a grad-school consulting project have proved invaluable.


Where did this experience lead you after you graduated?

Since then, I have worked mainly in the public sector and always had a strong interest in environmental policy. After completing an MPA in Environmental Science at Columbia University, I was hired as the assistant to the Chief Health Officer at the City of Phoenix Public Health Department.  I have managed an amazing series of projects from epidemiological disease tracking related to West Nile Virus to Anthrax Bio-terrorism preparedness and response. Ultimately I was recruited by a management-consulting firm specializing in government service in which I consulted to and recruited for a number of major municipalities/municipal agencies such as the City of San Francisco and the Port of Los Angeles.


You seem to have such an entrepreneurial spirit, how did CIMBA help you go forward in that?

Back in 1999, another young CIMBA entrepreneur named Dan Bradley and I started a continuous string of small start-up businesses. For years, we would dream up product ideas and web-based sales strategies for a variety of business models in our free time outside of the normal work hours. Some ideas worked and some didn't. But we did not give up until we ultimately found our muse and launched a personal care products company that was recently featured by well-known entrepreneurial guru and author of the phenomenally successful "4 Hour Work Week," Tim Ferris. Our company, Hewley (, is very successful now.  Three years ago, I made the decision to work full time for the company. We set up our headquarters in Aspen, Colorado and I haven't looked back.

Hence the saying, 'when you're holding a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.'


Please feel free to contact me anytime to share ideas or opportunities, or look me up if you are in Aspen -I could use some help and always love to see fellow CIMBAians!



Save the Date
On Saturday July 14, 2012, in Iowa City, we are planning an MBA Alumni meeting. Save the date!! Start planning for it!
It is going to be an opportunity to network and catch up with the members of the various classes. We are looking for class representatives to help us coordinate the event and contact classmates. Write to Cristina at [email protected].

Alumni Updates



Congratulations to Anna Fiumicetti, UG CIMBA Coordinator! She is the new proud mother of Dana Grace, weighing 3.2 kilos at birth.  Dana was born on Saturday, February 18th at 12.30pm.   




Lisa Woodruff Harvey, CIMBA Alumni from 2009, just started a new position as an Account Coordinator at JWT Action Marketing in Rogers, Arkansas. She will be working the Walmart account covering Kimberly-Clark Family Care products.


Audrey Stucky-Lobdell is an accounting financial analyst at Chevron in Houston. She is married and has a beautiful 9 month old daughter named Ailis Shaelyn Lobdell. She found inspiration for her name while she was traveling around Ireland when she was studying in Paderno Del Grappa. Thank you for the nice message! 



Meg Mrkonic of Overland Park, Kansas CIMBA class of '06 is engaged to Weston Buckley of Kansas City, Missouri.  Wedding will be held Saturday October 6th near Kansas City, MO. There will be many CIMBA Alums in attendance!


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 [email protected] and they will appear here the following month.
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Calendar of Events:
March 2012

Executive Programs 

March 2 to 4:

LIFE Leadership training, Italian Edition


March 9 and 10: Executive Certificate in International Management and Strategy, Operations Management and Supply Chain module with Prof. Kirk Karwan


March 24:  

Executive Trainings presentation,

please register at [email protected] to attend

MBA Program


March 10,11,17,18:  

Marketing module (Product and Pricing decisions)

With Professor John Murry


March 14: Finance Exam


March 24 and 25:  

Managerial Economics with Professor Daniel Benjamin


March 28: Marketing final exam


March 31 and April 1:  

New Venture (Ethics and the Law) with Professor Nancy Hausermann


Special Guest speakers

March 5: Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz

March 16: Dr. David Rock


Company Visit

March 13: Company Visit in Technogel



Past Issues

Dear ,  


Happy Spring this month!  We hope you are enjoying winter (or summer) wherever you are, and embracing the first few months of 2012. 


In this February issue, you will meet an amazing alumni entrepreneur who used the skills he developed from CIMBA and put them into action, an MBA grad who went out of her comfort zone in a way that has now empowered her to accomplish anything, an undergraduate Professor who had the unique opportunity to bring his own students here for 5 weeks in January, and you will be inspired with Dr. Al's Book Club reviews.


Don't forget to check out the calendar as to what lies ahead, and the updates on your fellow CIMBA alumni!  Mark your calendars for July 14th: the MBA graduation will be taking place in Iowa City, Iowa. We would love for you to be there!


Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.  Hope you had a great February month and until next time.....buona giornata!



The CIMBA Staff


You may have the universe if I may have Italy."

--Giuseppe Verdi  





Samantha Latty is a full time CIMBA MBA student who comes from Rhode Island and has an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. We interviewed her about her recent experience in LIFE.. on the other side of it.

You just took on the task of being a LIFE Assistant Trainer.  What was that experience like for you and why did you decide to do it?  
Growing up in a less than comfortable environment, as most of us do, I spent my childhood and adolescence searching for and treasuring every bit of comfort I could find. While this temporarily improved my quality of life in the short run, it was not conducive to self growth or long term satisfaction. LIFE displayed the power of getting outside my comfort zone to break restrictive mindsets, recognize true capabilities and grow in a way conducive to the development of long term fulfillment rather than immediate gratification. For this reason, when offered an opportunity to experience LIFE again, this time as an emotionless TA, I decided to accept the challenge. And let me tell you, as one of the most openly sentimental people my CIMBAmici will acknowledge they've ever met... it was a challenge.  


Looking at LIFE from the other side, how was it different from going through it as a LIFE participant?

I'm a true sap... a hugger, crier, smiler and googly-eyer. I find meaning everywhere and a beautiful Italian sunset can easily bring tears to my eyes. That being said, you can imagine how maintaining the stoic exterior required of a TA was challenging for me. Resisting the urge to express empathy was especially difficult. My natural tendency is to connect through emotion so remaining completely detached was tough. Despite these challenges, the experience as a whole was overwhelmingly rewarding. While the satisfaction I felt from showing myself I was capable of something so far outside of my comfort zone (or what was previously my comfort zone) was wonderful, the most rewarding aspects of the experience were the changes I saw in students and the feedback I received at the end. LIFE is what you make of it, and the opportunity to witness and hear from those who really made something of it was priceless. The students I had the honor of seeing go through LIFE and the trainers I had the honor of working with were truly amazing and created a wonderful experience that I'm grateful to have been a part of.  


Who would you recommend to go through LIFE and also be a LIFE assistant trainer?

I recommend CIMBA's Leadership Initiative for Excellence to anyone interested in learning how to get the most out of life, looking to improve themselves and/or leadership skills and of course, anyone who sees the value in spending time outside of their comfort zone.

CIMBA Consulting Projects


Every year the MBA full time students are involved in a real world consulting project, as an integral and required part of their MBA experience.

MBA students are divided into teams and assigned to a project: each team works directly with the company client under the direct supervision of experienced CIMBA consultants, professors and certified process and leadership development coaches.


This year there are 5 consulting projects: one is exploring the e-commerce opportunities and risks for Electrolux Appliances spa, global leader in electrical home appliances and appliances for professional use. Another project is a research for market and product opportunities outside Italy for a new raw material created by Lavetri srl, an Italian family owned company specialized in collecting and recycling of glass, plastic and aluminum. The third one is a study for the penetration in the South African market for two local companies exporting their products worldwide: Eureka which designs, produces and sells handles and shelf-holders; and Point, an innovative furniture company. The fourth one will be a creation of a business plan for TosinGraf, family owned company that produces post-production digital print materials. The business plan will help the company to step up from a domestic Italian producer to an international supplier of digital print equipment. Last, but not least, a group of students will explore the selling opportunities in the Indian market for Nardini, historical company currently managed by the 7th generation of the Nardini family that produces high-quality grappa and alcoholic drinks. 


With the support of GC&P, an international consulting firm with headquarters in Asolo, the five projects have been selected to compete in the challenge named Nord Best: the consulting projects will be evaluated by a committee made of CEOs, entrepreneurs and consultants to find the best project to help the internationalization of a North-Eastern Company. The students with the best project will earn a prize in money.


Since 1997, MBA students have completed more than 50 major projects involving more than 10 major industrial sectors on three different continents for a wide range of clients including privately-held firms, not-for-profits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs.


"The consulting projects" says Roy Pettibone, Director of CIMBA Office at the University of Iowa and MBA consulting projects coordinator "provide a laboratory for students to apply what they have learned in class to address real world opportunities. These companies have real-life problems and are looking for external expertise for solutions. Nothing is more "real" than the needs of the clients and the problems they face. Also, MBA students face many challenges while working on their Projects: working in international teams, adapting to teammate and client personalities, meeting deadlines under pressure, generating creative solutions, adapting classroom knowledge to real-life situations, balancing class room and client responsibilities make them grow both professionally and personally".


"Many of my classmates have noticed a definite difference in how they think, act and work compared to their coworkers with MBAs who went through a different program. They all comment about how much ahead they seem to be on many levels. Especially how important the interpersonal skills they developed at CIMBA are" says Derek Tellin, former student class 2011. "The consulting projects made it possible to practice many of the soft skills that CIMBA teaches, rather than just discussing them theoretically. For example, the ability to practice leadership as a leader and as a follower, being placed in a group with people who have very different personalities from each other, having to educate ourselves about the specific company, how they worked, what they did and familiarize ourselves with their specific terminology was tough but also great opportunity. This experience has had for sure a relevant impact on our mindset and will be very useful for our future career, even for those students that don't want to work in the consulting field".

CIMBA Undergraduate Program

Professor Tim Detwiler is from the Universiy of Delaware and has started a tradition at CIMBA of bringing a group of UD students here for a 5 week winter session course. His experience is quite unique and has added a lot of value to the CIMBA environment.  


So how long have you been taking a Delaware group to CIMBA and what made you get involved with this project?

I was introduced to CIMBA through my Fall 2008 sabbatical. My wife, Charlene Bunnell, and daughters Abbey and Emma came with me and we all fell in love with Italy. Charlene also taught the Fall of 2008 and Spring of 2009 at CIMBA. Abbey went through the LIFE program in the fall of 2008 and continued to help out as an assistant trainer in both the spring and fall 2009. Emma somehow endeared herself to the office staff and became a helpful fixture earning the title of "Office Ninja". She is now in her fourth semester in this position! Not bad for a 14 year old.

With this experience behind me, and the knowledge of the CIMBA program, I started a new five week Winter Session Program for University of Delaware students.  Our first week is spent in Volterra and Tuscany, and the remaining four weeks take place in Paderno del Grappa on the CIMBA campus.  UD has a long standing tradition of travel abroad programs during its five week winter sessions.  Last year, UD had programs which touched on every continent on the globe!  The Italy study abroad program was a success I am glad to say, and is now in its second year with a third year already planned and approved.


How exactly does the program work ?

The UD program consists of two classes (Intermediate Financial Management, and Business Culture and Society of Western Europe) which attempt to integrate European / Italian culture (both business and social) into these classes. The group is able to make several visits to companies in Italy and to learn about some of the differences and similarities which exist compared to doing business in the US. Students are also encouraged to travel and engage in cultural sites and events. The trip is split between Tuscany and the Veneto to allow students to see two very different regions of Italy.


How is CIMBA different from other month long programs and why do you recommend it?

The CIMBA program offers an excellent educational and cultural experience in a very a safe environment. Relatively close to transportation hubs, students can do day trips to cities such as Venice, Bologna, and Padova or overnight trips or weekends to virtually any city in Italy, or Europe for that matter. Students routinely travel to Rome, Milan, Florence and Siena as well as other cities in Spain or France.


What do you look forward to the most when coming here every year?

In addition to being in Italy and having all the wonders that it has to offer, I can honestly say that I always look forward to the great friends that I have made at CIMBA. Dr. Ringleb and Cristina Turchet have been amazing hosts and always make me feel like I am returning home. The staff and faculty have always been first rate and always interesting and stimulating. I also look forward to imparting my love and passion for Italy to my students. It's great to be able to share!


If you could take anything back home from here, what would it be (tangible or intangible)?

Ok, now you're getting personal! I think that I always take away with me a sense of needing to slow down and smell the roses! We seem to live at a hectic pace back in the US, and we miss much of the good that life offers. The Italians seem to have a better sense of the right proportion of work, recreation, and appreciation of their surroundings and what they have. I am not suggesting that we close down every day between 1 and 3 pm, or only work half a day on Wednesdays, but at least slow down a bit to enjoy what we have. I have heard it said that Americans live to work, and that Europeans, and maybe Italians in particular work to live. I will strive to find some middle ground for myself no matter how many times it takes me to come back to Italy! Ciao!

A-B-C's Al's Book Club


It is difficult to discuss Cathy Davidson's book Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn without first giving a warning that I may reveal an important "scene" in Prof. George Seidel's Negotiation class here at CIMBA. Several years ago, Prof. Seidel told students he would play a video of people tossing a basketball back and forth and asked everyone to keep a close count on the number of times the ball was passed person-to-person. In making an effort not to reveal in detail what occurs in hopes of preserving the experience for future MBA students (those of you who have had Prof. Seidel's class are hopefully enjoying a pleasant flashback), let's just say that the typical student does a reasonably good job of counting the number of passes. But in the process of so focusing their attention on counting the passes, their "attention blindness" causes them to completely miss a rather extraordinary event that takes place right in front of them on the video. Now you see it bookcoverExtraordinary. And they completely miss it. (Prof. Seidel would ask the class if anyone had seen anything "unusual" in the video; except in rare circumstances, the response is "No."). Most students feel a sense of embarrassment when they go back and see the video again. The realization that their attention could be so focused, so selective, that they would miss something so obviously unusual is quite provocative. Those of you with limited patience (we would say, limited self-regulatory ability) are encouraged to read some of the on-line reviews that detail the "extraordinary event" in the video - an event a focused viewer will not see. The video is actually at the core of interesting research on attention undertaken by two Harvard psychologists studying specifically "attention blindness," the notion at the very heart of Davidson's book.


Although her book provides glimpses of the brain's inner workings, it is not intended for ABC readers looking for a book on the latest insights into the neuroscience of attention (or of learning, her real theme in the book). In fact, many of Davidson's explanations can be oversimplified. Perhaps the best way to see the contribution of this book is to recall a prior ABC where we discussed some of the potential implications on the brain and brain development growing from the increased use of the Internet, personal communication technology, and social networking. In reality, Davidson's book is another play on this theme. Let's begin by gathering a common understanding of the term "attention."


Famed psychologist William James in his textbook Principles of Psychology (1890) stated: "Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction..." Psychologists, neuroscientists, and marketing consultants refer to attention as the mechanisms that enable adaptive behavior by selecting, integrating, and prioritizing competing internal and external demands on our cognitive and emotional systems. In this sense, attention involves different mechanisms implemented by separate, although interacting, brain networks: orienting, alertness, and executive control. In imposing some specificity, science has defined the "executive attention network" as being related to the control of goal directed behavior, including selection target detection, conflict resolution, inhibition all of proponent responses, and monitoring and error detection. More recently, attention has been defined as a process that selects some information and suppresses other information for the purpose of resolving competition. Competition can occur between stimuli or between tasks. Clinically, research on attention is having a significant impact on our understanding of the mechanisms governing self-regulation and how they contribute to several brain disorders, including ADHD and schizophrenia. In personal and leadership development, research on attention is assisting our understanding of self-regulation as it relates to neuroplasticity and the ability to form more productive and healthy habits. In contrast to just five short years ago, it is now quite common to hear leadership development coaches and facilitators reciting such phrases as "Attention changes the brain" and "Mindfulness improves attention and focus."


The issue of why, how much and to what people pay attention is often more referred to as selective attention. As has been shown through research, in any busy scene, it is nearly impossible to note everything going on. The video experience makes that very clear. What people pay attention to in these circumstances is what they select to pay attention to, a selection process that is not necessarily conscious. Selected attention can then be viewed as the process by which people find something upon which to place the focus of their attention, and the level of concentration they can continue to exert as distractions arise.


There are many theories as to why people select or why they have varying levels of selective attention. Some scientists argue that working memory can only hold so many thoughts at a time so the brain filters out what is deemed unnecessary or unimportant, usually without the person being aware of the ongoing filtering process. A number of theories assert neural function is very much involved. For instance, if two people in a room where call for someone else in the room at the same time, to whom would that person respond? The person with the more familiar voice, the louder voice, or as any wife will say, any voice but hers if it is her husband who is being called. The brain will automatically select which person gets the response, and they may not even realize another person has also called to them.


Drawing upon the fields of cognition and learning, the concept of selective attention it is an integral part of advertising. When marketing agencies put together an advertisement, they work to draw in people to pay attention to it. They will appeal to various age groups through the use of music, visual representations, video and other means tested as being the most likely to get noticed. Even though the advertisements are well-targeted, individual differences in reactions to the various distractions likely to be present in that individual's home when the television is on means that that some individuals will find the advertisement grabs their attention and others will not. Is this mix of responses to "extraordinary events" that grab our attention but not others attention that leads Davidson to suggest we reevaluate how we create learning environments. Can the shared collective attention lead to higher levels of learning then learning impeded by each individual's proclivity to "attention blindness?" In other words, why make learning based on the limited information to which an individual is able to place his or her attention?


It is an interesting proposition. While the book is filled with a number of interesting anecdotes that generate a number provocative insights, she is a little quick to prove her hypotheses on the basis of those anecdotes. Brain research continues to give us sometimes startlingly provocative insights into the way we conduct our lives. It is certainly opening up for reevaluation our ways of interacting with one another, whether in leadership or learning or loving. While it would be easy to be critical of this work because many of the hypothesis are either not supported by brain science or have not been proven by brain science. Still, it provides us with a glimpse of the potential that brain science provides in giving us the ability to make those evaluations which only a few short years ago would not have been possible.