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Students from UI's International MBA Program Receive Degrees

Saturday's graduates weren't just a group of individual students who made it to the same point at the same time, the class speaker said.

After living together and studying together for months in Italy, "this is a team," James DiGiuseppe said about his fellow graduates from the Consortium Institute for Management and Business Analysis program who earned their Master of Business Administration degrees Saturday from The University of Iowa. Graduates of the CIMBA executive program in international management also earned their degrees Saturday.

Using the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling" as the connecting thread for his speech, DiGiuseppe said he knew how hard it was for some of his fellow classmates to step outside their comfort zone but said the experience helped them realize how strong they really are.

"I gotta feeling this class has redefined success," he said.

Naming each of his 23 MBA classmates "as we say arrivederci," DiGiuseppe encouraged them to "go now and make a difference."

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so be mindful; pay attention," he said.

Antonio Jimenez Dorigo, 46, of Italy completed the two-year, part-time MBA program through CIMBA. Almost every weekend, the program required eight hours of study on both Saturday and Sunday, he said.

"It's very tough," Dorigo said. "You basically work during the week and go to class on Saturday and Sunday."

It was worth the work, he said, to earn his MBA.

"To me, it's a very important step in my career, trying to move on and improve," he said. "I think many companies appreciate that."

For the last month of study and final course, the students came to the degree-granting institution, The University of Iowa.

Dorigo said Iowa City is "a wonderful city, very nice."

Spending the final month here helped Dorigo "get the feeling of the alma mater for this program," he said. "Otherwise, it would have been too distant."

Living and studying together in an old Italian monastery, "we're like the Italian version of 'The Real World,'" MBA graduate Sara Treadwell said.

Treadwell said her experience in the program was "bittersweet."

"You know the entire time it's coming to an end," she said.

Keynote speaker Marek Hovorka, who earned his CIMBA MBA in 1995, said the program "really was a life-changing experience." Hovorka is general manager and CEO of Delta Trade Ltd., a consumer finance company in Vietnam.

Hovorka encouraged the graduates to "do what you like."

"It might sound very simple, but it's not," he said. "By doing what you like, you inevitably do what you are good at."

He also stressed the importance of impact. One of the reasons Hovorka said he left two previous positions was because he didn't like the amount of travel he had to do and he didn't think he was "delivering enough impact."

"Contribution, no doubt, is very rewarding," he made. "People like people who make impact."

CIMBA is a subset of the Consortium of Universities for International Studies. The first MBA class graduated in 1991, with Clemson University as the degree-granting institution. The University of Iowa became the home for the CIMBA program in 2008.

Writer: Rachel Gallegos

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