Junior embraces new cultures, independence through CIMBA Italy Program

KU School of Business
4 min readMay 9, 2024
Olivia Hove

When Olivia Hove first began her journey at KU, she was studying journalism and political science. But during her sophomore year, the junior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, felt that business administration would be a better fit for her future and career goals.

“I’ve heard a lot about the business school, so it was really just the opportunities here,” Hove said. “It advertises a lot about all the opportunities, like supplemental instruction. The different disciplines within business and the way it allows me to get a feel for different aspects in the business world made it a better fit for me.”

Once she began taking classes, she found that the connections and networking opportunities were endless, and she decided to attend a Lunch and Learn for the CIMBA Italy Program presented by Global Business Studies (GBS). There, she heard from student panelists about their experiences and and saw their eagerness to share their stories, which convinced her to look into the program.

CIMBA is a four-week-long program that immerses students into Italian culture while taking classes like business, accounting, marketing and more. Students from more than 30 schools from around the U.S. partake in the program and can go in the spring, summer or fall semesters. KU has been working with CIMBA since 1999.

“A great thing about the business school is that people are always willing to talk about their experiences,” Hove said. “I was sold on CIMBA because because it allowed me to condense business core classes and catch up on my degree requirements. It was the perfect program to ease me into studying abroad since I had never been out of the country or traveled alone before.”

Located in small-town Pieve Del Grappa, Italy, Hove liked that the program provided her with a rural experience during the week while being able to easily travel on the weekends, giving her of what she called the “best of both worlds.”

The view from Hove’s dorm room during the CIMBA program.

Throughout her time in the program, Hove took the KU course-equivalent classes BUS 305 Business Writing and MGMT 310 Principles of Management, gaining six business credits in four weeks alongside students from 17 different U.S. universities.

While on the trip, Hove lived in a residence hall and attended classes Monday through Thursday, often taking field trips with her classmates; some of her favorites being to a roller coaster factory and a winery. After class she enjoyed exploring the town with friends and traveling around Europe on the weekends.

Hove (far right) with friends while studying abroad in Italy.

Hove says the study abroad experience was a huge independent journey that taught her how to navigate different challenges, as well as making her more open to global experiences.

“Studying abroad has taught me how to be open-minded and be a yes person,” Hove said. “I learned how to maximize my opportunities and my network through studying abroad, and I still keep in touch with the administrative staff from CIMBA.”

The experience has helped her stand out as a candidate applying for jobs after college, and she says it has been a large resume-builder.

“Getting to learn about different cultures is really important, especially as I look at jobs post grad; any distinction is great, and that study abroad experience is really great to have,” Hove said.

After having a global experience with a lasting impact, Hove was eager to share that with other students looking to do the same, leading her to become a peer advisor in KU’s Study Abroad & Global Engagement office (SAGE).

She says she didn’t realize how much of an impact the job would have on her, as it boosted her confidence in public speaking, allowed her to communicate with students and connected her with other academic areas.

“I wanted to be more involved because I felt that studying abroad was underrepresented compared to the business school,” Hove said. “I really wanted to work on outreach projects for students in other majors and really emphasize that students really do have so many opportunities.”

Apart from being a peer advisor, Hove is a member of the Sales Club, a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and the Global Awareness Program, which allows her to be involved in various events and connect with people in different majors.

Hove (middle right) with friends at a Gamma Phi Beta philanthropy event.

In five years, Hove says her biggest goal is to be working in a way that she genuinely enjoys, and to eventually run her own business with the skills she has learned at the business school.

“If the business school has taught me one thing, it’s about building your network,” Hove said. “If I could go back and give advice to my freshman self, I would tell her not to be so hard on herself and to not fear things she has failed at before because everything is worth a second try.”

By Lauryn Zebrowski

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KU School of Business

Stories about the students, alumni, faculty and staff of the University of Kansas School of Business.