Although Robert Sicina, an executive-in-residence at Kogod’s international business department, says he always saw himself as a college professor, it took a long time for him to find his way back to a campus.
Sicina spent 30 years in senior executive positions at Citibank, American Express, and various entrepreneurial endeavors, which took him to multiple destinations in Latin America, before he found his current home in Washington DC. Today he leads Kogod students on International Management Practice trips to the European Union, China and other destinations, where they can immerse themselves in the local business scene.
While he clearly understands the importance of this real-world experience to complement what is taught in the classroom, Sicina is also modest and says that the travel he facilitates can not compare with what students get right on campus from Kogod’s career academics.
“I’m a great believer that a sound foundation in theory is critical,” says Sicina, who attributes his own success in business to his strong conceptual foundation.
“I consider myself the salt and pepper,” he says. “I kick up the taste a little.”
Still, he encourages students to chase dreams rather than always taking the safe route, and says that executives will fare better working abroad if they accept that they cannot replicate their lives in the U.S.
And for all his modesty, he admits the international trips he leads are consistently ranked one of the most popular parts of a Kogod education.
“Of all the teaching I’ve done, I’ve gotten the most consistent feedback from these trips,” he says. “It is usually summed up in two words: awesome and amazing.”