Edward - Bocconi University

B Commerce/Business Management
Semester 2, 2018
My semester abroad in Milan has been the most memorable part of my studies so far!

Academic experience

During my semester abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, I studied 5 courses in both Finance and other fields. The subjects I took were Financial Markets and Institutions, Management of Financial Institutions, Corporate Finance, Strategic Management for Small and Medium Business Enterprise and Management of Fashion and Luxury Companies.

In order to secure a spot in your desired classes, it is important to sign on as soon as they become available. If you do miss out though, there is an add/drop period during the first week of classes and it may be possible to swap into your preferred class.

I found Bocconi classes to be highly enjoyable as it provided many opportunities to meet other exchange students. I would recommend taking Fashion and Luxury Management if possible, as it offers a glimpse into both Italian and Milanese culture. Also, the guest speakers in this course were very insightful, coming from Swarovski, Ray-Ban and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. 

From a Finance/Economics perspective, I found the classes to be a little easier than UQ. Especially when it came to the assessment. However, the standard of teaching was never compromised by this. 

The main academic challenge that I faced at Bocconi was the adjustment to no lecture recordings. In order to excel it was necessary to attend and make detailed notes from class discussions.

Personal experience

Exchanging to Milan provided many unique and life changing experiences, but above all, it was the people I met that really shaped my time abroad. I personally enjoyed meeting people from all around the world, every single day and being able to explore other parts of Milan and proximate parts of Europe with them. I found most other exchange students came from the US, Canada, Australia, UK and Singapore. 

During the beginning of the semester, I went on weekends away to the lakes just north of Milan, as well as the south of France, The Netherlands and Switzerland.

Accommodation

For my accomodation, I lived in a large apartment just opposite Bocconi, with four other exchange students. I personally enjoyed sharing with roommates, who were from Australia and Spain, we became great friends and it made my experience all the more memorable. 

For accomodation, I would recommend initially applying for the student housing that Bocconi offers, although keep in mind that it is limited and some residences are at quite a distance from Bocconi. 

If you are looking for an apartment, Bocconi has a list of websites with suitable accomodation for students, this is a great resource to use as some accomodation sites are not legitimate or trustworthy. Searching early on in the process is best as options may be limited closer to the start of the semester.

Costs

In terms of financials, Milan can be quite expensive, however there are always affordable options when it comes to daily expenses. For my accomodation, I spent $6000AUD approx. I spent around 120EUR on food weekly, I did eat out regularly and this could easily be reduced by eating at home. For travel on weekends, I found flights, trains and buses out of Milan to be quite affordable. Overall, I would budget for $20,000AUD for a comfortable experience.

Challenge

I found the biggest challenge during the experience was in the beginning, as there are many administrative requirements for the Visa. The documents were not in English and there were language barriers at the Visa Centre when lodging the documents. During this time however, Bocconi was extremely helpful, the International Student Desk helps to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

Professional Development

I think studying at Bocconi provides a professional edge, especially for Business/Finance and Economics students. It is currently ranked as the best business school in Continental Europe and 11th in the world. In addition to this, the exchange experience has provided me with a group of international peers, all with experience from different backgrounds, further opening my eyes to the opportunities that are available to us. Studying abroad will allow you to feel comfortable working with people from different countries and this is a quality that employers are in search of in any graduate.

Highlight

A particular standout for me was a weekend trip I went on to Nice, France at the end of Summer. I went with a group of friends I had made from Bocconi and it was thrilling to explore a foreign country with people my own age and to share this experience with them.

Top tips

A few main tips:
Attend Class - This is a great way to meet people and it won't take too much time out of your week. It will also make it much easier during exam time. 

Italian Language Crash Course - This is something that Bocconi offers before the first week of class, it is another great way to meet people and become familiar with the campus. 

ESN Events - In the beginning, attending events run by Erasmus will provide entertainment and yet another way to mingle with exchange students. 

Skyscanner - If you are looking to book spontaneous weekends away with your friends, this website is great for finding cheap flights and it will compare all the destinations that you can fly to from Milan.