Isaak - Bocconi University

B Advanced Finance/Economics
Semester 2, 2018
I would say the experience was ‘molto buono’ (‘very good’)!

Academic experience

I spent Semester 2, 2018 at Bocconi focussing on finance-specific courses (including: venture and development capital, equity portfolio management and international project finance, corporate banking and corporate valuation). Bocconi brought its own set of different teaching strategies, perspectives and assessment methods which at first was a shock to the system, but once settled into the swing things, became the norm. The teaching professionals at Bocconi did not disappoint either, being taught by industry professionals who are prominent figures in the European financial markets was certainly a plus to the overall learning experience.

Personal experience

Milan is arguably one of the most central major cities in Europe, being in the centre of Europe allowed for a decent amount of weekend travel. I was fortune enough to travel to a handful of amazing countries whilst on exchange, some of which were very spontaneous (and cheap). The ability to see Europe from several different cultural perspectives will most certainly stick with me for a lifetime. I believe cultural awareness and adaptability is one for the major value-adds of my overall experience which I will be able to apply to future experiences.

Accommodation

I lived with a good mate (from UQ and in the same course) overseas which I believe played a huge roll in the ease of transition into Italian life. We shared a 2-bedroom AirBnB approximately 900 meters from campus which made the 8am classes a little less difficult. Our host (who was very accepting of our inability to speak fluent Italian) was also a great source of local knowledge and attended to any issues that may have occurred with the accommodation very promptly.

Costs

Unfortunately within the first few weeks of getting to Italy the Euro to Australian Dollar hit all-time lows. This forced a few adjustments to the budget, however, things were relatively cheap so long as you kept tabs on what was necessary and what wasn't. From a food perspective, basically, if you were to think of the traditional Italian diet (pasta, coffee, croissants, salad, etc.), all of these items were cheap in comparison to Australia. However, when trying to revert back to a typical Australian meal (in particular a steak, salmon, etc.) this generally came at a rather exuberant cost. Transport was 1.5 euros for 90 minutes of travel around the city (pretty standard), however, transport to and from the airport was on the pricey side. Calcio (soccer) games would generally come at a high cost - if not booked early - so I would recommend booking a month or so in advance if possible. Inter-Europe travel is very cheap in comparison to inter-state travel in Australia, however, I would highly recommend to try book 1 month in advance and take advantage of the ESN - Erasmus Student Network discounts.

Challenge

It was a challenge at first to adapt to a non-English speaking environment, but after a few weeks of living in Milan and learning the basics of the Italian language, life was easy. The people, the food and the culture were all major highlights of the trip which excelled all my expectations. From Dahlia Lab (the Merlo café of Bocconi) to La Fontanella (the Red Room of Milan) and of course the classroom, the ability to make yourself feel at home and adapt to the new environment, was not a challenge whatsoever.

Professional Development

I would say 3 most prevalent skills I developed were; 1. cultural awareness, 2. being able to adapt to new environments and tackle the issues that come with living amongst the native population and 3. learning the importance of language and how knowing another language can benefit you in many facets of life (outside of just travel).

Highlight

If not for anything else, I think the network of globally distributed students who I now call good friends is possibly the highlight of the trip. From the US, to England, Uruguay and everywhere in between – these people who no-doubt will become future leaders in the respective fields/countries I can now leverage from as sources of information for my future endeavours. This is an invaluable party of the experience and is most-certainly the key reason I would recommend anyone and everyone to take up the opportunity.

Top tips

Tips for future students going to Bocconi: 1. Love coffee - it is fuel of Italy, 2. be ready to embrace the awesome history and culture that has been around for many, many thousands of years, 3. Travel as much as possible - you're in Europe and 4. Become good mates with Angelo from Dahlia Lab (located next to Bocconi) - he is a great bloke and even better host.