(Original post by Cassavettes)
My Personal Experience at Bocconi University
A few words on my background
BSc Accounting and Finance from a top 5 University in the UK with a mid 2:1.
My GMAT: 670.
- MSc Finance Warwick
- MSc Finance Bocconi
- MSc Business and Economics with Finance as specialty SSE
- MSc in Management EM Lyon
My career goal: portfolio management in the UK
I have been studying at Bocconi for 5 months now.
Why did I choose Bocconi?
Well, I wanted to discover a new culture and a new environment. As a Frenchman who studied in England for 3years I decided to tick out both EM Lyon and Warwick from my list. So my choice pinned down to SSE or Bocconi.
On the face of it, both SSE and Bocconi programs were top-notch –even though SSE’s seemed a bit more theoretical. Moreover both schools had great reputation in the City.
So my decision was based on extra-curricular criteria:
- The possibility to do sport (Rugby in my case);
- To learn extra languages (at Bocconi, international students are required to take Italian and another language; I chose Portuguese);
- I thought of Milan as nicer, warmer and more vibrant a city than Stockholm.
What I have found
First, I want to mention that Bocconi has absolutely no international student culture whatsoever. We are a minority in the classrooms and they don’t really try to help us out. Take accommodation for instance. It is quite difficult to find any decent place in Milan. You can stay in one of Bocconi’s dorms but they are located far away from the uni (Arcobaleno for instance is miles away from Bocconi and Milan’s city centre) and are relatively expensive. Don’t expect any help from Bocconi’s administration; you’re left on your own. Now compare this with SSE’s international office that kept sending me accommodation offers as I was originally enrolled at SSE. Another issue that could be raised is that everything is in Italian from the sport association to additional classes (VBA, language courses like Russian). This is not so much a big deal for me as I’m French but keep it in mind if your understanding of Italian is weak (good luck to go through Italian red tape btw).
: As everywhere else, lecturers range from mediocre to great and I guess this is normal. However what is absolutely unacceptable is that some of them are uncomfortable teaching in English. Trust me the step is high between your bachelor and a Master in Finance and the last thing you want to be facing is to decipher what lecturers are saying.
In terms of workload, your weekly timetable is pretty heavy and you have many suggested/required readings. Don’t expect any seminars because there aren’t any. You need to be independent and work on the models on your own. Remember why I came here? Among other things to learn Portuguese, right? Well, forget about that, Portuguese is advertised as an option but is no longer taught; we train you to be independent… (For the record, Italian is only taught from the second term onwards, which barely makes sense)
: the library is a joke. It is well too small for the entire student body. In some part of it, you cannot even connect to Wi-Fi and it is outrageously noisy as people think it is normal to pick up their phones. Besides, you can’t find power sockets to plug your laptop in 2/3 of the library. There are few study places scattered across the campus but when exams show up, be ready to race to get a free spot.
If you thought that was bad, just wait for the computer rooms’ descriptions. Because computers are lagging crazily, you’re always sure to find one available but don’t expect the same thing for printers as there are very few of them around. So be patient and line up to print the next class handout.
: Bocconi is a solid brand name in the City, no doubt about it. Many students are interviewing for corporate or market positions despite having little relevant work experience. Then getting the job/internship is a matter of personal fit.
The career office is however not on par with those of schools like HEC Paris or St Gallen. For instance at HEC, there is a continuous flow of internships displayed on the school’s website and at St Gallen, campus recruitment is widespread and very well structured. At Bocconi, most internship/job offers are only advertised in Italian and Milan-based. There are possibilities to network but they are quite limited (try to network with 4 professionals when you have 100students attending a company’s presentation as it is the case in Banking Saturdays). This raises another issue: there are 200 students graduating every year with the same degree (160 take the English taught master the rest the Italian taught one) and they pretty much all dream to go away from Italy and to settle down in London: you like liberal markets, right?
: Maybe the most subjective part of my review. Well, they are nice people although extremely competitive. Those who study at Bocconi before are not very engaging and usually hang out with the friends they met during their undergrad so it’s difficult to bond. Some have a brown nose leaning, which I find utterly irritating but that isn’t the majority. They are ready to speak in Italian but less happy to do so in English. Ultimately you stick most of the time with internationals (maybe 25% of the students).
The city and extra-curricular activities
: Milan is simply the dullest city I’ve ever lived in. First, note that apart from the Duomo and couple other places, Milan is the black sheep of Italian cities as it is quite vile (if you want to make this fact straight, compare it with Bologna, Parma, Genoa, Venice, Verona, Torino just to name a few Italian cities surrounding Milan). Once you’re worn out museums, la Scala (Opera) and the aperetivo concept (8 euro drink that comes with a food buffet), Milan has nothing to offer. It is absolutely empty at night and very small.
Second, Remember why I came here? Among other things to play Rugby with Bocconi, right? Well, forget about that, rugby at Bocconi is advertised but the team never plays together as it has no coach and no pitch. At times, games are arranged but there aren’t so many of them (2-3 a year). If you absolutely want to practice sport (or to go to the gym), make sure you come with a medical certificate because if you do it in Lombardia, it costs 70euros for the GP to basically say that everything’s fine with you.
Consequently most people I know dream of one thing: to leave for an exchange (the list of school available is really not impressive and places are extremely limited; if your aim is to get to HEC PARIS through the double degree program, be advised there is one place for 160students).
Do I regret it? Not really because having Bocconi on my CV has considerably enhanced my chances to get interviews for internships. I believe that at the end of the day all that matters is to get the job that you want. Now, am I disappointed? Gosh yeah. No fun here, absolutely no value for money. Why would I recommend you to come and study at Bocconi? Well, if you actually like to study hard or if you get full scholarship (bear in mind that the scholarship covers one year of tuition only and is quite difficult to renew) I think Bocconi is a place you may consider, otherwise move on, honestly.
Sorry I was a bit lengthy at times but I thought it added value to give you a comprehensive description