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Bocconi 2 Fall 2010

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Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi” (Milan)
Name of student: Joakim Lindberg
MSc in Strategic Marketing Management
Exchange period: Fall 2010
1) Preparation and basic information
The preparation starts by finding the subjects you want to take at Bocconi. This
has to be approved by your faculty dean at BI. Be sure that you make enough
time to get the correct approvals both from the faculty dean and international
student desk at BI. After you have applied to Bocconi you will receive a welcome
package containing student ID and password, which you need in order to choose
from the selection of courses. So keep it safe and don’t loose it. They open up for
class sign up starting from August 1st until September 1st. It is based on the
principle “first come, first serve” so please be ready in the beginning of August to
start searching for subjects. Some of the courses will be empty really fast.
After you arrive in Milano you will also receive another welcome package from
the international student office containing more detailed information about the
school and Milano. The staff are really nice if you have questions and take time to
answer them. Also, you do not need any visa requirements during the semester
in Milano.
1.1 Housing
There are two options available in order to find a place to stay. You could either
stay at “Arcobaleno” which is a residence offered from the school, or you find a
place on your own. I would recommend you or join some other students to find a
place on your own. Since the student residence is far away (30-35 min) from the
school and expensive, the exchange students I got to know told me they would
not recommend people to live there. I found a place on my own together with
two other students from BI. If you consider finding a place on your own, you will
probably need a tax form called “Codice di Fiscale” in order to sign the contract.
How to get this form will be provided in the welcome package when you arrive in
Milano. But keep this form in mind. In addition, make sure just to read all
information you receive Bocconi thoroughly to avoid problems when you arrive.
Regarding my apartment, we paid EUR 530 each, excluding electricity and gas.
The apartment was only 10 minutes walking distance away from Bocconi. It is
not easy to find an apartment since the Italians have problems speaking English.
Therefore I recommend you to go to Milano a week before school starts to find a
place to live and meet the owners personally to try to talk to them. I lived at a
hostel while I was searching. At the end, I used an agent to find a place. We had to
pay the agent for a fee, which I think was around EUR 200-250.
1.2 Language course
I strongly recommend you to take the Italian language course, which starts in the
middle of August, approximately two weeks before school starts. We had our
first day of school at September 15th. The course last two weeks with lessons
every day, six hours a day, so it is quite intensive. Fortunately, the teacher we
had was really good so time was not a problem. Since Italians are not strong in
English, it is necessary to learn the basics. Also, I got a lot of friends during the
language course, people I hang out with for the rest of the semester.
1.3 General costs
The rent for an apartment is quite the same as in Oslo. Food and drinks on the
other hand is much cheaper than in Norway, both in the grocery store and at a
restaurant or bars. But even though it is cheaper, it will cost you a lot since you
will be eating out much more than in Oslo. So save some money before you leave!
2. The school
The school is different from BI, since Bocconi is divided into several buildings
and probably (As I had) you will have classes spread out between them. You will
quickly find out that it is not that hard to find the different classrooms. Since the
standard at BI is phenomenal, you will be a bit disappointed about some aspects
of the school. For instance, the library is small and quite noisy and there are no
Wi-Fi connection in there and lack of PC’s. Also, the different PC labs are
outdated and the printers are old and do not contain scanners. To sum up: The IT
facilities are way below the standards we are used to at BI. Instead, I used the
different Internet cafés near the school to print/scan things I needed for class.
These are not hard to find and are cheap.
The cantina is great with good food and coffee at cheap prices brought to you by
real baristas, but during lunch break it is really crowded! There exists many cafés
and bars around campus, so try to explore these options as well instead of
relying on cantina at school. Many local students go out and eat during lunch
break and you will find many good places to eat.
3. Subject description
In general regarding the classes, it is unfortunately a lot of noise from the Italian
students during class, which after a while is annoying and make it hard to pay
attention to what the teacher talks about. They show little respect for the
professors. So be aware of this. The classrooms are quite good and have high
standard. In the opposite from BI, you have the possibility to take the course as
“non-attending student” if you prefer that. The professors I had were really good
in English.
Also, in both of my written exams, the teacher showed up 15-20 minutes late
after the exam started. So don’t be afraid if they don’t show up at time when you
also have exams. As I witnessed, this is quite a common phenomenon.
20157 – Technology and Innovation Strategy:
If you have had some strategy courses at BI, most of the aspects will be familiar
and they use much time on basic strategy model. However, the teacher was really
good and offered me some insights on combining technology with strategy
related theory. The professor we had is highly respectable and a well-known
international professor. We had many guest lectures from the biggest companies
in Italy and we also visited a company during the semester. The exam was one
and a half hour and we had two individual assignments during the semester.
20292 – Innovation in Services:
This course was not that good in the first part of the semester and it was no good
structure. But in the second part of the course, we had an American professor
(Guest lecture) named Anthony di Benedetto, which is really famous for
innovation and development. He was an outstanding professor, which made this
course really good! The exam had two parts, one semester project in teams and
an individual paper of 10 pages, each part counting for 50 % of the grade.
20307 – Industrial Marketing:
This is the strangest course I had during my semester. I attended an Italian
master program, which had this course in English as a mandatory subject.
Basically, I attended a class that was not good in English at all. The workload was
not as much as you are used to in Norway, since the Italian students had trouble
reading English articles and struggled to contribute in class due to the fact that
many of them did not speak English. Since 40 % of the grade was counted on
contribution in class, many of the Italian students could speak Italian in class,
whereas the teacher translated back to English again. Sometimes that was
annoying. But the teacher was really good and many of the articles and
discussions through the semester made the subject valuable. The exam was
divided in three: 40 % was based on class discussion and an oral presentation,
30 % was based on a project paper and the rest was a one hour written exam.
3. Social life and practical information about Milan
The social life is really good, and the city offers something for everyone. The
international student association (ERASMUS) offers parties at clubs almost every
day of the week for the whole semester! There are a lot of good clubs, bars and
places to eat. I would recommend going to Old Fashion, Carma, Just Cavalli and
Le Banque if you were interested in partying. In general, you pay EUR 10 to get in
to the club and then you have two free drinks of your choice. So it is not
expensive. The drinks are also really strong! Or else there are a lot of clubs and
bars around in the city.
What's more, you should definitely visit an area called “Navilji” were the offer a
concept called “Aperitivo”. Basically, you pay between 7-9 EUR for any kind of a
drink and then you can eat as much as you want from a huge buffet. It is a
typically “after work” event where I met my friends a lot after school or as a preparty. You will find “aperitivo” all over the city, but “Navilji” and “Brera” are the
two most famous places to get a good meal of this sort.
Milan also offers some impressive architecture like the Doumo (Which is a
fantastic church) and it also residence the “Last Supper” of Leonardo da Vinci. I
would recommend you to book tickets to see the picture, which is located in
Santa Marie Delle Grazie-church in Milan. It costs EUR 4 or something and have
to be booked in advance. And if your mission is to shop, Milan has a plethora of
Milan is a great city to travel from, since the city is centrally placed close to other
cities. The trains can take you to Venice (two hours trip), Parma, Florence, Pisa,
Genoa, Cinque Terre, the Alpes, Lake Como/Garda/Maggiore and so on. In the
middle of the semester, the students have midterms, but I did not have any
midterms (which lasts for almost two weeks) so I travelled and explored the city
Transportation in Milan is really cheap and the transportation system is easy to
understand. A standard metro ticket costs one euro and a monthly student card
costs EUR 17 (EUR 27 the first month, because you have to pay for the student
card). I did not buy the student card because I lived so close to school and Navilji
area. All my friends also lived close to Bocconi, so in general I didn’t use the
metro more than 17 times in a month. So if I had to travel far from my apartment
I just bought a standard ticket.
For any further questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with me. My contact
details are:
[email protected]
Good luck and enjoy Milan, the city is great! It is going to be one of your best
experience and you will no regret it!
Best regards from
Joakim Lindberg
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