The first Italian institution of higher education to award a degree in economics, Bocconi was established as a private university in 1902 and is highly distinguished in the fields of management, economics, and law. With over 230 international partners worldwide, Bocconi actively engages in international collaborations with top-level institutions abroad, most recently establishing the World Bachelor in Business with the University of Southern California (USC) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Bocconi has also opened the Mumbai International School of Business Bocconi (MISB Bocconi) to offer programs with an elevated academic standard and strong international outlook to Indian postgraduate students.
Since Keio University entered into a comprehensive exchange agreement with Bocconi in October 2007, a total of 18 students from Keio and Bocconi have traveled between the institutions to study. Moreover, Keio joins Bocconi as an official member of CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education, in which leading business schools, multinational companies, and NGOs come together to offer a double degree with the CEMS Master's in International Management (MIM). Keio accepts one student from Bocconi as a part of the CEMS MIM programme in addition to the students on the aforementioned exchange. In 2014, Keio's Faculty and Graduate School of Economics and Bocconi University began a new double degree program.
Keio University also holds one of Bocconi's Campus Abroad Summer Programs. Held all over the world, these programs are unique in that 1-2 academic faculty members accompany a class of around 30 students to visit partner institutions around the world and hold intensive courses on their campuses. The host institution also provides some of the lectures, and local students may also participate in lectures and events in order to facilitate student exchange. This is Keio's fourth time to hold the summer school in Japan since 2007. This year's program ran from July 7-25, 2014.
Keio Global talked to Marika Nakada, a third-year at the Faculty of Policy Management, about her yearlong student exchange at Bocconi, where she studied from September 2013 to July 2014.
Why did you decide to study abroad?
Studying abroad was a given for me --I have been traveling the world on my own since I was in junior high school, constantly receiving inspiration and growing through daily life in other cultures.
Through my studies I realized the importance of manufacturing at the heart of an industry economy, so I threw myself into researching ways to put designers back at the center of the design process.
Why did you choose Bocconi?
I chose Bocconi University as I am interested in the Italian spirit of manufacturing and branding combined with their sense of style, which has a worldwide appeal. Fashion and business meet here in the city of Milan--a trendsetter for fashion and design and where innovative creators gather from all over the world. I expected this to be a source of motivation for my research and an opportunity gain new creative values.
Please tell us about a particularly memorable course you had at Bocconi.
I was able to delve deep into the center of the fashion industry in my "Management of Fashion Companies" course, where we learned about the definition of fashion and the idea of luxury, and went onto the history of "Made in Italy" and its branding, business models, and market segmentation using case studies, along with comparisons with other countries.
Please tell us about any similarities and differences between Bocconi and Keio that left an impression on you.
Bocconi was entirely different to what I was used to at SFC. Bocconi's school buildings, library and media facilities, the progression of lectures, and the Internet environment took some getting used to, especially after being at SFC. As for similarities, I felt the students at Bocconi and Keio had a lot in common.
How was daily life at Bocconi?
I lived by myself on the Corso di Porta Ticinese, one of Milano's foremost alternative fashion streets, which afforded me opportunities to encounter many people working in the fashion world, including designers, photographers, and company directors. It gave me the opportunity to gain first-hand experience, and I became good friends with many of them. It was inspiring to help them out with their work and I was even invited to shows and parties during Milan Fashion Week.
How did you interact with students at your host university?
Assignments included group work, so my classmates and I would often go out to cafes or Italian-style bars to chat after school and through this I forged many friendships. Bocconi also held many events for international students, so there were plenty of opportunities to make friends.
What have you gained from your study abroad?
There were difficult times, including those when I faced discrimination, but I was able to stay positive by abandoning conventional practices and stop caring about how I looked to other people. But more than anything, I gained irreplaceable and enduring friendships. I realized that even if certain cultures or ways of life may seem difficult to understand, there exists a multitude of lifestyles, mindsets, and perceptions. The world is made up of diversity.