Milan’s MBA powerhouse trains sights on alumni in London

Private, entrepreneurial Bocconi University sets ambitious €120m fundraising target at glitzy global forum

April 16, 2015

Source: Bocconi Alumni Association

Mario Monti took part in the forum

Italy’s highest-ranked business school has launched a major fund-raising campaign intended to “advance the frontiers of knowledge in the social sciences”, position its programmes of study “at the cutting edge of knowledge” and enhance its campus in Milan.

Bocconi University, said Stefano Caselli, vice-rector for international affairs, is “proudly Italian, but private, independent and founded by an entrepreneur – really a unique combination”.

It now has some 14,000 students in economics, law and most areas of business and management, and plans to expand into political science. It is also highly research-active and currently the largest recipient of grants from the European Research Council in economics, finance and management.

Bocconi has already been successful in securing funding for chairs and associated conference programmes from companies such as the French investment bank AXA, Deutsche Bank and EY (formerly Ernst and Young) in cooperation with the Italian Association of Family Firms.

However, it has been far less successful at raising money from alumni, a practice that is not common in continental Europe and until recently was almost unknown in Italy.

Since so many of its graduates go into merchant banking, London seemed a natural choice as the venue for last month’s glitzy, high-powered third annual Bocconi Alumni Global Conference, at which the institution launched a campaign to raise €120 million (£88 million) by 2020.

It hopes to use the funds for a strategic plan focused on international recruitment of the best students and faculty, “international exposure of students” and “international placement of graduates”.

The conference, at the London Hilton on Park Lane, featured sessions on leadership, global competition, finance and growth,“restarting the European growth engine” and “UK: leaving Europe or pushing it to become a real union?”

All featured prominent business leaders and politicians, and the last took the form of a discussion between Mario Monti, Bocconi’s president and the former prime minister of Italy, and Lord Mandelson, the Labour former Cabinet minister.

“We have quite a large community of alumni in London,” the rector, Andrea Sironi, told Times Higher Education. Events such as the alumni conference are “important for networking, making clear we are looking after them, updating them on university projects and results, creating a sense of belonging”, he said.

Tuition fees at Bocconi are several thousand euros a year for its bachelor’s and master’s programmes, but Professor Caselli noted that the university has already invested €25 million a year in merit awards “to recognise people with incredible CVs, no matter what background” and tuition waivers for “students who are super-skilled but don’t have the money”.

It is in areas such as these that Bocconi hopes to persuade alumni to “give something back”, he said.

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips