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Darla Moore School of Business

What could a double-degree in international business do for you?

June 3, 2019

A look at life and learning at Bocconi University in Milan

Let’s be honest: When you think “study abroad,” the type of experience that comes to mind is likely more on the “vacation” side of the spectrum than the “learning” side. While a purely vacation-style study abroad experience might be typical elsewhere, it’s certainly not what you’ll find in any of the Master of International Business Double-Degree programs offered through the Moore School.

Through one of these seven double-degree programs, you can study at one or more of the best business schools in the world and specialize in consultancy, design thinking and innovation, or best business practices in emerging market like China. The program is a life-changing experience of personal growth through which you can develop deep ties and extensive networks with future business leaders around the globe.

In Milan, Italy, Bocconi University thrives as one of the leading international management schools in the world. Each student who participates in the Moore School MIB Double-Degree program in Milan completes Bocconi’s Master of International Management program through cutting-edge courses, a global internship and a thesis.

“I’ve really loved all the classes I took in five years at the Moore School, and the teachings I have received from the professors in the MIB were priceless,” said Alex Asselin (B.S. ’17, MIB ’18). The French native is set to finish his Bocconi degree in July 2019.

“To me, earning degrees in both the U.S. and Europe means that I will be able to leverage my education on both continents if I decide to leave one to go work on the other,” he said. “Bocconi offered me immersion in a different culture from mine while still being close to home. It gave the chance to apply conceptual knowledge about working in foreign countries with foreign cultures that I learned in class in the first year of the MIB.”

Learning about international business from an alternate perspective is key when pursuing one of the double-degree programs, and fortunately, because of the international nature of the programs, it’s easy to do. That international aspect is exactly what fellow MIB candidate Kellie Johnson was hoping to find.

“I was looking specifically for an international business program for my graduate studies,” she said. “The combination of the Moore School’s reputation, the ability to spend a year abroad through a double-degree program, and the type of program all convinced me that the best place to continue my studies was the Moore School’s MIB program.”

MIB candidate Allison Spawr (B.S.’17, MIB ’18) agrees that after spending five years at the Moore School and nearly a year at Bocconi University, she feels equipped “to thrive in a diverse set of environments around the globe,” not just because of the coursework, but also because of the professors she’s been able to study under.

“All of the professors at the Moore School are extremely enthusiastic about helping students both in and outside of the classroom,” she said. “They encourage us to broaden our horizons about the types of career paths that are possible and offer guidance and encouragement to confidently speak up and engage in important conversations.”

At the end of the day, what makes learning abroad so valuable can’t be taught in a classroom. Building relationships, developing effective communication, increasing personal adaptability — these and other qualities are what make double-degree programs stand out. Kate Wilson (MIB ’18) has found that being able to combine her critical thinking skills with those “soft” skills like adaptability is what makes the international experience so worthwhile.

“It’s important to take the time to think through your decisions while being aware that the situation could end up differently than how you expect,” she said. “Being adaptable to these new and sometimes unexpected experiences is key to enjoying them and having successful outcomes. I think it’s a mindset you need to have, especially abroad, because there will undoubtedly be a lot of new experiences and cultural differences to encounter.”

After graduation, Asselin will be working as a junior strategy consultant for Roland Berger in Brussels, Belgium. Johnson hopes to work for an intergovernmental organization or international nonprofit, and Spawr plans to pursue economic development work with Latin American countries, while Wilson has plans to work internationally.

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