My name is Wolfgang Wagner (25). I’m a student of the Master in Management program at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and currently studying as an exchange student at the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. My decision to go abroad at any given time during the Master program was made long before I started at Frankfurt School. Of course it is a matter of personal preference to stay or go, but to me this experience is essential in terms of learning a new language, discovering new cultures and gaining a different perspective on your everyday life back home. So when I was given the opportunity to go abroad, I seized it. For the past year I have been specializing in Strategy & Organizational Design. A focus, in which the professors, such as Prof. Nils Stieglitz, have given me a strong toolkit to help identify the right path for a company. Next to a detailed strategic analysis, a deep insight into the reality through hands-on discussions with the CEO of Merz Pharma, Mr. Philip Burchard and the former Hugo Boss CEO Mr. Claus-Dietrich Lahrs completed the package. During my free time I started reading literature that combined the fields of Capital Markets, Fundamental Analysis of Assets and Strategy. Topics that have interested me for a long time and that I wanted to deal with in my professional life. So when I learnt that Frankfurt School had a partnership with the Bocconi University, I saw the possibility to choose graduate finance courses, which Bocconi is well known for and would complement my academic portfolio. The courses I am taking right now are Investment Banking, Private Equity & Venture Capital, Quantitative Finance and Derivatives II, and Fair Value Accounting, Reporting and Valuation. Additionally I take Italian courses twice a week in the evening. Italians show appreciation towards foreigners, if they put some effort into learning their language. Even if it’s the simple things such as asking an employee at the supermarket “Scusi, cerco vaniglia” (Excuse me, I am looking for vanilla), understanding what you are asked by the cashier “Ciao, sacchetto?” (Hi, [do you need a] bag?) or the ability to answer on a crowded bus, if you are getting off at the next station (Scendere la prossima?). Yes, life in Milan is more hectic than compared to the rest of Italy. I was told that in Milan people are constantly running. Whereas people in the rest of the country walk. So if you want to blend in as a “real” Milanese, you got to keep up. However, Frankfurt can be quite busy as well for commuters, so I’d say I’m well prepared. I am frequently asked what studying at Bocconi is like and how I would compare it to Frankfurt School. First of all I should provide some numbers before going into detail. Bocconi has approx. 15.000 students whereas approx. 1.400 currently study at Frankfurt School. Bocconi is a public university and Frankfurt School is a private university. When making a comparison it is important to compare like with like. So since I did not participate in the Master of Finance program at FS, I cannot make that kind of comparison. What’s comparable are their philosophies of combining theory, new research insights and having top business leaders come to class in order to interact with the course. In my Investment Banking course there are two professors teaching. One is an excellent academic and the other usually works in London as a Partner of Goldman Sachs. Together they explain the processes of each IB segment in full detail. In some cases Investment Banks are invited to class in order to explain their area of expertise such as Société Générale for Debt Capital Markets.Quantitative Finance and Derivatives II is one of the most challenging and interesting courses to take as a graduate student at Bocconi. Arbitrage strategies, the pricing of options or the deviation of the Black-Scholes-Model from scratch are just some examples. It requires many hours of additional studying and reading in order to be successful. The other two courses I take, Private Equity and Fair Value, are taught by professors, who are additionally board members of corporations or leading members of international associations in their area of expertise. Both professors use a lot of empirical evidence and personal experience to support their teaching. When it comes to traveling the country, the train is a pretty convenient transportation. From Milan you can easily visit Turin, Genoa, Pisa, Rome or the lovely Lake Coma. So far I have been to Venice during carnival. If I had to describe Venice in one word, it would be “unreal”. It is truly one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in my life. And there are of course many more for me to discover. Impossible to be achieved in just 4 months time, which is why I must definitely come back to visit in order to continue my journey through “bella” Italia.