Eileen Francesconi, a 2016 AUR graduate in Business Administration, returned to campus on March 7 to talk about her experiences at Bocconi University in Milan. Francesconi is in her first year of Bocconi’s two-year Master in Science in International Management.

“My plan was always to go to graduate school, but I wanted to stay in Italy and stay with a somewhat American system, and study in English” she said.

She told the classroom of students that AUR prepared her well for Bocconi, one of the top universities for economics, management and finance in the world. The skills she learned in the AUR classroom -- making presentations and team work – and the real work experience she gained with three student internships -- made the difference for her to get in and succeed in such a highly competitive atmosphere, she said.

And she is not the only one. 

Banu Develioglu (International Relations, 2015) is in her second year of Bocconi’s MS in Economics and Management in Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment. Other AUR graduates have completed Master’s certificate programs in SDA Bocconi, the graduate business school. Fabio Evola and Noelle Demers (both Business Administration, 2000) did the certificate in Fashion and Luxury Marketing and Evelin Hill (Archeology & Classics, 2015) did Arts Management and Administration.

Francesconi is also among a select group of students in the prestigious CEMS MIM dual-degree program, a partnership of top universities from around the world and leading multinational companies, offering a fast track to career success. In their second year, CEMS students spend one semester at Bocconi and one semester abroad at a top school. She will be going to the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University next fall.

“What’s really good at AUR is the internship program,” Eileen said, advising students to “take advantage of that. I don’t think Italian candidates have that at all. International ones might, so a lot of Germans have had internships, but definitely the larger percentage haven’t.”  

Francesconi, who majored in Business with a concentration in Economics and a minor in Art History at AUR, had internships in the Italian Parliament, a Roman museum, and the American Academy of Rome. In addition, after AUR, she did a one-year Disney internship at Epcot Center in Florida working in the Italian Pavilion, of course. (Her father is Italian and her mom, Kathleen Fitzsimmons is American – and also director of AUR’s Business Administration program).

One last bit of advice she told students: don’t underestimate the difficulty of the graduate entrance exam (GMAT or GRE). Take a month or two to prepare for it or invest in a prep course, she added.  

All in all, her transition to grad school and a new city was not as hard as she expected. “AUR prepares you to have fewer problems adapting to new environments or meeting new people and being open,” she said. “For skills in the classroom, AUR prepares you a lot for presentations and group projects. I have to say I feel more comfortable than most of my classmates speaking in front of a large group of people.”