University Internationalization

Bocconi Has Been Networking for over 40 Years

, by Tomaso Eridani
The participation in international alliances and networks is a pillar of Bocconi's internationalization

Last April Bocconi hosted the Summit of U7+, the alliance of universities from around the world committed to addressing global challenges in coordination with the G7. It was one of the highlights of the university's enduring participation in a series of international alliances and networks, driven by a desire to expand international opportunities for students and faculty and to play an active and influential role in the global academic community.

“Since joining PIM in 1983, Partnership in International Management, the impetus for participation in these networks has been to foster the exchange of best practices, to offer students new formats and opportunities for international experiences, to facilitate collaboration among faculty and the emergence of joint research projects - all reinforcing our commitment to excellence and innovation,” explains Sonia Albertazzi, International Relations Director at Bocconi.

It all starts precisely with Bocconi's membership in PIM, a select network of universities and business schools in North and South America, Europe and Japan, to promote student exchanges and faculty collaborations. Membership gave Bocconi students access to a growing number of study abroad opportunities, well before the Erasmus Program was launched in 1987.

To date, there are 11 networks of which the university is a member or of which it helped found. Such is the case with CEMS - Global Alliance in Management Education, founded with HEC, ESADE and the University of Cologne in 1988 and which over the years has established itself as the primary network of its kind worldwide, now counting 33 schools on six continents, more than 70 corporate partners and eight social partners. Last week Bocconi hosted the annual CEMS Strategic Board Meeting with representatives of the schools and corporate partners meeting. Among the network's main activities is the CEMS Master in International Management. “CEMS represents a true global network, thus offering students a very diverse and stimulating environment,” says Massimo Magni, Academic Director for Bocconi of CEMS-MIM. “Particular strengths for students include direct contacts with multiple corporate partners, the opportunity to join an alumni network that has 20,000 members, all over the world and in prestigious positions, and the focus on training responsible managers.”

With the opening of the Law degree program in 1999, Bocconi expanded its networks beyond the boundaries of economics and management and in 2006 contributed to the birth of the Themis network, which today groups 12 of the best international law schools. The goal is to respond to the growing demand for business law professionals with international knowledge and expertise - offering students exchange periods and a certificate program in International and Business Law.

“Bocconi is committed to multilateralism, and participation in discussion tables is important to have an active and influential role in the global academic community, and beyond,” Albertazzi explains. “Membership in these networks is also important to further foster the promotion of diversity and inclusion of our community and campus, helping to create a multicultural academic environment that is open to dialogue.”

Particularly significant in this regard is Bocconi's involvement in the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) and the U7+ Alliance. For the former, the invitation to Bocconi to join the restricted community composed of the presidents of 29 of the world's top universities comes in 2017 from the World Economic Forum. The GULF on the one hand acts as a community dealing with relevant issues related to education and scientific development, and on the other as an advisory body providing intellectual guidance to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Two years later, in 2019, Bocconi joins the U7+ Alliance, the coalition of university presidents from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australia, dedicated to defining concrete and collective actions that universities can take to address global challenges. The alliance provides an opportunity for universities to engage as global actors, in coordination with government leaders from G7 countries and beyond, and to contribute to the challenges faced by the G7 summits. Founded in 2019, the U7+ Alliance now includes 54 universities from 19 countries on 6 continents.

And also in 2019, Bocconi is a founding member of CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences, one of the pilot consortia selected under the 'European Universities' project, funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ program, to promote European values and the competitiveness of the continent's higher education system. After a three-year pilot phase, the European Commission gave the green light to refinance the CIVICA alliance until 2026. The project sees an intensive series of academic and research activities aimed at students and faculty in the network, which now has 10 partners, of exchanges, collaborations and networking.

“The CIVICA alliance strengthens Bocconi's ties with other leading social science universities in Europe,” explains Alexandros Kentikelenis, coordinator for Bocconi of CIVICA activities aimed at Master's and PhD students. “Our students have access to courses on other campuses, our faculty can organize visits and research collaborations, and the entire Bocconi community benefits from increased cooperation and exchange with our partners.”

SDA Bocconi has also joined international networks over the years, such as EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development), the network that now has nearly 1,000 business schools and companies dedicated to the development and innovation of management education, and GNAM (Global Network for Advanced Management), which now gathers and connects 32 of the world's leading business schools.


Bocconi's full list of networks and alliances:

  • PIM - Partnership in International Management

  • CEMS - Global Alliance in Management Education

  • THEMIS - The International Legal Network of Excellence

  • CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences

  • EFMD - European Foundation for Management Development

  • GNAM - Global Network for Advanced Management

  • ETGN - European and Transnational Governance Network

  • GULF - Global University Leaders Forum

  • ALEUESS - Alliance of Leading European Universities in Economic & Social Sciences

  • APELIA - Asia-Pacific Europe Law Institutes Alliance

  • U7+ - Alliance of World Universities