A semester at LUISS Guido Carli Rome, Italy Jonas Myrman Grundell Master student, Management studies Stockholm University School of Business WHEN I FIRST visited Rome I was 13 years old traveling with my family. I had never encountered such a mess before. People shouting, cars honking; the smell of diesel, ice cream and sweat. The noble buildings and well-dressed people in seemingly perfect harmony with the little pickpocketing girls living in one of many camps scattered even in the central parts of the city. I am now some years older than 13 and knew that I did not wait to get back to Rome during my Management Studies master’s program at Stockholm University; Rome stared at me, shouted at me: ehi! ragazzo mio, torna subito! I started telling my friends of this. It turned out I had friends in common with a Roman couple here in Stockholm. The husband’s grandmother had an empty apartment in the residential area of Collina Fleming, a stone’s throw off cozy Ponte Milvio and a twenty minute bus ride away from LUISS at Viale Romania in the heart of the Parioli. Rome had changed – rumor has it an unholy alliance between Berlusconi and Kaddafi cleansed the streets – or perhaps I merely see things differently now. As a soft start to my exploration of Rome I found that the small town of Perugia offered four week courses in Italian. I couldn’t resist. In the center of town there is a square which makes a phone useless. You just go there and hang out with your classmates and practice your first Italian sentences while sipping a wonderful Umbrian wine from a plastic cup. These were days of intense Italian studies and a social life bursting with joy. I made many good friends from across Europe during this vibrant 39 degree August of 2013 in Perugia. Taking a train in Italy is an inexpensive and to me very delightful experience. Everyone is up for a chat and you get to see, hear, smell and participate in the Italian life in the midst of beautiful landscapes while reaching your destination, in my case Rome. Going to the seaside is easy, water worth swimming in until October I WAS ONCE AGAIN exasperated by the enormous and frequent social events, this time arranged by the ESN of LUISS. Aperitivi, art tours, wine festivals, night clubs, city tours, bus trips, more arts and architecture… during my first month in Rome I used to fall asleep at eight thirty in the evening, if I had the rare experience of being at home in the evening at all. The courses I took – International Business, International Marketing and Digital Marketing – were mostly of the hands-on practical sort so I did not need to spend much time on conventional studies. It was all about group work, field studies, nice presentations, collecting data, drawing diagrams… I dearly recommend the Marketing department of LUISS. It is no wonder Confindustria are the founders and board of LUISS Guido Carli, they know which solutions a crisis ridden Italian business world is looking for. Due to my interest and skill within languages I was put in the most advanced group during my studies in Perugia. I had taken the summer beginner’s course at Stockholm University during a month in 2012 (recommended course by Paolo Sancini and Maria Tikka) and was placed among people who had been studying Italian for 5 or 10 years. When choosing courses at LUISS I was for this reason disappointed to see that no proper Marketing courses at Master level were held in Italian. I therefore chose courses in English and did not improve my language skills as planned. My goal was to be able to speak to people on any familiar topic anytime without pauses or stutter. This is not the case. I am still B2 level, write Emails with ease, speak to Italian friends and saw Il deserto rosso and La mafia uccide solo d’estate recently with no problem, not more than that. I therefore felt towards the end of my stay in Rome that maybe staying with an Italian family would have been better for my language development. But, who knows? After all I did not get a serious impression from the student accommodation service CTS in Italy. Eventually I realized the service may function well after all; although I never used it I had the pleasure of having an ice cream with my would-have-been landlord. He told me an ice cream in Rome contains all the things you need for a healthy diet and thus never eats the ordinary meal anymore. Living in Rome is a buzz if you, like me, are open to the unexpected encounter interfering with and enhancing your everyday life. The whole city is a temperate living room in the autumn. A bus ride easily turns into a nice conversation or two. If too tired to engage in this, there are always a thousand stories to overhear. Romans do not look for an excuse not to say hello to a friend, they look for an excuse to talk for thirty minutes to people they never met before. In Rome there are more friendly people, good food and breathtaking art than any human being could ever digest. However, don’t expect a totally crazy nightlife. The downtown clubs are like Stureplan but friendlier. The underground clubs in the outskirts are better, but still similar to of the ones you would find in the industrial zones of Stockholm. La mafia uccide solo d’estate During my time in Rome I had the privilege of making good friends with a number of Italian students. They are just as nice as you thought. I was invited to all kinds of events, from the casual coffee to excursions by train and car to the surrounding villages and towns of Viterbo, Bagnoregio, Marino, Ostia and Gaeta. Golden rule when in Italy: never say no to an invite and never leave a coffee break or a party in advance, as this even more than in Sweden gives the impression of being bored by the company, being boring, or just thinking you are too important to hang out among the ones you’re with. This many times means coffee breaks of one hour, before work has even commenced, and going to bed at 6 in the morning after going out. Be patient and have fun or don’t get invited again. Regarding my communication to LUISS administrators and professors I was always happy with the ease of getting answers or recommendations to other people or organizations to turn to. The info sheets and emails that LUISS sent out during the initial phase of registering were however often blurry and containing overlapping information. I kept my head cool and thought, if I find these sheets too confusing, Italy is not my country. The political system of Italy is one of the most expensive and one of Europe’s least functioning, the legal system one of the most overly bureaucratic in the Western world. There is a reason so few people care, and there is a reason LUISS felt to me and my fellow students like an isle in the sea. High walls and armed guards made sure no water flooded in. Bagnoregio – the dying village Rome is a treasure for anyone interested in the history of the human being. Benito Mussolini’s name to the left, Raffaello Sanzio detail to the right Living and living costs in Rome My total spending during my time in Rome per month was the same as it is in Stockholm. Rents and groceries in Rome are the same as here, petrol and electricity more expensive than here. The monthly public transport card costs only 35 euro, but since you will have to take a taxi more often due to cancelled buses or underdeveloped transport routes the total ends up the same as here, roughly a 80 euro transport cost a month. Taxis cost about the half as in Stockholm, but Rome is a big city with a bad congestion situation so you might end up with the same bill either way. Clubbing is less costly but no dramatic difference; cheap wine is cheaper, good wine the same. Only thing that always is a bargain, even though the quality is world class, is a coffee and a pastry. No matter if you are in the poshest part of town, a cup of coffee fresh from the machine served in a wonderful Roman bar costs only 80 cents, with a fresh baked pastry you still spend less than 2 euro. Heartwarming and energizing chats with barista and other guests included in price. With my 700 euro rent I spent a total of 1200 euro a month. New Year’s Eve What I learnt at LUISS Guido Carli My greatest areas of development due to my studies at LUISS in Rome are to do with the practical sides of marketing. Professors like Matteo De Angelis and Maximo Ibarra made sure my confidence grew and believed in my ideas no matter where I got them from. At LUISS the aim of studying is to get a job, research and academic life seems to come second. The projects I participated in on companies such as LEGO (toys) and Metrans (rail transport) were therefore carried out as if I were a consultant, which is in direct opposite to the rules and philosophy of SUSB Master Programs. In fact, we were not asked to even provide references in any of the courses I chose. The progress all lay in acquiring the capability of analyzing a real life business issue, compare it to other issues, and write a report and make a presentation out of it. Bicycle mafia on their way to get some lunch revenues, using LUISS Bicycle and Helmet Share System. LUISS Exchange Office and schoolyard in the background. From the left: Miso Luptak, John Buccoliero, Diana Rossi, Alessandro Catalano, me, Sofia Scoglio, Lorenzo Lanaro De Vito Ancora non so come ringraziarvi. Comunque, grazie di cuore! On the personal side I feel a deep sense of gratitude towards everyone who helped me pursue my stay in Rome and everyone whom I shared great moments with during my stay and studies. Although I knew there is a lot of love in the world I would say that my four months in Rome is my ultimate proof. To be saluted with a smile in the morning by a senior professor, to hear Gabriela and Alessandro cheer my name from the other end of the campus canteen, to be invited to amazing trips inside and outside Rome every week by adventurous and recklessly generous Italians, will linger like a big chunk of homemade cherry ice cream in my mouth forever. My warm greetings to my friends: Alessandro Catalano, Gabriela Pietras, Paola Ceruleo, Sofia Scoglio, Francesco Sbocchi, Miso Luptak, Lorenzo Lanaro De Vito, Camilla Cicchetti, Lucia Moretti, Diana Testaiuti, John Buccoliero, Alessandro Cassini; my professors: Matteo De Angelis, Rosella Baldelli, Alberto Marcati, Maximo Ibarra; my Stockholm friends for their patience, visits and warm welcoming me back: Vide Ohlin, Anna Källman, Kalle Eklund, Oscar Rydman, Oskar MacGregor, Tomas Lauffs, Adam Fransson, Peter Gebauer, Sebastian Nilsson, Emelie Juberg, Emmy Moussavian. And my mother and my sisters. And my father and my aunt. And to Viola Lind, Natalie Nielsen and Lisa Rannikko at Stockholm University School of Business administration for encouraging me and helping me get the papers right.