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InterviewsOff Campus

Exclusive interview with Mario Monti and Andrea Sironi

Sironi a.y.2015/16
Reading time: 3 minutes

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Bocconi marks the beginning of the new academic year

by Nicolò Carnevale, Tabita Costantino, Igor Krupenja

The inauguration of the academic year at our University, held yesterday with a keynote speech delivered by Apple CEO Tim Cook, was undoubtedly a reason for great excitement and joy not only for Bocconi community but also for a wider public. In addition to numerous Bocconi students, professors and alumni, the ceremony was attended by rectors of other Italian universities, Giuliano Pisapia — the outgoing Mayor of Milan — and several entrepreneurs. Among the latter, at the entrance of aula magna we spotted Federico Marchetti — CEO of YOOX and Bocconi Alumnus of the Year 2014 — who later liked our tweet about him:

It is not the first time Bocconi hosted a prominent individual at the opening ceremony. So far, the University’s ability to attract notable public figures every year was somewhat of a mystery. This obviously gave rise to wild speculation with many suggesting that guests were generously, yet secretly, paid for their appearances. To challenge this improbable view, we welcome you to read this interview with Bocconi’s President Mario Monti and Rector Andrea Sironi where they explain how our University managed to bring Tim Cook in for the ceremony. This interview was carried out at the end of the event.

President, what is your impression of this great ceremony? Do you agree with Tim Cook’s words?

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MM: I was, like everyone I believe, very impressed by Tim Cook’s personality and his simplicity in saying intense and inspiring words. I think that all the audience, and students in particular, felt really motivated. As he is not a preacher, but the head of the world’s largest company by capitalisation, you see for yourselves that to lead a huge firm today you need a wholesome personality and the ability to inspire and guide the work of tens and hundreds of thousands of people.

Sironi a.y.2015/16Rector, how do you think the inauguration went this year? Has it met your expectations?

AS: This inauguration ceremony was indeed a privilege. It was the first time that Tim Cook delivered a speech in a University outside the United States and he chose to come to Bocconi. I had the opportunity to report on some of the very positive results achieved by Bocconi and this makes me very proud. I am very sorry only for not having all the students in the hall…

That’s true, would have been great…

AS: …but there were six thousand [students who signed up online; only the first 300 were allowed entry into aula magna], so it was simply not possible.

The new undergraduate program that is going to be launched next year [BEMACS — Bachelor of Science in Economics, Management and Computer Science — taught in English] allows for a greater presence of computer science in teaching at Bocconi. Is it a presence that will continue over time or just a passing trend?

AS: We are not just launching this new program but, as you may know, we are also intensifying the basic computer skills course in all the undergraduate programs, so this is certainly a distinguishing trend for the future. That said, we are not an engineering school so we are not training computer or data scientists. Nevertheless, we are preparing managers and economists who have more and more to do with the world of IT, Big Data in their work and therefore need to be more competent in these fields than they are today.

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Rector, but how did we manage to have Tim Cook here at Bocconi for the inauguration of the academic year?

AS: All credit goes to our President [Mario Monti] who already had some contacts from holding public offices in the past. I only gave the suggestion since the guest would be relevant to the new degree program that we are launching next year, the rest was done by the President so credit to Mario Monti.

Thank you very much for your time, Rector!

AS: Thanks to you for all that you [at Tra i Leoni] are doing! Good job!

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