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  • IRG Conference

Could Milan become New York's (and US) European interlocutor? Why not! Milan, May 8 SDA Bocconi IRG Conference. Register to learn more

On May 8, SDA Bocconi will host the Influence Relevance & Growth Conference in cooperation with the US Aspen Institute and Aspen Italia. Media partners are CNBC and Class CNBC. Register


Milan and New York share ethical traits and the ambition for excellence. Even if Milan doesn't have a sea view, New Yorkers feel at ease.


In the 1600s the Dutch settlers established New Amsterdam. In 1664 the Brits arrived by ship in New Amsterdam, asked to surrender New Netherland and, without firing a shot, England re-christened the land in the name of the Duke of York.


New Yorkers have inherited that aggressive and commerce-oriented spirit that drove the original settlers. Today the island of Manhattan is one of the world’s capitals. In 2022, GDP of New York City was $1.2 trillion of which $886 billion or 3/4 was Manhattan. The island of Manhattan is connected to the rest of the world through 21 bridges and 15 tunnels.


A New Manhattan on the canals

Milan hosted the world exposition in 2015. Typically, these exhibitions do not generate sustained economic growth. Milan, to the contrary, managed to make it a long-term GDP multiplier. According to Bocconi University, it generated economic benefits of US$ 32 billion for Italy and of US$ 17 billion for Milan. Expo cost was US$ 2.5 billion.


Milan was founded in 590 B.C. by the Celtics and then ruled by the Romans that called it Mediolanum, a location “in the middle of the plain”. Milan has always been more integral to Northern Europe, embracing the protestant ethics of doing business.


Milan today is thriving. With 1.4 million inhabitants and $ 367 billion in GDP, Milan is the fourth richest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Madrid and ahead of Munich, Berlin and Amsterdam. Milan hosts Borsa Italiana, Italy’s stock exchange. The majority of multinational subsidiaries are headquartered in Milan. In 2020, with 122 diplomatic consular representations, Milan surpassed New York among the cities that are not capitals of a State. Milan attracts the bulk of foreign direct investments landing in Italy, US$ 18 billion in 2019.


Today Milan is a “gogo- to” city for the young generations. It hosts 200.000 students attending 8 universities of which 6 are private, offering courses education in virtually any field of knowledge. Some are world class. excellenciesBocconi Business School (SDA) MBA, for example, is number 3 in the world according to the 2024 Financial Times world MBAs ranking. Public universities are free of charge and the most expensive private university charges US$ 11.000 per academic year. In healthcare, Milan and the wider Lombardy region are second to none.


The bruising and hectic Milanese life happens in one square kilometer, all is walking distance and public transportation works well. While being late is never excusable, in Milan it is also unjustifiable.

In 2022, the City Council of Milan approved the Air and Climate Plan, an action plan to become fully carbon neutral and a cycle-pedestrian city by 2050.

Restaurants, fashion, museums, La Scala concerts and shopping are, naturally, among the world’s best.


Logistically, Milan is served by two international airports, Linate being 4 miles away from midtown Piazza Duomo. It is served by two competing high-speed train companies that travel at 300Km/h (187MPH) and are, always on time. TTurin, to the west, Turin is an one hour away, as so is Bologna to the south. Also, by fast train, Florence and Rome are, respectively, 1.5 and 3 hours  distantaway respectively.


An acid test for cities is, whether or not, a young qualified talent can pursue the professional career of choosing in his or her hometown. This happens in New York as well as in Milan.



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