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How this Leading Italian University is Building the Business Leaders of Tomorrow

By Alexis Christoforous




Over the last decade, entrepreneurship has emerged as a popular major at universities around the world. For Italy’s LUISS University, entrepreneurship has been a tentpole of its curriculum long before it became a trend.


“Entrepreneurship is really a core element of this university,” Raffaele Marchetti, deputy rector of international affairs at LUISS University, told The Voice of Business.


Consistently ranked among the Top 25 Universities in the world for Political and International Studies, LUISS recently entered the Top 100 in the prestigious QS World University Rankings for Social Sciences.


With 10,000 students representing 85 countries, the Rome and Milan-based university has four major concentrations: economics, business, political science, and law.


Marchetti said after consulting with CEOs in the private sector and diplomats in the public sector, they all agreed that being a good manager goes hand and hand with having a strong understanding of international affairs, and the world we live in.


“If you study management, usually you don't study too much international politics,” Marchetti said. “If you study diplomacy, you don't really study management. So what we did, we combined the two, we set up a new master course in Global Management and Politics, and the result is huge numbers of applications. The students are very happy, and the employers are very happy,” he added.


He said the combination of strong managerial skills and knowledge of international politics makes LUISS’ students attractive to global private companies as well as government agencies. “This is what we mean by being an engaged university. Not only scientific excellence, but really this kind of practical relevance,” Marchetti said.


A “bilingual” university, more than 50% of LUISS’ degrees are taught entirely in English.


“We have a large community of foreign students, a large community of foreign faculty. In fact, the 'I' in the acronym, LUISS stands for international,” said Marchetti.


Students also have access to a network of over 50,000 alumni around the world, many with prominent positions at places including The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and at major tech companies including Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri.


LUISS University prides itself on the relationships it has not only with the private European business community but also with public institutions and foreign governments. “We provide advice. We provide training, we collaborate with them on different projects. So it is a university, but it is really a part of a larger system,” Marchetti said.


LUISS recently signed an agreement with Etihad Credit Insurance, to assist the UAE export credit agency in developing a training and exchange program to improve the management skills of young Emirati, as well as attract quality talent from the university.

Under the partnership, ECI will provide its expertise in the field of geopolitics, trade credit insurance, and financial risk. It will also offer LUISS’ graduates a springboard to the real world of international trade and investment in the fast-growing Middle East through internship opportunities.

In addition to offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, LUISS has executive courses for practitioners from the private and public sectors.


“We also have a startup accelerator in which we help bright minds transform their ideas into something that is marketable,” said Marchetti.


In September, LUISS will launch its first Triple Bachelor of Arts degree in cooperation with George Washington University in Washington, DC and Renmin University in Beijing, China.


“You begin in your home institution,” explained Marchietti. “Then in year two, they all come to Rome. In year three, they all go to Beijing. In year four, they all go to Washington, DC. At the end of this four-year path, they will get three BA degrees, an American degree, an Italian degree, and a Chinese degree. Paying once only. I mean, this is also important. You don't pay three times, but only once.”


At roughly $15,000 a year, Marchetti said LUISS offers tremendous value; a university with a “global mindset” that offers students “the whole package.”


“This is a top university with very reasonable fees in a beautiful city, full of art, full of culture, full of style. In a place that is very safe. Rome is an extremely safe city in comparison with many other cities around the world” Marchetti said.