Davide Sandretto

Two countries, two universities, one doctoral dissertation

Tiina Ramsila
Davide Sandretto is a doctoral student at the University of Turin, School of Management and Economics, in Italy. Why we are meeting at the University of Vaasa, is thanks to the cotutelle agreement, also known as joint doctoral supervision. It means that Davide has signed an agreement to do his doctoral dissertation equally at two universities in two different countries – Italy and Finland – under the joint supervision of four supervisors. The objective of a cotutelle agreement is that the researcher receives a degree from both universities but completes only one doctoral dissertation.

In 2020, Davide graduated from the University of Turin, with a bachelor's degree in Banking and Finance. Subsequently, in 2022, he obtained a master's degree in the same field.

“I’ve always been passionate about finance subjects, and my curiosity and desire to learn more led me to apply for a doctoral programme in Turin in November 2022,” says Davide.

Davide’s future career goal is to continue in academia and one day become a professor in finance.

“I believe that a doctoral programme can provide valuable tools for extending your critical thinking and expanding your knowledge. It teaches you how to reason and make correct inferences, which are indispensable skills for navigating everyday life. Moreover, if you're interested in a specific topic, a doctorate is the best way to get deeper into it and become an expert,” continues Davide.

An excellent associate professor the reason for choosing the University of Vaasa

Davide signed the cotutelle agreement because he was really interested in having an experience abroad. 

“Cotutelle agreement also offers the opportunity to broaden your career prospects, meet new people, and exchange ideas,” he says.

But what brings Davide to the University of Vaasa in particular? Davide has a clear answer that indicates that Vaasa was a carefully considered decision.

“Initially, I chose the University of Vaasa because of my current supervisor, Associate Professor Klaus Grobys,” he says. “I contacted him in the summer of 2023 during my first year of doctoral studies in Turin, after coming across a course on his YouTube channel. I found him to be very passionate about finance and excellent at his job. His research also aligned closely with my interests.”

"I believe that a doctoral programme can provide valuable tools for extending your critical thinking and expanding your knowledge."
Davide Sandretto

The topic of Davide’s dissertation is empirical asset pricing. Specifically, he is investigating the risk factors that influence asset returns.

“I chose this topic after my master's thesis, during which I extensively studied the relevant literature and uncovered numerous unanswered research questions,” he continues. “Despite the complexity of the subject, my passionate reading of various articles on this topic has cultivated a strong interest in it.”

Davide sent Associate Professor Grobys an email expressing his interest in spending time in Finland and proposing this type of agreement. 

“He promptly agreed and began gathering information on its feasibility,” says Davide. “His availability and willingness to assist me were truly outstanding. With the support of administrative staff and my supervisors in Turin, we finally concluded the agreement. However, upon enrolling in the doctoral programme, I recognised the high quality of the doctoral courses and the distinguished reputation of the professors at the School of Accounting and Finance. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to study at this university.”

Associate Professor Klaus Grobys strongly believes that cotutelle agreements are also a very valuable opportunity for the university of Vaasa.

“I think this is an important step in the process of internationalisation and strengthening the positioning of the University of Vaasa as a globally-oriented research university,” says Klaus. 

"I feel lucky to have the opportunity to study at this university."
Davide Sandretto

Unexpectedly warm and welcoming people, and the longest winter ever

Davide studies at both universities – the University of Turin and the University of Vaasa – and shares a common dissertation, which enables him to get a degree from both universities. He attends courses at both universities following a common study plan and conducts research with his four supervisors in Vaasa and Turin to complete his dissertation.

“This presents a great opportunity to exchange different ideas and opinions between different research groups and to learn more,” he explains.

Davide is from Pont Canavese, a small town near Turin, a city in northwest Italy. He arrived in Vaasa in February this year and will stay until the summer. Then he will return next year.

“I really enjoy the atmosphere here in Vaasa,” he says. “It's vibrant yet peaceful, with plenty of things to do. Furthermore, from the beginning, both my colleagues and the teaching staff at the School of Finance and Accounting have been incredibly supportive, actively involving me in university activities and events. I've found the people unexpectedly warm and welcoming, which contrasts with the chilly weather. Speaking of weather, I’ve just endured the longest winter of my life, but there’s a silver lining: nothing is better than relaxing in a sauna at the end of the day.”

When it comes to universities, one of the significant differences Davide has found compared to his home university is the more open and informal relationship between professors and their students. 

“I believe that this is an added strength that enhances the studying experience,” he concludes.

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