Hi there everyone, happy to be here

About me:

Iím a 23-year-old Iranian (male), in the last year of my industrial engineering bachelor
Current GPA is 3.4 will probably be 3.5 by the end
I have 3 years of work experience one as an accountant while doing my bachelor's and 2 years of military service
Iíve passed the first 3 levels of ACCA and Iím taking the first level of CFA this December
Took a diagnostic GMAT test and got a 650 (Q50, V28) Iíve done nothing for the GMAT yet, so I believe Iíll be able to improve my verbal score dramatically
I'm also fairly competent at VBA and I've been making financial models for fun for the past year. (Valuations, Stock Pitches, M&A, LBO, etc.)
I also have a unique research/mentorship opportunity that I'm going to explain later

My goals:

Iím going to apply to MSF by December of 2018 (have to wait a year since I donít have the $ yet)
My first choice is Bocconi and Iím also applying to RSM, SSE, ST.GALLEN and other good but not so expensive programs
Not going to apply to US or UK programs since I can not afford the tuition and living expenses
my long term goal is to finish my masters with a high GPA and one or two papers (hopefully I can get an RA position in the second year) and then apply to the top 10-20

The unique research opportunity:

There is this professor in my country who is kinda a big deal (in Iran not in the world) 20+ papers in different international journals, head of machine learning and economics in one of the best Iranian universities, author of 6-7 of books among many other things. (he also had some joint papers with two professors from Bocconi)

We had a meeting and he is willing to mentor me (and give me a recommendation if i do a good job) for the next two years.

he told me to start a project or a paper and he will help me with it (show me how it's done, how to send it out to journals and what not)

but as you know since I'm an undergrad I have nothing to write a paper about. I was thinking about doing something that shows to my MSc. professors that I'm serious about research and Ph.D. and I have the skills needed to be an RA but I don't know what project can convey this message.

My questions:

What can I do in the next 2 years to get a competitive edge and a head-start for research?
Should I finish the CFA? I know that itís of no use in the academic setting but maybe itíll help me with the admission?
What programming language should I learn? I was thinking Matlab or python. I know that itís subjective and depending on the field of my studies but I donít know what I want to research yet ( so far Iíve enjoyed reading up on asset pricing, statistics, time series analysis and risk management. Also I really enjoy econometrics)
if I go to Bocconi with the aforementioned research and what not do you think there is any chance of me attending a top 10 program? I know every year 7-8 people go from Bocconi to top 10 but I don't know their backgrounds.
Any other affordable master programs you'd recommend for someone interested in pursuing a Ph.D.?

Many thanks