Chicago Booth | Mr. Plantain & Salami
GMAT 580, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99
Harvard | Mr. Football Author
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Filling In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28
Ross | Ms. Business Development
GMAT Targetting 740, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance Strategy
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Market Analyst
GMAT 770, GPA 7.2/10
Harvard | Mr. Banking & Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Ms. Canadian Civil Servant
GRE 332, GPA 3.89
Wharton | Ms. Energy To Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 8.4/10
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72

Meet The Rotterdam School of Management’s MBA Class Of 2020

Class of 2020 MBA Students


“We have been updating our study trip destinations and topics over the last few years,” he tells P&Q. “For example, this year we began to go to Reykjavik, Iceland where our students study on the topic of Green Economy & Sustainability. Through in-class discussions, company visits and guest lecturers from industry, our students are able to experience the classroom in another part of the world.”

Kirby also describes RSM’s career services teams as the program’s “unsung heroes” and touts their record for one of their market’s highest job place rates. “The team works with one of the most culturally diverse MBA cohorts in the world, helping them to understand and adapt to the European job market. No different from the program itself, the careers team is always innovating with new ideas.”

One example that Kirby cites is the team’s launch of the High Intensity Interview Training (HIIT) Bootcamp. “It is a week-long program designed to prepare our students for the interview season,” Kirby explains. “Participants experienced a series of exercises surrounding life coaching, speed interviews, and personal pitch design. Our students enjoyed the program and we look forward to building on this success in future years.”


Such programming is supplemented by RSM’s Personal Leadership Development (PLD) program, a unique wrinkle that drew Ela Kurowska to Rotterdam. A systematic mix of research and reflection, the program focuses on helping students gain self-awareness through coaching and mentoring, simulations, and peer reviews. Through these exercises, students develop an authentic leadership style while better understanding employee motivations and effective communication practices. These skills are only sharpened amid a diverse cohort like the Class of 2020, notes Kirby.

Members of the Class of 2020 meeting on campus

“Our classes are generally 98% international every year with over 35 nationalities represented. Considering our class size is relatively small at 150 students, we believe this to be an amazing class-size-to-nationality ratio. And our students agree. Students are able to enjoy both a class where they know everyone’s name, but at the same time can experience a wide range of cultures. This factor is important since we place so many students in jobs outside their home countries and cultures. The experience in the program teaches them how to interact with people from different parts of the world, which can equal success in their future careers.”

That success can come faster at RSM, a one-year program that Phuong Tran considers to be the optimal length. “The programme intensity forces me to be efficient in terms of time and money,” writes the Vietnam-born accountant. “Also, because the market is constantly evolving, being out the off the work force more than a year is challenging for managerial positions.”


Tran also plugs the Netherlands, calling it the “friendliest country to English speakers.” Ela Kurowska adds that the Dutch have created an “incredibly expat-friendly place.” That may stem from the nation’s reputation for being egalitarian and open to differences.

Rotterdam itself – nicknamed the “Gateway to Europe” and boasting the continent’s largest port – includes nearly 175 different nationalities. The city is also home to Fortune 500 royalty like Unilever and

LyondellBasell – with Royal Dutch Shell and Aegon headquartered just a half hour away at The Hague. In some quarters, Rotterdam is regarded as Europe’s “Capital of Cool,” thanks to a thriving nightlife and culture scene. Both take their inspiration from post-war architectural styles that include cubed houses, a swan-shaped bridge, and entangled high rises. When it comes to getting around town, forget Uber. In Rotterdam, the bicycle is the main mode of transportation. For Leonardo Silva, the location was the biggest selling point of an MBA at the Rotterdam School.

“With the American H-1B Visa policy issues and Brexit uncertainty, Netherlands was the best place to enroll in an MBA degree for three reasons: 1-year search visa (work-permit) after graduation, presence of many FT500 firms in Amsterdam and the positive economic outlook for the next years.”


“Energizing” is another word that RSM alumni use in describing their alma mater. Since opening 50 years ago, entrepreneurship has been a galvanizing force in the graduate business program. These energies are harnessed in the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, the largest center of its kind in Europe. It features 4 full-time professors and 35 researchers and coaches, with programming and events that draw over 30,000 people to the Centre a year. Despite this, the MBA program’s calling card is unquestionably sustainability and social impact.

RSM overlooking the city of Rotterdam

For Geo Corneby, that includes sustainable food production and clean energy. Thus far, she has been struck by how each of her classmates are “motivated by a sense of meaning and purpose in their careers.” Make no mistake: the school’s commitment to sustainable business practices matches that of its students. For one, sustainable business practices are integrated into every course, be it case studies, guest speakers, or group projects. For example, one of the program’s signature experiences is the Living Management Project (LMP), a four-week project where student teams partner with companies like Google and Philips to deliver solutions. Now, says Brandon Kirby, the school is building a second LMP out into the social sector.

“The idea was to allow our MBA students the opportunity to share their knowledge and talent with organizations whose purpose is to make a positive impact in our world.”


That said, Kirby adds in a 2018 interview with P&Q that the Rotterdam School of Management isn’t simply a school for those looking to enter the social impact. Instead, it is an MBA program where big picture, ethical decision-making enriches the learning and connects the community as a whole.

“Yes, we are a business school and business is ultimately about making a profit. But there is a way in which you should be doing that. Historically, it has been corporate social responsibility, the triple bottom line. That’s fine and that’s absolutely integrated throughout the curriculum. But it is a little deeper than that. How can we really be a force for positive change in the world through business practices and giving back to communities? It doesn’t have to be a large scale operation. It can be something as small as tutoring underprivileged children in your area. That’s the kind of change that I’m excited about.”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.


StudentHometownAlma MaterEmployer
Geo CornebyManila, The PhilippinesAteneo de Manila UniversitySmarter Good
Holly JohnsonDrayton Valley, CanadaUniversity of AlbertaAlianza Cocoa Peru
Kostiantyn KulykKyiv, UkraineNational Academy of Sciences of UkraineSCA Forest Products
Ela KurowskaWarsaw, PolandWarsaw University of TechnologySimon-Kucher & Partners
Leon LaubscherCape Town, South AfricaStellenbosch UniversityEnergy Partners
Alex SchmidtRio de Janeiro, BrazilLa Sierra UniversityElementa World
Jonathan SchwinnNew York City, NYGeorge Washington UniversityBDO
Leonardo SilvaBrasilia, BrazilBrazilian Air Force AcademyBrazilian Air Force
Shipra SinghAgra, IndiaSymbiosis International UniversityKPMG India
Gaby SurianoEl SalvadorColumbia UniversityUGE International
Eliran TalTel Aviv, IsraelTel Aviv UniversityErdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. Advocates
Phuong TranHo Chi Minh City, VietnamUniversity of Economics Ho Chi Minh CityZuellig Pharma Vietnam
Ji ZhangJi’an City, ChinaUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingThreeEdu Consulting