MBA Program: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Current Location: Logan, Utah
Current Company and Title: Gattaca Media: Co-Founder, Head of Revenue
Why did you choose to earn your MBA at this business school? There are three reasons I decided to study at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). As an American, most MBAs in the states are two years. RSM is a one-year program, but provides the same quality of education as US MBAs. I found that extremely attractive. Secondly, RSM has one of the most diverse backgrounds of any program. The average age of enrollment, experience, and diversity of nationalities are higher than any other school I found. Lastly, the school is located in one of the most international, English-friendly, diverse countries I know of. The Netherlands was a place that made me feel welcome and needed. And the country is very family-friendly which was important because I brought along my wife and son with me.
Pretend you are an ambassador giving a tour at your business school. Name one place you would show a candidate and why was it so important to you? I would take them to the breakout rooms when current students are studying together. When you walk around the rooms and look at the student’s faces, you will see firsthand the joy, camaraderie, and knowledge being shared between each student.
Unlike other MBAs, there is no curve at RSM, so students are not competing against each other for a grade. Over 90% of the students are foreign, so we all feel like fish out of water. That feeling ensures we band together as one and work hard to help each other succeed. I did not get that same feeling at other schools.
What was your favorite class and what lesson do you use from it in your role? My favorite class in the program was Business Negotiations. Instead of a heavy lecture style course, our professor made sure we were negotiating every day with our fellow students. And the negotiations had real consequences. It was impossible for both negotiators to get a perfect score. If you create a more equal outcome, you both would receive a 3 out of 4. If one negotiator got a much better deal, then one would get 4 and the other a 2.5.
It created real life stakes and made you really care about the assignments. That course helped me learn how to figure out the other person’s self-interest and align it with mine to ensure we create strong outcomes for both parties.
What was your best memory during your MBA program? My favorite memory was getting to know my fellow MBA students. This included learning where they were from, their professional background, and the lessons they have learned from their careers. I did not have one person’s experience at RSM. I had 130+ different experiences because I got to learn from my fellow classmates’ lives as well as my own. It was the best networking experience I have ever had.
What is one thing about the MBA program that you wish you had known when you applied? The first term at RSM is extremely difficult. In a short period of time, you are put into groups with people you don’t know and enrolled in tough courses such as accounting and statistics. But remember two important things: ask your fellow classmates for help and know that every term gets easier.
I believe this structure is by design. The difficulties force you to band together with your fellow classmates and figure it out. It is sort of like MBA boot camp for the first 1.5 months. It also allows you to have more free time in term 3 and term 4 to look at internships or networking. I was grateful for the structure and would not want to change it. If you are aware of the potential difficulty from the start, it will make it easier for you to manage.
What has been your biggest professional achievement? My biggest professional achievement is starting my own business. In January of this year, I left my former employer to start a marking agency with two friends of mine. Although it has only been a short while, it has been a wonderful experience. And RSM really helped me prepare for that. Running a business is difficult but RSM taught me that I can do hard things and that I can accomplish the impossible.
What advice would you give to a prospective student to help them earn a spot in your business school? It is important to put yourselves in RSM’s perspective. Like any business school, RSM wants to enroll people that will graduate and set a great example for the school. They want to enroll students who’ll go out and make the world a better place.
During your interview and application process, show RSM how you can be that person. Also, reach out to alumni like me. I would be delighted to help you better understand what RSM is like so you can ensure it is the school for you. I would also be happy to give you any tips to ensure you have the best chance of enrolling in this fantastic institution. Just be sure to tell me why you are connecting with me on LinkedIn so I can be sure to accept your connection request. Best of luck!
To reserve your free spot in P&Q’s CentreCourt MBA Festival from February 23-24, click here.