The Rotterdam MBA: What You Need To Know
Rotterdam might not spring to mind as a hub of global business, but as home to the largest port in Europe and located just a stone’s throw from cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, and Frankfurt, this city is plugged into northern Europe’s business heartland.
The school is regularly ranked as one of the top 10 in Europe, and was 66th on The Financial Times’s global full-time MBA ranking in 2020. As befits Rotterdam’s history as a trading city with a global outlook, an astonishing 99% of students on the 12-month, 150-person MBA are international, with East Asia contributing 33%, Central South Asia 18%, Latin America 15%, Western Europe accounting for just 11%, the Middle East 1%, Central and Eastern Europe 6%, and Africa 4%. North America made up 12% of the most recent cohort.
RSM prides itself on going beyond the Anglo-American fixation on shareholder value and aims to get students thinking about their impact on the world as future leaders. “The world is facing big societal, economic, and ecological challenges, and we believe business is a powerful instrument for solving them,” the university says. It champions the Dutch approach, meaning “a global perspective, an innovative approach, a critical mind, and a focus on collaboration and sustainability.”
This is not just hot air. There is now just one written essay on the full-time MBA admissions process: “How have you been a force for positive change in the world?” Electives include courses on advanced sustainability, the circular economy and sustainable supply chains, and study trip themes include social impact through innovation and sustainability.
In terms of academic background, 43% of the most recent class studied economics and business, 30% were engineers, 3% studied law, and around 10% each came from humanities & art, science & medicine, and other fields.
RSM graduates might not have the biggest bump to their salaries — the three-year increase for the class for 2016 was 76% according to FT — but many students land jobs in northern continental Europe, where the standard of living is extremely high, even if the salaries don’t reach Wall Street levels.
One in four graduates tends to make the triple jump, a change in function, sector, and geography. Those with an entrepreneurial attitude also have access to the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Rotterdam Science Tower, an impressive regional incubator for start-ups.
Ansgar Richter, Dean
RSM’s mission is “to be a force for positive change in the world,” and we use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals framework in our education and research. We want executives to be aware of their responsibility to promote the greater good, not just to make money. We help them to understand how they can contribute to solving the world’s biggest problems, for instance in designing business models that do well, but also do good at the same time. This idea is embedded in our MBA and especially in the personal leadership development courses. Our aim is to build character, values, and attitudes in our MBA students.
Katsiaryna Pakhomava, MBA 2020
I managed art gallery auctions on cruise ships for 10 years. It’s an addictive job: it’s well-paid and I traveled a lot. It’s also very hard work, and a very specific niche. Then I took a sabbatical. I was literally climbing a mountain in Nepal when I decided I wanted to upgrade my skills to prepare for the next step. I knew how to reach revenue goals, but wanted to sharpen up my management and leadership skills such as public speaking, finance, and negotiating so I can offer more to my next employer and teams. The MBA gives you all of that. The next step is to find a job that is on land, not sea, and more “normal.” I want to try out marketing.
Yuta Taniguchi, MBA 2020
I’m the successor of a family business, a traditional 120-year-old Japanese hotel. I can learn by doing, but wanted to learn from international and academic perspectives how to manage inter-cultural employees and the growing tourism when I’m the CEO. RSM also has a sustainability focus. I want to learn how to combine what guests want and what’s good for the environment. And I can’t predict the future of the company and of tourism, but I wanted to prepare to learn how to deal with it.
Rotterdam School of Management MBA Rankings Data
Rotterdam School of Management MBA Employment Stats