Insights from an IBA student - Zhe Xu

Insights from an IBA student - Zhe Xu

Name: Zhe Xu

Age: 22

Home city and country: Daqing, China

Previous studies: Chinese GAOKAO


Why did you decide to do the IBA programme at RSM?

"IBA attracted me because of the programme’s strong business-focused curricula, which helps students to have a solid knowledge of business. Also, the tight but reasonable three-block structure makes students keep improving. Last, the IBA’s international focus is remarkable. I’m an international student studying aboard partly because I want to be engaged in an international environment; IBA is a perfect community of around 70 nationalities."

What is the most impressive thing in the programme so far?

"There have been many impressive things during the first year, but my first thought is Professor Magala. I heard his name when I bought his book second-hand from a second year IBA student before I met him in the lecture. People have quite different impressions of him, but I like the way he lectures, which is more like giving a speech – inspiring and knowledgeable. As one of the first lecturers that IBA students meet, he impressed me deeply with his insightful lectures and his humour."  

What are your fellow students like? 

"There are quite a few of types in this large IBA community. Regardless of nationalities, many students master several languages at the same time. Most of us are keen on interacting with others on- and off-campus, such as holding parties at home and travelling together. Many students are very hardworking and progress well, so the exam can be quite competitive."

What is a normal day like at RSM?

"Although the timetable seems loose during the week, students spend a lot of time having meetings for assignments, doing homework and preparing for exams. The facilities on campus are easily accessible and helpful. Study areas such as the Polak building are places where we normally spend time after lectures, and sometimes students study together in groups. In addition to studying, students also join in extracurricular activities such as RSM STAR and Enactus, organisations that improve students but in which they can also make friends."

What is life in Rotterdam like?

"The largest proportion of expense is accommodation. Food prices in supermarkets are relatively affordable, compared to restaurants. What I enjoy most in Rotterdam is cycling around Kralingse Bos, by the Maas river, and in the city. Rotterdam is a peaceful city where people can discover the beauty of nature and enjoy the fascinating architecture."

What do you like best about living in the Netherlands?

"China and the Netherlands are significantly different in many ways but I found it very easy to get used to living here. The natural environment is nice and massive bike routes make it convenient to cycle in this country. As an international student who cannot speak Dutch, it is very convenient that most people here speak English very well."

What advice would you give to future IBA students? 

"From my personal experience, the house rental market in Rotterdam can be very competitive especially in August. So I strongly advise students to rent a house prior to their arrival. Students should also keep in mind that study comes first in IBA because we come to RSM primarily for studying. To make the best of IBA, try to get out of your comfort zone sometimes. Making friends and seeing how others perceive this world can help us improve a lot."

After the IBA programme, what does the future hold?

"After one year’s IBA study, I not only have more knowledge about business but I am more interested in business. Students can expect a solid knowledge of business and management by the end of this study. However, the soft skills you may gain can be more significant after three years in this international community. Your future – being an entrepreneur, or working for a multinational enterprise – will get clearer and clearer on the way. No one can predict the future precisely, but personal development can surely build a better future."