The RSM MSc in Global Business & Sustainability programme is one academic year’s duration. Core courses are compulsory and will be offered during the autumn semester (26 ECTS). Master electives (18 ECTS) are offered during the spring semester, of which one elective can be chosen from another MSc programme. During the year, students work on a master thesis project (16 ECTS).

Please note that certain electives may be very popular. Although we can place most students in the elective(s) of their choice, there are no guaranteed places.

    • Your first core course explores and broadens understanding of corporate sustainability, allowing for a holistic recognition of the interconnectivity of issues and their impacts on the future of business.  The course focuses on the cutting-edge developments of corporate sustainability and developing understanding of what leadership for sustainability means and entails.  You will identify how businesses formulate strategies for sustainability and can find opportunities for shared value creation through providing sustainability solutions.

      The course will engage with numerous corporate and external thought leaders in sustainability. Advancements such as cradle-to-cradle, integrated reporting, and resilience thinking among others will be introduced and discussed as they apply to organizations.  You will also engage with the innovative ‘planetary boundaries framework’ which acts as the cornerstone for ‘Action2020’ from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. S.P. Kennedy.

    • The second core course focuses on the specific – and often operational – challenges of multinational enterprises. How do firms manage across borders? How can they handle issues such as corrupt regimes, dealing with currency instability or developing solutions for major issues like poverty, global warming, HIV/AIDS or hunger? You will learn how global corporations can create a sustainable corporate and competitive advantage.

      This course deals with challenges such as decisions about entry strategies, appropriate analysis of country risks, lobbying governments, implementing cross-cultural management systems, and creating partnerships with stakeholders. You will discuss and practice practical techniques and management tools relating to codes of conduct, reporting, trademarks, business community involvement programmes and stakeholder dialogues, among others.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Prof. dr. R.J.M. van Tulder.

    • If companies do not prioritise sustainable development, humanity will be consuming the ecological resources of 2.3 Earths in 2050, which clearly spells disaster. Most CEOs recognise this, and many embrace a more sustainable mindset that encompasses economic, as well as social and environmental development. But this new mindset has not prevented high-profile scandals such as Enron, Worldcom or even the global banking crisis from occurring. Such moral transgressions can undermine sustainable developments so drastically, and both ethics and sustainability should now be central to present and future business leadership.

      This third core course offers a broad, evidence-based, psychological perspective on sustainable, moral behaviour in business. How can such behaviour be encouraged in employees, in CEOs, in organisations as a whole, and in their stakeholders? We will link fundamental behavioural theories about greenwashing, social dilemmas and ethical leadership to sustainable, practical applications. You are encouraged to develop your own ideas about such issues, not just through individual assignments, but also by subjecting your ideas to empirical research that you will conduct with fellow students.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M.J.J. Wubben.

    • This short course will help you assess your career path options and concentrate on developing strategies and skills to enable you to realise a chosen career.  This begins with learning how to research sustainability career pathways and identifying which offer you the most growth potential and change-flexibility based on general maxims as well as personal preferences. You will learn the use of competencies in recruitment and develop a personal strategy in which competency strengths are identified and a plan is formed for developing competency weaknesses. 

      The course will help you to maximize the impact you have when conducting job interviews and other interactions related to your job searches (informational interviews, networking events, etc.).  You will also engage with the art of storytelling for your personal narrative, to ably articulate personal strengths and stories of achievements. 

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by D.D. Creedle.

    • This final core course deepens your knowledge on how organizations can address the sustainability grand challenges for the 21st century.  You will think intensively about sustainability leadership and critically apply your ideas to a real-world ‘live business case’.  To tackle this case you will first need to think critically about current practice and engage with appropriate theory in areas such as sustainability-oriented innovation, new product development, marketing, and collaboration. The task is then to create a new business strategy on sustainability that is both innovative and tackles the sustainability grand challenge in a way that creates shared value.

      This course is both tough and challenging, requiring you to work intensively under strict time-constraints within small teams to identify and robustly formulate creative solutions to sustainability challenges.  You are also required to optimise your communication skills by presenting to the company in-person within a boardroom setting. 

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. S.M. Laasonen.

      Please see below for examples from previous years:

      • With companies Boskalis & Van Oord, co-initiators of Ecoshape

        What is it about our way of doing business that is contributing to polluting rivers? What role can businesses play in solving polluted rivers? What responsibilities can businesses take? What opportunities for start-up social enterprises do polluted rivers offer?

        Led by course leader Li An Phoa, students of the MSc Global Business & Sustainability have delved into answering these questions, taking up the challenge to create new business solutions to tackling our world’s polluted rivers.  Alongside traditional-style theoretical lectures of for instance Dr. Steve Kennedy on ‘Sustainability Oriented Innovation’, students engaged with experiential learning journeys, guest lectures and role-play to engage and understand the sustainability grand challenge from a range of perspectives.

        Experiental learning

        Cycling along the Nieuwe Maas, students visited the headquarters of Van Oord and received sessions from managers from the two largest dredging companies: Boskalis and Van Oord: Arjan van der Weck (General Manager Hydronamic at Boskalis),  Sander Dekker (Sustainability Manager at Van Oord), and Erik van Eekelen (Environmental Engineer at Van Oord and Program Manager at Ecoshape with their ‘Building with Nature’ programme).

        From the public sector, John Verkerke, Municipality Rotterdam and Green Director of the Green Parks, guided students through the 300-hectare Kralingse forest.  This experience showed how simple logical solutions can be wise, cost saving, good for the ecosystem, engage people, and be inspired by natural principles.  Social entrepreneurs also inspired students with Stef van Dongen, founder and CEO at Enviu, sharing Enviu’s business development model and Tieme Haddeman, founder of Urban Green explaining how he created green floatable islands that filter water.

        Students learned how actors from the private and public sector may collaborate successfully for sustainability at the Wicked Problem Plaza.  Led by the RSM Partnership Resource Centre students explored how collaboration with different stakeholders may lead to solutions for the polluted river Rhine.  Guest stakeholders including Arjan van der Weck (Boskalis), Florine Gongriep (Min I&E), Wouter Kersten (DeltaTalent), Ad Faase (Alphen aan de Rijn) and Prashanth Kumar (Wetsus) shared their experiences.

        Presentations of solutions to jury

        Putting into practice presentation skills taught by Dorothy Grandia, students presented ideas for solving polluted rivers to a jury comprising of private enterprises, academics and governmental representatives.  Ideas were diverse, creative and detailed in how they may be implemented.  Ideas included a new Water Experience center in Rotterdam, a Rhine-community app creating collective identity and community action, and a new partnership model for cleaning the Pasig River in Manila, Philippines.

        The jury selected ‘Shuddh Raasta’ – offering a new sustainable business model and start-up opportunity to cleaning the Ganges River - as the winning idea from Laurien Adriaanse, Sean Filidis, Matthijs van Huijgevoort, Yann Liasse, and Lukas Muche.  They have presented their idea to Henk Ovink, the special convoy on water affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

      • RSM students design Heineken marketing campaign for 0.0% beer

        How do you promote non-alcoholic beer among young adults? During a 3 week intensive module, students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) were challenged to put their knowledge into action to design a marketing campaign for 0.0% beer. The project, which included guest lectures, a real-life business case, and boardroom presentations, took place at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam in January 2015.

        During the RSM & Heineken Sustainability Grand Challenges, the students from RSM’s MSc in Global Business & Sustainability programme (GBS) were confronted with Heineken’s challenge of promoting alcohol-free beer to adults between 18 and 25 years old, and had to identify the interplay between business operations, marketing, and consumers in society, and offer solutions with potential scalability.

        In addition to presentations by Heineken’s marketing experts, the students attended a lecture by business consultant Nicolas Constantinesco about developing long-term marketing strategies, followed by a guest lecture by climate journalist Bernice Notenboom about passion, perseverance and personal resilience. The students also participated in a beer tasting, including samples of Amstel Radler 0.0% , Amstel 0.0% , Wieckse 0.0%, and Wieckse 0.0% Radler.

        Brand strategy

        In teams, the master students explored ways to inspire young people to choose a drink from Heineken’s 0.0% brand portfolio: Amstel, Wieckse and Jillz. As part of creating a marketing campaign for the Dutch market, the students had to consider how it would fit into Heineken’s overall brand strategy, and how the opportunity could be disruptive.

        Each team chose one brand and an occasion to promote the beer, and then developed scientifically-based marketing concepts for how to drive brand awareness, brand equity and sales of 0.0% propositions. The students also improved their presentation skills with before presenting their marketing campaign strategy to Heineken’s expert jury. The jury members were Bas Stok, sustainability manager at Heineken Netherlands, as well as Maarten ten Houten, sustainability manager global innovation; Sebastian Urlik, global marketing manager of 0.0% Radler; Laura Trivulzio-Huijgen, global innovation manager at Heineken International; academic director of the GBS programme Steve Kennedy; and RSM’s course co-ordinator Eva Rood.

        The winning team consisted of RSM students Nicolas Lerch, Emma den Ouden, Rexin Singotani, Anne-Lot Struijk, and Inez van der Vet. The jury was impressed by the team’s spot-on marketing campaign that carefully took into consideration the target audience, the scope set by Heineken, and the brand value of Amstel 0.0%. The team’s presentation included an attractive mood board and a short commercial, all prepared within the 11 days.

      • Inaugural RSM Sustainability Grand Challenges

        “RSM's new sustainability boot camp is an excellent way to learn intensively about the problems faced by businesses and society and their grand challenges for the 21st century. Join an elite group of students and top notch faculty. ”

        Gail Whiteman,

        Professor of Sustainability, Management and Climate Change

        RSM’s first Sustainability Boot Camp

        This spring 2014, the Global Business & Sustainability Master’s Programme (MSc in Global Business & Sustainability) hosted a new-style boot camp, to train a new generation of business leaders to think critically about business strategies and develop new sustainable business models for the future. The Sustainability Grand Challenges course was based on the expert teaching and research that sits behind the RSM Department Business-Society Management, with a critical emphasis to sustainability issues to understand the strategies of companies, governments and non-governmental organizations.

        The Speakers

        This year’s speakers at the boot camp included Prof. Gail Whiteman, professor of Business Society Management and holds the Sustainability and Climate Change chair at Rotterdam School of Management;  Prof. Rob van Tulder, professor of International Business-Society Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM); Dr. Guido Berens, Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication at RSM; Dr. Anniek Mauser, Sustainability Director of Unilever Benelux; and Tom van de Beek, founder of The Tipping Point Foundation. Furthermore, additional faculty members of the MSc Global Business & Sustainability programme (Dr. Steve Kennedy and PhD student Amanda Williams) attended the event as ‘pop-up consultants’ to guide students with the business case.  

        The Business Case

        Anniek Mauser, Sustainability Director of Unilever Benelux,  presented the ‘WaterSpaarders’ case following from the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and one of the biggest sustainability challenges it encompasses: how to create consumer behaviour change to reduce hot water usage. WaterSpaarders is a unique initiative of Unilever, WWF Netherlands and the Missing Chapter Foundation of princess Laurentien, supported by Vitens, Eneco and focuses on children as change agents in families.

        The students worked on the case:

        ‘How to create a consumer behaviour change to reduce warm water usage among 16-25 yr. olds’.

        In groups of five, students were forced to think out of the box and come up with real solutions to the business case. At the end of the boot camp they had to present their findings to the jury members, who were initiator members or supporter members of the WaterSpaarders project.  Some of the fascinating ideas presented were:

        • to create an application which records the individual usage of water of students, linking it to a coupon system (the less water you use in a week, the more discount you get on beers);

        • create a water saving stopwatch at sports club showers, where the shower turns off after 5 minutes

        • creating a merchandize, in this case it was the duck-plug which you plug into your sink, when washing the dishes

        • creating advertisement campaigns with famous Dutch celebrities, who advocate the usage of less water.

        Unilever and RSM

        The RSM Boot Camp was an interesting, refreshing experience, where I hope I have infected some students to become future sustainability leaders, integrate sustainability in their way of thinking, their curricula, their future jobs.

        Dr. Anniek Mauser, Sustainability Director of Unilever Benelux

        Why did Unilever decided to collaborate with the MSc Global Business & Stakeholder Management Programme?

        Anniek Mauser: Unilever acknowledges the need for a better integration of sustainability in curricula of business schools and therefore actively participates with guest lectures and cases in the Programmes of the top universities.

        Why was the Boot Camp important for Unilever?

        Anniek Mauser: The Boot Camp was a successful innovation to submerge last year bachelor students into sustainability, to plant the seeds for further integration in their curricula and master education

        What did Unilever get out of it?

        Anniek Mauser:  The interaction with students is important and always refreshing to learn how they look at the issues, what are natural routes and partners to them to let a sustainability message land with their age group, how do they frame the message in a way that resonates by their peers.  

        Each One Teach One

        Next to the intellectual learning, the boot camp also offered a physical learning experience. The Rotterdam HipHop House customized two workshops for the boot camp participants (break-dance workshop and hiphop workshop) to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones so that they can deepen their own self knowledge and skills. As a result, this translated back to sustainable development in oneself.


        The Sustainable Boot Camp was received extremely well from all the participating students and the faculty members and business associates involved in the event.

    • In contemporary society, voluntary private action to address public issues – in other words philanthropy – is becoming increasingly important. This is because in many western welfare states governments are retreating and in developing countries they are often non-existent. Philanthropic, non-governmental and non-profit organisations take on the challenges that are not addressed by either the market or the government. They try to do so with effective programmes, new organisations and partnerships.

      As a future manager, you may have to deal with non-profit organisations or NGOs as stakeholders or partners. You may also confront issues of corporate social responsibility. For managers, this requires an open-minded and integral view of these organisations, so understanding them is important to the process of collaboration.

      On the other hand, managing, governing and consulting for such grant-making, philanthropic or non-profit organisations is considered to be a specialisation. The skills and knowledge needed here differ from the skills required in common business settings.

      You will learn the theoretical and practical background to the broader concept of civil society, of philanthropic, non-profit and non-governmental organisations, and how to manage them. Guest lecturers from a variety of organisations will share their practical insights. Your grades will be based on two assignments; there is no written exam. This course gives you a competitive advantage as a future manager as it improves your understanding of this interesting and growing field of organisations.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by S.A. Maas MSc.

    • There is fierce debate over the role of markets and the moral limits to the pursuit of profit by modern corporate enterprise. Is there a corporate responsibility beyond making money? Is the ‘free market’ fair? Are there goods which we should not try to provide via the market such as the adoption of children, human organs, or sexual services? What are these goods, and what is wrong with buying and selling them?

      These are the questions addressed in this course which starts from a series of online lectures on political theories of justice, from Aristotle to John Rawls given by Harvard professor of government Michael Sandel. In our class meetings in Rotterdam we will refine this framework and apply it to major questions of markets and justice.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. B.H.E. Wempe.

    • Corporate leaders are nowadays searching for new and more innovative value propositions that can be linked to more future looking and crisis resilient business models. In the literature this tendency is also referred to as ‘ shared value creation’,  ‘ social innovation’  or efforts of ‘ sustainable leadership’ . This course addresses these dimensions from a theoretical as well as practical point of few.

      One way of considering the question whether business models are actually sustainable  is the extent to which they address so called ‘ wicked problems’ in society. Wicked problems are those problems that are not only difficult to solve, but even difficult to define. New business models in many sectors are developing that are trying to link up the value proposition of the company to the value gaps of society. Many large firms are doing this, next to the obvious smaller players (social enterprises). We see these new business models appear in such sectors as: care, health, international food, water provision, electricity and the like. How to understand and value these developments?

      This course also links up with a big NWO-funded programme in the Netherlands in which a number of universities and stakeholders collaborate to bring this theme further. The course thus will also bring you into touch with practitioners and researchers from many different areas. We consider this course also an excellent way of preparing your thesis as follow up on most of the themes of the first semester, but now applied to specific issues of sustainability for which companies have to come up with innovative business models.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by L. Lucht MA.

    • Climate change is an important issue; it receives international attention from political leaders, corporations, the media, advocacy groups and the general public. It is likely to become even more important as the effects of climate change intensify competition for resources and the likelihood of natural disasters, disease vectors, scarcity of water and food, and refugees.

      We believe that tomorrow’s business leaders should be educated about climate change – the science, the reactions of policymakers, and the role of business. They can become an essential part of the solution, but only if they are equipped with a thorough understanding of the challenges involved and the processes of constructing new policies.

      This course deals with the core issues of climate change and includes a wide range of effective learning tools and exercises. We will highlight international and national regulatory frameworks plus the challenges for obtaining resources and opportunities presented by new markets. You will also develop skills to help you in negotiation, strategy, research, public speaking and debating.

      At the culmination of the course students will join with seven leading European universities for a simulated United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change event.

      This module is run as a a joint elective with MSc International Management/CEMS.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. S.P. Kennedy.

      Get a feel for the 2016 simulation here.

      • Experiential learning at its best: International master students showcase stunning negotiation skills at the simulated Model UNFCCC  

        Those with concerns over the shortcomings of last year's UN climate change agreement can rest assured: the world's countries can agree on tighter measures to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – at least if the outstanding negotiation skills displayed by international master's students, including those from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) at the Model UNFCCC are anything to go by.  

        The Model UNFCCC was held in May at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the annual meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP). The simulation Model UNFCCC was attended by around 120 master students including RSM’s MSc International Management/CEMS students as part of the contingent from eight universities in the CEMS partnership, plus students from RSM's MSc Global Business & Sustainability. Taking part in the conference concluded the CEMS Climate Change Strategy course for these students. The conference began on Wednesday evening with a negotiators’ dinner but before this most delegates had already met in their coalition blocks to discuss their negotiation strategies for the formal negotiations that took place on Thursday and Friday.  

        Students were assigned roles as different UN nations, civil society and industry groups as they negotiated climate change targets in a simulation of COP22, which will be held this November. Two students from RSM were voted best negotiators at the event – the fourth year in a row RSM students have received the coveted award.  

        The term 'role-play' hardly does this event justice. From the true-to-life adherence to international negotiation protocol to the passionate representations of their delegated nations and outstanding negotiation skills – this was experiential learning at its best. Indeed, if ever there were an example of the exceptional quality of both the CEMS programme and its students, it is this event. And this year we got an inside-look as the action unfolded.  

        Inside the Model UNFCCC  

        It is half hour before official negotiations begin on the last day of deliberations. Already the conference room is filled with delegates. Animated discussions are taking place: delegates are revising tactics, sharing information on the latest alliances that have formed. 'Media representatives' are busy typing blogs, ready to update the room on the outcomes of meetings held late the previous night.  

        Welcome to the Model UNFCCC, the experiential learning culmination of a course designed to educate CEMS master students on climate change science and policy, as well as develop their skills in negotiation, debating and strategy. Participating this year are 30 students from RSM and 82 students from RSM's seven CEMS partner institutes: Corvinus University in Budapest; University of Cologne in Germany; University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; ESADE Business School Barcelona in Spain; Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi Milan, in Italy; and Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria.  

        Representing interests

        Students have been preparing for this event all semester. The event is a negotiation exercise emulating COP22, during which they must act as delegates establishing new targets for reaching the goal of greenhouse gas neutrality by the second half of this century. Each student has been assigned a country, organisation or industry (or role as a facilitating Chair) and must represent its interests.  

        In the lead up to the event, background papers have been submitted detailing their nation, industry, or NGO's current climate policy, and critically an analysis of the capability to both further mitigate greenhouse gases and adapt to the consequences of climate change. Positioning papers have been submitted responding to the meeting's agenda items (“as stipulated by the honourable chairs of COP22”) based on predictions of negotiation strategies that will be taken at the real COP22. Students have also submitted a “secret positioning paper” that has been circulated within their team of delegates, detailing the tactics they will use and the issues they will argue for and against.   

        The moment the two-day event begins, delegates begin posting propaganda on the event's social media site: statistics on the impact of the meat industry on CO2 emissions for instance, or the role of the aviation industry in supporting the global economy. Fossil fuel representatives have already taken the opportunity during a city tour to inform fellow delegates of the importance their industry plays in the global economy. And as the doors open for the official start of the event, activists from the environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) stage a flashmob blocking the entrance to the plenary room.  

        The goal of all this, explains RSM's CEMS course director Dr Steve Kennedy is for “students to gain an understanding of the negotiation process as it happens in real life; to develop advanced knowledge of how to formulate a negotiation strategy and to apply it in an international negotiations settings.” Advanced indeed. As the event unfolds an unwitting observer might be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into a genuine international negotiation.  

        The bulk of negotiations will take place during three separate plenary sessions held simultaneously, beginning at 09:30. While the sessions take place, a stream of updates on the event's social media page will keep delegates informed of developments in other sessions; 'media' will publish official updates on the event website, and coalitions will be in contact via instant chat. The three topics up for agreement: Market Mechanisms, Mitigation and Adaptation.  

        Negotiations in the Mitigation Plenary Session  

        The plenary session on Mitigation proved the most adversarial of the three sessions yesterday and the slowest to make progress. While a draft resolution has made that must now be voted on, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and India were stalling discussions. Delegates from Saudi Arabia in particular were blocking heavily as part of their tactic to avoid increasing their commitments.  

        Is all this acrimony taken seriously on the part of the delegates, or understood as just part of the role-playing? “It is part of the role playing but it is also taken very seriously,” explains Steve. “Sometimes we need to check in if a student is taking it personally as it can be hard to know where the boundary is.”  

        Likewise for an observer. In the mitigation session today, the Chair welcomes its “distinguished delegates” and urges them to reach a consensus on several issues:
        1) global average temperature increase;
        2) country specific percentage reductions by 2030;
        3) the peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions;
        4) finance in relation to the Fund 2020+; and
        5) compliance.  

        In an uncanny imitation of real life, a dispute as to what issues should be discussed immediately ensues: there seems to be an overlap with the adaptation working group on financing, and discussions are stalled for half an hour.  

        There is no impression of play-acting here. The Chairs manage discussions following protocol down to the letter. Each delegate is given their turn on the floor, introducing their points with: “Honourable chairs, distinguished delegates” and articulating their case clearly and concisely. Every point is astonishingly on the mark. The only three academic staff present sit inconspicuously in the back row; rarely intervening.

        Each delegate's strategic position becomes increasingly clear as negotiations unfold. Among the most vocal are those from Saudi Arabia and the Small Island nations – who take polarised positions – as well as the ENGOs such as Greenpeace and WWF, who use banner waving and other emotive tactics. Saudi Arabia, for instance, argues adamantly against any compliance measures, claiming that punitive actions such as stopping funding will ensure countries fail to meet any targets at all and that sanctions will give an incentive for countries to deliberately set low targets for themselves. The Island States, for whom rising sea levels mean certain extinction, push for moving the discussion onto emissions, becoming increasingly fraught as Saudi Arabia and other nations engage in circular arguments on the technicalities around compliance.  

        Meanwhile, a press release has been published on the social media site: the ENGOs and Industry Representatives formed an alliance last night proposing a taxation on meat production, the proceeds from which could be used to fund all afforestation and anti-deforestation efforts. Argentina is quick to respond online with a vigorous rebuke: “Asking for a tax on meat production will drastically increase world hunger … oil and gas simply want to target another industry to remain safe during the panel discussion.”  

        After lunch, another announcement is made: the Indian delegate has agreed to enter a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) partnership with the US in order to reach the ambitious goal of an emissions peak in 2030. India had been blocking negotiations with Saudi Arabia, but now looks set to support a new landmark agreement for the Rotterdam COP22.  

        Back in Mitigation, voting begins, with each point ratified with a strike of the gavel by the Chair. Voting progresses smoothly until the Chair reaches the points on sanctions, with the delegate of Saudi Arabia refusing to endorse any sanctions and Argentina accusing the delegate of “hijacking negotiations”. The Chair finally diffused tensions by opting for a majority vote.  

        Another deadlock is met when the discussion returns to the temperature goal, with both Saudi Arabia and Russia refusing to agree on the 1.5°C goal. The Russian delegate causes an outburst of derisive laughter when she says they will vote for 1.5°C if the EU and the US agree to drop trade sanctions against them. But a short caucus causes a surprise turnaround: the EU and US agrees to discuss dropping international sanctions against Russia if Russia concurs on the 1.5°C target.  

        Saudi Arabia is now the only country opposing the 1.5°C goal, continuing to argue that it would lead to a drastic reduction in fossil fuel usage and that Saudi Arabia would have to be compensated accordingly. The delegate threatens to not ratify the final agreement if the 1.5°C goal remains. Urgent calls are made for Saudi Arabia to endorse the proposition with much rapping on the tables – leading to a dramatic climax when Saudi Arabia walks out of the room. This is met with a standing ovation from the ENGO representative, and the Chair agrees to endorse the point on a majority basis, without Saudi Arabia's vote.  

        Hard to find common ground

        After the meeting, Simon Reuch from the University of Cologne summed up the experience: “It's changed my perspective on the Paris agreement. Now I can see how hard it is to find common ground and why so many compromises end up happening.” 

        Final Voting: Rotterdam Agreement Passed

        Negotiations have been going on intensely since 08:30, but there is no sign of weariness among the delegates when they convene for final voting on the Rotterdam COP22 Protocol at 14:00. Throughout the vote, discussions persevere as intensely as ever, with demonstrations by the ENGOs who hold up banners and rap on the tables.   Despite this, all proposals on Market Mechanism and Adaptation are approved by consensus and, after lengthy discussions that cause the session to run into overtime, those on Mitigation. Most importantly, the parties reach a consensus on both a global emissions peak in 2025, and on the 1.5°C target, despite Saudi Arabia not ratifying the agreement – an option that can be exercised by the president when only one party is not in agreement. The COP22 Rotterdam Protocol is ratified – and all delegates raise their flag.   The event’s 'best negotiators' are then announced as voted by the delegates: Yann Liasse and Matthijs van Huijgevoort, the two working group chairs from Market Mechanisms, from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.  

        How did students find the event?  

        So what did students learn from this foray into international negotiation? Professor Rolf Wüstenhagen from St Gallen leads the debriefing that concludes the event. The delegate for China says, “This was a tremendous task: you really needed to balance what was good for your country with what was good for other countries, so it was about balancing domestic and international needs, short-term and long-term needs. I was surprised at how realistic it became.”  

        Toothless tiger?

        One of the lobbyists says he was shocked at how easy it was to get countries to make concessions. Others agreed, saying that, in order to reach a consensus agreement, so many pieces had to be taken out that you ended with something completely different. Was the agreement in the end just a toothless tiger?  

        “Sometimes it looks good but there's nothing behind it,” says one delegate, “and it's the same with a lot of official documents.”  

        Those with the least interest in committing for instance, were in the stronger position, says the delegate from the Philippines. “At the extreme ends, the incentive to not co-operate was very strong, so those most committed ended up being the most willing to compromise.”

        The US delegate is surprised at the difference in bargaining power between countries: “To see the bargaining power that certain countries have over others has really surprised me. When the US said it could not ratify one part of the agreement it was immediately taken off. Their bargaining chip is higher, it's as simple as that. I knew this in theory but when you see it in reality, it is incredibly educational.”  

        Saudi Arabia is thanked for creating such a realistic dynamic. But how did Saudi Arabia feel about the agreement going ahead without her vote? The delegate says, “Perception was not a consideration. We needed to act on Saudi's policy and it was difficult to find allies because we had differences on why we wanted to block different initiatives. It was exhausting though, no one agreed with me on anything. In reality Saudi Arabia would not participate without any allies, so I think it was unrealistic that they would have moved on without our vote.”  

        One of the ENGO representatives points out that there might be a better way of thinking about these changes in the future: “Everyone equates reducing CO2 with reducing wealth, but if there were an alignment between wealth creation and CO2 reduction things would move faster.”  

        The event wrapped up with a speech by Professor Rafael Sardà from Esade: “This is the grim reality. We need to decouple wealth from environmental impact, or we are going to go into the great collapse. You need to act. If you want to become a good manager for this century you need to choose: the great decoupling, or the great collapse? It's in your hands.”

    • As an additional elective our programme offers a “Research Project” in block 4 for which you may earn elective course points. Shorter than a normal research internship, this six-week trajectory encourages students to embark on a research project supervised by a (assistant) professor of the Business-Society Management Department. Most of these research projects will be part of one of the Research Centers associated with the department, though individually professors or staff members may also offer and supervise Research Projects.

      Alternatively, students may opt to do a Research Project commissioned by a company. In this case the student is expected to initiate the contact and arrange for entry to the company, under supervision by a member of the staff.

      You can choose to conduct research that is related to your thesis topic. However, as a separate course, carrying its own credits, the report resulting from this project is in addition to your Master thesis and will be assessed separately.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by prof. dr. J.P. Cornelissen.

    • Did you ever wonder how to make a business case for a company that is depending on resources that are becoming scarce? Or did you think of the effect of the (bad) indoor air quality on your work and the effects on the productivity within companies? This master elective by Michael Braungart’s Chair Cradle to Cradle for Innovation and Quality offers you to learn more about Cradle to Cradle and the added value of this approach for our economy, ecology and the social and cultural aspects.

      The Cradle to Cradle design paradigm offers a positive approach for the environmental challenges that we are facing today. The Cradle to Cradle approach has proven that it is possible to produce products that do not harm the people and the planet, but support their health while generating profit at the same time.  During the lessons you will learn about the Cradle to Cradle principles, how this approach can be implemented within a (existing) company, and we will provide a rich overview of practical solutions and real life applications.

      Complimenting study of the theoretical base, teaching will utilise practical examples that can be found in the case studies, illustrated by products in the class room, and through guest lectures by managers who have been working with the implementation of Cradle to Cradle in their companies.

      In our Cradle to Cradle teaching we take a multidisciplinary approach integrating several RSM master programs. This elective is strongly connected to the MSc Supply Chain Management (including the Closed Loop Supply Chain elective) and the MSc Global Business & Sustainability programme, but can also be selected as a free elective for students who are interested in the added value of Cradle to Cradle in their own discipline. This elective will be evaluated through an assignment.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by D.M.P.E. den Held.

    • We will spend time exploring the kind of world you can create as a social entrepreneur. We’ll do so in the spirit of Nobel prize winner and pioneer of microcredit and microfinance, Muhammad Yunus.

      Striking the balance

      We hope you’ll be inspired and motivated by the examples of social entrepreneurs who have leveraged innovative business ideas in order to overcome social and ecological challenges.  We will explore the definition of social entrepreneurship and how hybrid organisations manage to strike a delicate balance between social and economic objectives. This part of the MSc GBS will help you to discover how social entrepreneurship can unleash the potential power of business to make social impact.

      Hybrid initiatives

      Social ‘intrapreneurs’ – those who act as entrepreneurs within large organisations – encourage and support hybrid initiatives within their corporations. We’ll explore how they do it. We will not allow ourselves to be constrained by thinking in terms of theory alone; we want you to develop a new approach or new thinking for a social problem for yourself.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by T. Geradts MSc and dr. M.D. Werner.

    • This course will provide students with an understanding on the basics of qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as the skills to design, conduct and analyze a research study. The overall aim of the course is to provide students with insights and skills to make informed choices regarding the research design to be used for their MSc thesis.

      The course will consist of two parts, one devoted to qualitative methods and one devoted to quantitative methods. The following topics will be discussed in the two parts.

      Qualitative methods

      In the first class of the part of this course devoted to qualitative methods, we will start with a brief introduction on the nature of qualitative research, including philosophical assumptions, types of research objectives, and types of research design.

      The second, third, and fourth classes explore the three predominant sources of qualitative data (interviews, observation, and documents) and methods particularly suited to their analyses. The fifth and final class will cover interpreting and reporting. In addition, in each class we will discuss analytic techniques (or skills) involved in data collection or analysis.

      Quantitative methods

      In the first class, we will start with a brief introduction on the nature of quantitative research. We will then discuss two commonly used data collection methods that do not involve respondents: content analysis and the use of secondary data. The second class will focus on two other commonly used methods that do involve respondents: surveys and experiments.

      The third and fourth classes will focus on the testing of hypotheses through statistical analysis. In the third class, we will start with a brief recapitulation of the basic of statistical hypotheses testing. Then we discuss two commonly used techniques (which, as we will see, are actually variations of the same technique): multiple regression and analysis of variance (ANOVA). In the final class, we discuss some techniques that are not used to test hypotheses per se, but are vital in order to ensure the reliability of one’s measurement: reliability analysis and factor analysis. In addition, we will practice the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for some of the techniques that we discussed.

    • In order to start the Master Thesis Track, students need to pass their Research Proposal. From January onwards the Research Proposal and Thesis Track officially starts.

      Students will have time until mid-March to hand in their Research Proposals to their coaches and co-readers, and only if they receive a pass for it, they can officially start writing their Master Thesis.



Note regarding taking courses if you are not an RSM master student: RSM does not offer the possibility for non-RSM students (master or otherwise) to take RSM MSc courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements. If you are interested in learning more about corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or business ethics, please refer to our Open Programmes section.