Rodger George

Subject: Consulting / Change Management (Full-time MBA, Executive MBA, OneMBA)

Bio: Rodger is currently a visiting professor at the Universities of Cape Town and RSM Erasmus University, where for a number of years he has lectured topics such as Leading Strategic Business Change, Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship to MBA, EMBA and OneMBA students. He also facilitates strategic change workshops with selected executive groups. Rodger is also currently a Director of a global strategy consultancy where he currently practices. He has over 20 years of business experience which includes holding directorship seats for a number of companies. He has implemented a number of large strategic change projects for numerous private and public corporations across a number of diverse industries, including the Energy (oil and gas, electric), Government, NGO, Mining, Banking, Retail, Tourism and Hospitality, Steel Manufacturing, Motor Vehicle and Food and Beverage industries. His competencies include strategic change leadership, complex corporate re-structuring, shareholder value maximisation, strategic cost reduction and re-engineering, Strategy formulation, MBO and M&A related activities, new business restructuring and failing-business turnarounds. Rodger previously served as an officer in the armed forces in South Africa where he came first on his officer’s course and also subsequently received a commendation of excellence award during his tenure as officer.

Can you describe your teaching experience at RSM so far? What has been the most memorable moment for you?

I have been teaching at RSM for over 10 years now. I teach all the three MBA programmes: Executive MBA, International Full-time MBA and Global Executive OneMBA. All the three programmes offer world class education and I very much enjoy teaching at RSM. The students per programme are of course very different in terms of energy. For instance, the Full-time MBA students are very inquisitive about new things; they’re always thinking innovatively, because they have the time to dream. Because of their youthfulness, they like to bring content such as digital and the new thinking into what they’re learning. So it’s a very different type of teaching for each one of the three MBA programmes, but all three of them are great. What has been really memorable for me is to have worked with so many different industries over the years. I’ve worked with government people from emerging markets, I’ve worked with executives of pharmaceutical companies, and I’ve worked with many bankers. The range and diversity of all the industries helps me to learn and grow, because you interact with them and you have the same theory and the same teaching methods, but as you apply these to the different industries and different content, it just becomes richer. The interaction with the different levels of students and the multiplicity across these 10 years has been really memorable. I have had great years just experiencing the University and everything that Rotterdam has got to offer. There has been something new to learn every year. I find RSM in general really entrepreneurial; for instance, the OneMBA course was created here and that’s one of the leading MBAs worldwide. To pull off this type of teaching module, an Executive MBA where all the students and lecturers fly in from all around the world, means that you really need to have a very slick and well-performing engine behind. The only way for such a programme to work is to have very closely connected and well-synced staff members to make it happen. So it does feel like a family, it does feel like home. The moment you walk into the University people are smiling at you and all of this creates an environment in which good learning can take place.  

Do you like travelling? If yes, what is your favourite destination?

I love travelling; I love seeing new countries and exploring new places. I love nature and the wild. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in nature looking at safaris, watching the migration of animals. I love the ocean. Every time I get a chance to be close to the ocean, I go snorkelling into marine reserves. Recently I was in a marine reserve of the East Coast of Africa snorkelling with dolphins. So whenever I do get a chance I like to travel. My teaching and my job often gets me to different places of the world and especially if it is a destination I haven’t been to before, I take an extra day to explore.  I always do something local to the country, to experience the culture and the people and the beauty of it.

What is your favourite book?

I’ve read many books. I like books which are all about the creation of value, either for people as individuals or for organizations. A book I recently read that I liked is “Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time” by Howard Schultz. This book is about creating a global brand just by focusing on values, rarely found in corporate America, and the energy of people. It’s about how Schultz created Starbucks one cup at a time. Howard came from a poor family, his father had just been laid off, and he started thinking that there must be another way to life. He decided to go to Italy and he saw the special relationship that Italians had not only with their coffee, but with the coffee bars, which were an important part of their social life. He then brought back this concept to the US and against all odds he actually further developed the concept. But at the end, it is all about energizing the people along the journey. It’s a very uplifting book and a bit of a blueprint if you want to start your own business.