Steef van de Velde, RSM

Steef van de Velde, RSM

Introduction – an unpredictable and eventful year

Introducing the annual RSM Leadership Summit, Dean Steef van de Velde asked the audience to think about the impact of an unpredictable and eventful year. “Greece has come close to exiting the Euro zone, Donald Trump is a candidate for presidency of the USA, and the price of oil has dropped, [the French satirical magazine] Charlie Hebdo was attacked, the Chinese economy slows, VW has faked diesel engine emission tests, and a million Syrian refugees have come to Europe.”

Leadership is under a lot of scrutiny, said the Dean. What kind of leadership brought these events about, and what kind of leadership is needed to address these challenges? Against this kind of backdrop, the ‘leadership survival kit’ is most topical, he said.

The Dean reflected that Erasmus University’s act of offering emergency accommodation to refugees in September was representative of its values, and fitted the model of the City of Rotterdam as a place of not words, but actions. The audience greeted this with applause.

Switching his attention to Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), he said events there were more predictable. “We are on a steady course to strengthen our reputation,” he said. Highlights were the increasingly international character of the school, curriculum, faculty, students and partners. A new office in Chengdu, China is soon to open, and RSM has launched an executive MBA in Germany in partnership with the University of Cologne – this is the first time the school has offered a degree programme away from Rotterdam.

Blended learning [a mixture of conventional lectures, lessons and tutorials combined with online presentations and sessions] in some programmes has revolutionised the RSM educational landscape, said the Dean. Blended learning has been implemented in two executive master programmes and had helped the school to recruit more students.

Student numbers were encouraging, said the Dean, adding that a new part-time executive PhD programme had admitted twice the number of students as was initially expected.

The school is doing a lot to valorise or give validity and value to its research. Here, the Dean mentioned the school’s video channel, RSM Discovery, which presents the latest research findings in an accessible way.

September was a great month for RSM as it hit the headlines by announcing the introduction of selective admission for RSM bachelors who wanted to join its master programmes, and some good rankings results.