RSM IM/CEMS graduation: ‘build bridges, not walls’

Almost 50 graduates with 16 nationalities from the MSc in International Management / CEMS at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) attended their graduation ceremony on campus on Friday 21 April 2017. Thomas Behrendt and Maximilian Laker graduated summa cum laude, and graduate Josje van der Wielen inspired the audience with her farewell speech.

The RSM IM/CEMS Class of 2017 started with 67 students in 2015, and 95 per cent graduated on time. Among them, 47 graduates attended the ceremony which took place in the Erasmus Paviljoen on campus. The average grade for this cohort’s master theses is 8.1.

Among RSM’s International Management graduates, 35 per cent graduated with cum laude distinction. A cum laude degree is awarded if the grade point average is 8.25 or higher and the thesis grade is 8.0 or higher. There were also two summa cum laude students: Thomas Behrendt earned a 9.0 for his master thesis about effective (volunteer) management, and Maximilian Laker received a 10.0 for his master thesis about goal settings and its effects on performance evaluations. A student graduates summa cum laude when both grade point average and thesis grade are 9.0 or higher.

Globally-minded young leaders
IM/CEMS graduate Josje van der Wielen took the stage at the ceremony. After taking an obligatory 'CEMS-Selfie', with herself positioned in front of her co-graduates in the first three rows of the theatre, she let the audience relive a few of the highlights of the programme, such as the student exchange semesters in places like Sydney, Barcelona, or Hong Kong; the legendary parties in the rooms of her fellow students; and the hard work that comes with being an IM/CEMS student at RSM – particularly for everyone spending the fall semester at RSM, which is notorious in the CEMS community as the toughest across the globe.

Global movements

Van der Wielen also reminded her classmates about the responsibility that comes with the degree. She particularly mentioned the importance of building bridges instead of walls – a reminder that, said Van der Wielen, is necessary in times like these, when global movements threaten to evolve in the opposite direction. Other speakers at the ceremony included Prof. Eric Waarts, Dean of Education, who educated the audience about the history of the CEMS Alliance, its global network of 30 partner schools on 5 continents, its 65 corporate partners, and other cornerstones of the programme; Prof. Joep Cornelissen, who gave insight about influencing people through effective communication; and Dr René Olie, who shared his perspective on the talent among RSM’s MSc in International Management / CEMS students and handed over the degrees.

The Class of 2017 represents 16 nationalities, including German, Romanian, Italian, Latvian, Mexican, Greek, Swedish, French, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Vietnamese.

MSc International Management/CEMS

The CEMS Master in International Management (CEMS MIM) is a joint degree delivered by CEMS academic members. It is a postgraduate degree open to a select group of students enrolled in one of the leading universities in the CEMS Alliance. RSM’s 18-month MSc in International Management/CEMS aims to develop high-quality graduates with a well-developed global mindset, in preparation for an international career in business.

Upon graduation, the alumni are members of RSM’s alumni network and the CEMS Alumni Association.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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