Executive business students explore business around the globe

Professionals from the Parttime Master Bedrijfskunde programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) went on three separate international projects as part of the executive programme’s curriculum in June 2017. The groups travelled to São Paulo, Shanghai and Cape Town to explore global and local business.

The Internationaal Project is a 10-day research trip for participants of the two-year, Dutch-taught Parttime Master Bedrijfskunde programme. The executive students from the Class of 2018 developed their own research question around an area of interest.

Rich and poor in Brazil

In São Paulo, the 17 students explored companies to discover more about Brazil’s water management, sports and education, an NGO, and Syrian refugees in Brazil.

The group also followed lectures at FGV’s São Paulo School of Business Administration about social entrepreneurship and politics in Brazil. Student and independent management consultant Ubel van der Werff was impressed with the international project. “I will never forget our visits to the favelas. It’s impressive that rich and poor people can live so close together. The week was really well-organised and I liked our group very much. This experience really moved me.”

Vertical urbanisation in Shanghai

In Shanghai, the 39 students investigated topics including the benefits of urban green for employees, drivers of CSR and procurement, liquid natural gas in Shanghai, entry barriers for Dutch fashion brands, and vertical urbanisation.

Student Dirk-Jan van der Woude, who is an area manager sales for BMW Group Netherlands, says: “China was BMW’s largest sales market in 2016. Our electrical car, the i3 also does really well in China. I now know why.” Van der Woude said he learned China really makes an effort in cleaning up the environment, but still has a long way to go. “Our research project was about China’s energy transition and switch from dirty coal to cleaner energies like gas and renewables, and we visited many companies, both international and Chinese.”

Business community networking

The Shanghai project, which took place from 3 to 12 June, was organised in collaboration with the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, which is part of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. One of the companies the group visited was Sany Global, a Chinese multinational heavy machinery manufacturing company with more than 90,000 employees. “It was a fascinating experience,” Van der Woude said.

Another highlight was a reception with RSM alumni based in China, at which Rotterdam’s Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb spoke about the relationship between Rotterdam and Shanghai. Around 100 alumni and representatives of the Dutch Business Community in Shanghai attended this networking event.

Urban farming in Cape Town

The 47 students who travelled to Cape Town attended lectures at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, and visited companies and townships to explore urban farming, collaboration in innovation hubs, motivating marginalised young adults, and the production of solar panels.

“Cape Town is beautiful and there is great wine so of course we enjoyed ourselves. But the focus was on our research,” says Vera Schuijn, marketing and communication officer at A. de Jong Groep and student in RSM’s Parttime Master Bedrijfskunde programme. “We met people in the townships. One strong woman told us about life in the black community. It changed my view on Africa.” Schuijn said it was a unique experience to travel and work intensively with her classmates for 10 days. “We got to know each other a lot better. You really build lasting friendships when combining fun and hard work during this International Project.”  

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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