MBA team dynamics key in solving real-life business challenges

Acting as consultants, student teams from the International Full-time MBA programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) worked on specific issues for 10 companies during the three-week Living Management Project in July 2017. Business challenges covered topics such as strategy, sustainability and marketing – and took place on campus and at companies while working with the organisations’ management teams.

In the RSM MBA Living Management Project (LMP), companies worked with high-quality and professional MBA students, who focused on the company’s posed organisational challenge, bringing innovative ideas, diverse perspectives and sustainable solutions to the business.

Problem-solving in ‘pressure cooker environment’

In total, 95 students from RSM’s MBA Class of 2018 and 10 companies participated in this year’s Living Management Project from 3 – 21 July. The companies were Adidas, Cornelder, FrieslandCampina, Nationale-Nederlanden, Google, Philips Avent, Philips Light & Health, Claranet, Eurail, and IBM. Most activities took place on campus, but some teams also visited the offices of the company they were consulting for.

“This project gave us the chance to employ our problem-solving skills to a real business problem and provided us unique insights in the business of our client,” says MBA student Arjan Bot, whose team worked on a business challenge for IBM involving technology opportunities. “In a ‘pressure cooker’ environment our team became experts in a topic we were unfamiliar with before, pushing the performance of the team to the limits. I learned a lot from my team members and the team dynamics throughout the challenge and we also had a lot of fun!”

Putting knowledge into action

Each company presented a current problem on its agenda for which they have no solution yet, hoping the students’ bright ideas can progress their projects. In assigned teams of five, the MBA students worked on a business challenge, with a selection of key resources and a tight deadline. They applied everything they learned in the MBA programme plus additional research. Students also received additional on-the-job coaching integrated into their personal leadership development track.

Zimbabwean MBA student Kudzai Mtemeri’s team worked on a strategic challenge for Philips Avent. “LMP was true to life pressure and management in practice with diverse teams,” she said. “I learned as much about myself and the other members as I did about real-life management projects.”

A taste of real-world consulting

The young professionals in the RSM MBA are 95 per cent international, have an average age of 30, and have worked in various industries for an average of 7 years. Their management courses include statistics, marketing, HRM, accounting, strategy, and operations.

MBA student Udit Dhonde says his learning highlights also included the team dynamics. “This is definitely one of the most important aspects of programme. You will get a lot of help along the way, and that makes it all the better."

Dhonde, whose team focused on strategy and marketing for Google Adwords, added: “This was real-world learning. If you put a lot in and do it right, those three weeks give you a taste of what actual consulting looks like. You might find it fun, you might find it an ordeal, but I guarantee it’s not boring."

Team bonding

In addition to the tough challenges, some teams also came up with team bonding activities including a speed boat trip in Rotterdam and pole dancing. Teams were encouraged to be creative and pitch their experience at the networking barbecue that concluded the Living Management Project. The winning team of the Team Fun Event, which was not a compulsory part of the project, won tickets to Dutch amusement park ‘Efteling’.

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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