Study trips inspire RSM MBA students in seven cities worldwide

Full-time and Executive MBA students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) travelled to seven countries to explore global business. The study trips, which are part the RSM MBA curricula, took place in Portugal, Costa Rica, the UK, Germany, the USA, China and Canada from 27 August – 2 September 2017.

Each of the seven locations had a different business theme. The 236 participants from RSM’s International Full-time MBA, Executive MBA and the Cologne-Rotterdam Executive MBA could choose which location or topic they wanted to explore. At each location, the programme and lectures were hosted by one of RSM’s international partner schools.

Business in China

The 38 students travelling to Beijing investigated how to do business in China by visiting companies including GE Health and For American MBA student Ashley Kresl, the highlight of the study tour to Beijing was to learn about companies excelling in the digital space, from social media platforms such as WeChat to eCommerce giants like

“The study tour opened my eyes to how little I understood about the Chinese market,” says Kresl. “Before the trip, I had a superficial understanding of China’s business landscape. By actually coming to Beijing, participating in our class sessions, and exploring the city myself, I challenged my assumptions and began building a real understanding of business in China.”

From finance in London, to sustainable business in Costa Rica

In Hamburg, 30 students learned about supply chain management in the Port of Hamburg, and at Kuehne + Nagel, Airbus and Philips Medical Systems.

In London, the 36 professionals focused on the financing of companies over their lifecycles. The study trip included speakers and company visits including Royal Bank of Scotland, S&P Global Ratings, and HSBC.

The 25 participants who travelled to San Jose, Costa Rica learned about sustainable business in a (striving) sustainable society by visiting a sustainable tourism organisation and innovative coffee plantation Coopedota.

Digital disruption and North American politics

The FinTech landscape and digital disruption of financial services was the topic in Toronto, Canada. The 38 students visited Scotiabank or IBM, and explored cases including digital currencies and bitcoin. There was also a networking even with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

In Washington DC, participants investigated business, international trade and the politics of globalisation. In addition to a capital tour and baseball game, the 31 students explored cases about intellectual property and compulsory licenses, and visited organisations such as World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Social entrepreneurship in Portugal

Participants (38) in Lisbon explored technology and social entrepreneurship, including perspectives from the CEO of Randstad Portugal and Unilever Iberia. The trip included a ‘mini living management project’ in which students solved actual business issues for organisations.

Executive MBA participant Kim Zwarts, who is a business controller at FNV, said her highlight of the study trip to Lisbon was winning the business idea pitch with her team for Cercica, a local organisation. “It’s exciting that our idea might get implemented. Our team will definitely stay in touch with Cercica to see the progress.”

Zwarts added: “I’m working on starting up my own social enterprise. So the entrepreneurship boot camp of IES Social Business School was really useful, providing me with a clear framework to get started.”

The Lisbon study trip also featured a visit to a prison and lunch with the Dutch ambassador at his residency.

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


Alumni , Companies , Executive education , Homepage , International , Newsroom , MBA , EC for women and organisations , China