Top finance graduates complete ‘rollercoaster master’

Pride and joy could be felt when the first cohort of the MSc Finance & Investments Advanced programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) entered the festive venue to celebrate their graduation on campus on 14 December 2017. Their ceremony represented the close-knit bond among the class, and focused on how students can continue to step out of their comfort zone to be a force for positive change.

Out of the 39 graduates, 20 attended the ceremony with their family and friends. The Class of 2017 cohort represents 13 nationalities, including American, British, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish. They have an average Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score of 712. The top finance graduates and their 70 guests were welcomed by Dean Steef van de Velde.

Embracing diversity

Keynote speaker Caroline Oosterbaan, head of corporate banking products and executive committee member at NIBC Bank told the graduates they are in a good position to be a force for positive change. Oosterbaan also shared some important lessons that she would have liked to know earlier on in her career. “I have learned to listen to understand, not listen to respond. Also, don’t be shy to ask questions. And, be critical and ask yourself every day what you can do better,” she said.

She also reminded the students of their responsibility towards the society as a whole, and encouraged them to embrace diversity not only in gender but also in nationalities and personalities.

Easy is boring

The graduation represented the personal, family-like atmosphere that the close-knit students have felt throughout the programme.

Graduate Azra Pala took the stage and told the audience the advanced master programme was a perfect growth opportunity because it forced her and her classmates to step out of their comfort zone. She also said close friendships emerged from day one. “We spent so much free time together, for example by playing tennis or going to the gym. Our motto was to ‘work hard, and work out harder’,” she said.

Pala added the master was like a rollercoaster. “We went through the highest of highs and lived unforgettable moments, but also got through hard times with a high workload and pressure. It wasn’t easy, but then again, easy is boring.”

Dream internships

The programme’s career coach Vildana Gačić described her 16-month journey with the students that was not a ‘walk in the park’ as she initially expected, but an unforgettable time with a study trip to Frankfurt, many career events, sleepless nights, and great successes when the students found their dream internships. As part of her heartfelt speech, she shared funny memories and pictures from the programme’s events.

When the students were called on stage to receive their degrees, academic director Prof. Dirk Schoenmaker shared a small anecdote about each student, proving how ambitious, active and clever this unique group of students is.

The Dean’s honours list or cum laude graduates include graduates Daan van Egmond, Maximilian Kraemer, Azra Pala, Richard Hemmelrath, Matthias Altmann, Linda Rosenbrand, Moritz Wiedemann, Alexander Schaetz, Mike Gruenwald, Martin Brousil, Koen Willemsen, and Johannes Karlsson.

The highly talented students are off to a great start into their careers. They have landed internship and job offers in banking and consulting in companies including J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Rothschild, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, Google and Unilever.

MSc Finance & Investments Advanced

RSM’s 16-month, 90 ECTS MSc Finance & Investments Advanced programme is a selective and advanced-level programme offering demanding content to recognise students of exceptional ability, quantitative skills and advanced knowledge, as well as their managerial and social skills. It features more personal and closer interaction with businesses and organisations in the industry as well as highly interactive and small classes.

Companies can partner with this exclusive group of world-class finance students. There are many mutual benefits to being a corporate partner of this unique programme, including real-life business case support, recruitment opportunities, and networking opportunities with highly talented young professionals and a top finance research group.

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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