MBA study trip builds education about international business

Three cohorts of MBA students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) spent the last days of summer globetrotting on an international study trip in eight countries on four continents. The three groups of contemporaries – all studying MBA programmes at RSM – networked with companies, international organisations and other universities and business schools during their five-day itineraries.

In total, 130 students from the International Full-time MBA, 109 from the Executive MBA and 20 from the Cologne-Rotterdam Executive MBA visited Kourou in Guiana; Hamburg in Germany; London in the UK; Lisbon in Portugal; Shanghai in China; Washington DC and Los Angeles in the USA; and Toronto in Canada. They visited companies such as Tencent’s Maker Space in Shanghai, ING in London and the World Bank offices in Washington DC for presentations and workshops.

International approaches

Their international study experience includes finding out more about stakeholder management in a challenging environment, international finance in practice, supply chain management, doing business in China, having a social impact through innovation, international marketing and differences in marketing approaches in different localities and  behavioural economics, international trade, fintech (informational technology for banking and finance) and digital disruption.

The study trip to Guiana was organised in collaboration with the European Space Agency, who invited the RSM students to the Guiana Space Center, the site of several rocket launches every year.

Business with passion

Dorothy Seguy, Category Product Manager at Vlisco Netherlands BV and a participant on the Lisbon Study Trip said: "social innovators whom we met in Lisbon drive their business with great energy! They just go for what they are passionate about and find very practical solutions to implement. It gave me both energy and will to do the same and put all my passion and sweat in a work I believe in. In the end, the answer is just really close to us."

Real world

Student Hugo Berrini da Fonseca said: “During the trip to Toronto we learnt about FinTech landscapes and the possible applications of technology. Blockchain is a buzzword right now, so I  think it’s very important for us as future managers to understand what is real and what is not in this world, and how we can apply such new technology across different industries.”

The activities covered a huge range of business activities, industry sectors and formats. They included:

A study trip to John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA in California USA, organised in collaboration with UCLA Business School. Students stayed on campus, joined classes, attended presentations by Prof. Stephen Spiller and Prof. Suzanne Shu, and visited Amgen’s offices.

At Fudan University‘ School of Management in Shanghai, China, RSM students learnt more about doing business in China with a presentation about the political and cultural environment by Prof. Dunren Zhou, and about neuroscience and leadership by Prof. Elise Zhu. They visited AdvanTech to find out more about innovation and R&D, and attended presentations about innovation and foreign entrepreneurship in China.

At Hamburg’s Kühne Logistics University (KLU) they learned more about human decision making in logistics in the era of AI from Prof. J. Fransoo, about Airbus from Heino Ostermeier, about port management from Prof. M. Acciaro, and green logistics from Prof. A. McKinnon. They visited Philips Medical Systems, Vopak’s port terminal, and Kuehne + Nagel.

At NOVA University in Lisbon, they attended a masterclass on social entrepreneurship and shareholder activism, and a boot camp on the subject of social impact and innovation. They visited the non-profit Pão a Pão organisation for Syrian refugees which runs a restaurant, and attended a lunch reception at the Dutch Ambassador’s residence.

RSM students visiting Washington DC heard guest speakers Gerry Gunster, CEO of Gunster Strategies, and Aaron Walker, Senior Vice President of Edelman speaking about international issue advocacy campaigns; Prof. Marc Busch on globalisation; and Prof. Raj Desai on analysing multilaterals. They attended a national baseball game – the Washington Nationals against the Milwaukee Brewers.

With lectures in London’s Shard building in the City of London, RSM students visiting the UK were at the heart of the country’s financial capital. They had presentations on SEOs and IPOs, start-up entrepreneurs, the financial crisis by David Baumslag from the Bank of England; and visited ING bank. Company visits were to private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., and S&P’s Global Ratings offices.

Hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA), students visiting Korou in Guiana were given a guided tour of the space port and a presentation from Arianespace, the world's leading satellite launch company. They met with international stakeholders the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and data collection and digital connectivity firm MOBAPI at the Chamber of Commerce, and attended a lecture on management in sensitive environments.

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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