International audience for bachelor graduation

A total of 785 bachelor graduates celebrated their graduations earlier this month, with 596 of them attending ‘twin’ graduation ceremonies, organised by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) at the New Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam. Another 1,700 viewers from over 50 countries tuned in to the livestream. The ceremonies for BSc Business Administration or Bedrijfskunde (BA) and BSc International Business Administration (IBA) students on Thursday and Friday, 15 and 16 November saw a graduating cohort representing 49 different nationalities in front of families and friends. Almost 60 per cent of them were international students.


BA graduation

The BA ceremony was led by programme manager Carolien Rijnsburger. In his opening address, Academic Director, Prof. Erik van Raaij summed up the cohort’s experience: of the 366 graduating (40 per cent women and 60 per cent men) about a third have been on internships, either in the Netherlands or other countries such as South Africa, China, Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Malta, India and Curaçao. More than 80 students did an international study exchange in universities all over Europe, in North and South America, in Asia, and in New Zealand.

He reminded graduates that they can help shape the world of tomorrow – a challenge and a big responsibility, particularly considering developments in the economy and in society. “We expect you to show 'positive leadership' with which you give substance to RSM's mission, to be a force for positive change in the world," he said.

The diplomas were presented by Prof. van Raaij and Jannet van der Woude, Executive Director of the programme to 251 graduands of the 366 who successfully graduated from the programme – the remainder could not be at the ceremony. Seven graduated cum laude.

A look back over the new graduates’ three years at RSM as students was given by BA graduates from the class of 2018, Elles van Geest and Kajal Falli, who described the highs and lows of their Bachelor in a ‘BA in two minutes’ movie.

IBA graduation

Executive Director of the IBA programme Adri Meijdam led the ceremony. The address was given by Dean of RSM, Prof. Steef van de Velde, and diplomas were presented by Prof. Steffen Giessner. Cum laude and Summa cum laude diplomas were presented by Prof. Gabriele Jacobs.

Of the 419 students who graduated from the IBA programme, 345 plus their families and friends attended the Rotterdam ceremony – with 47 graduating cum laude and seven summa cum laude.

Plans for the future

According to an IBA graduate exit survey (completed by almost 94 per cent of IBA graduates), a fifth of them chose to take a gap year after completing their bachelor studies, and almost half decided to continue their studies by joining one of RSM’s master programmes. Another fifth will do a master study programme at another university and 12 per cent of them said they will continue their studies after a gap year.

An entertaining celebration of friends and differences

Two graduates from the IBA class of 2018, Roberta Baccanti and Giacomo Peroni, shared memories of their three years of study with an ‘in-flight movie’ describing how they became part of an IBA family. They thanked the programme management team, professors, and their families for their support, and remembered their friend Kingsley James as one of the most caring, fun, and positive in their cohort. Kingsley died in June 2016 during his first year of the programme; his family were in the audience at the graduation ceremony.

Roberta and Giacomo said the cohort had learned how to work in academic teams, how to be collaborative, how to take care of themselves, how to buy bikes and ride them in the rain and wind; they reminisced about partying into the night and Rotterdam’s favourite but infamous fast food item, the kapsalon.

Internships and study exchanges made them stronger and more culturally aware, they said. Their proud graduations represented not an end, but a beginning.

American ‘Dutch’ comedian Greg Shapiro, performed his entertaining view of international cultural differences.

Watch it all over again

Roberta and Giacomo, and Greg Shapiro’s presentation, can be seen from 31m40s on the livestream recording of the BSc IBA graduation ceremony broadcast, which was watched live by 1700 family members and friends from over 50 countries. Livestream IBA graduation ceremony.

A graduation raising funds for charity

The twin graduation celebrations once again supported Friends of Sophia, a foundation that raises funds for the Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s hospital in Rotterdam. Proceeds from the sales of drinks tokens during both receptions were donated to the fund.


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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