Ilaria Orlandi wins Best Academic Coach Internship Award

Students who completed their bachelor internship this academic year evaluated Ilaria Orlandi as Best Academic Coach Bachelor Internship 2018-2019 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). She guided students through their internship trajectory, including feedback on the research topic within the company and the internship report.

“It’s rewarding to help students apply their theoretical knowledge to solve a concrete, relevant and specific problem that their firm is facing at that point in time. We discuss this problem, their role in helping the company find information and perspectives that can help solve the problem, find a research question to encapsulate the problem and finally help companies put into practical use the extended body of theoretical knowledge that they have built up during their studies at RSM to answer the question of interests,” said Ilaria Orlandi.

BSc internships

In the first trimester of the third-year in RSM’s bachelor programmes, students have the option to go on an international exchange, choose a minor or complete an internship. For the latter, students must write an internship proposal which needs to be approved by an academic coach. During the internship the students report to their academic coach, and the coach reviews and grades the final internship report. There were 24 coaches in total.

Approximately 200 students who did an internship during their seventh trimester, which took place from September until December 2018, rated their academic coach on:

  • guidance during the internship trajectory
  • communication and availability
  • the quality of feedback on the internship report.

Academic coach Ilaria Orlandi, PhD candidate in RSM’s department of strategic management and entrepreneurship, received the highest score from the students. She coached 6 students during their internships, which took place at organisations such as BMW Group, Taschenagentur Kramer, Future Initiative and PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH in various countries worldwide.

Impressing companies through research

Classmate Celina Scherbeck completed her internship at PwC, where she supported the Energy & Utilities Consultancy division. “Ilaria is a very kind and approachable coach, and provided me with valuable feedback and tips on how to gather data professionally in a business setting. The applicability of her structure-related feedback on the report has proven highly useful for my bachelor thesis too.”

“My internship was in the partnerships development department and Ilaria guided me to apply my work activities into the academic frameworks within strategic management, and took the time to discuss the assignment via Skype,” said third-year student Philip Wijgergangs, who completed his internship at Siteimprove in Copenhagen, Denmark.

And Sophie Winsche, who did an internship at the Taschenagentur Kramer in Hamburg, said Ilaria supported her research about how the company can successfully reposition itself to compete in the market for sustainability by “helping me to focus on the most important aspects and encouraging me to really go into substantial depth with my research.” Winsche said it helped her in writing a report that impressed the company by going beyond factors they already knew.

Scouting future talent

“Student internships are the first step into their career,” says RSM career development manager Irene Kroon. “They can discover if an industry, company and job meets their expectations, they develop skills they wouldn’t learn in the classroom, and they get a better understanding of how theory and practice are connected. We really recommend each student to do an internship during their studies.”

Irene Kroon says there are lots of benefits for companies to host an internship too. “Organisations can scout future talent better than during fairs, interviews or assessments, they have access to fresh ideas and let the intern work on a project they don’t have to time for or aren’t sure how to tackle.”

Ilaria Orlandi

Ilaria Orlandi is a PhD candidate in strategic management in RSM. Her research interests include the effects of social and psychological processes in corporate governance. Ilaria is a visiting scholar at the Management & Organization department at the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University. She obtained her master in philosophy (MPhil) degree in business and management in the field of organisational behaviour (cum laude) at RSM in 2015, and a BSc in economics and business economics (cum laude) from Erasmus School of Economics in 2013. 

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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