KPMG award goes to master thesis on socially-responsible purchasing

Sophie Gaarenstroom, a recent graduate from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), won this year’s KPMG RSM Sustainable Master Thesis Award for her thesis Socially responsible purchasing and its effect on operational and relational efficiency: the mediating role of buyer-supplier collaboration level. The thesis from 2013 explains how socially-responsible purchasing can be beneficial for companies.

Gaarenstroom, an MSc in International Management / CEMS alumna, was recognised for her excellent thesis and presented with a € 1,000 prize by Jan van den Herik, Director of Strategy & Innovation at KPMG during the second annual RSM Sustainability Forum in Rotterdam.

Runner-up Britt de Lang, an MSc in Global Business and Stakeholder Management (GBSM) alumna from RSM, received a prize of € 500 in recognition for her 2013 thesis Microfinance over-indebtedness, truth or myth?: an exploratory study of market trends related to high outreach in microfinance markets.

KPMG has sponsored the KPMG RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award since 2006. The award aims to honour work which combines academic excellence and business relevance in sustainability management. The jury comprised Jan van den Herik from KPMG; Jan Bom, editor-in-chief of P+ magazine, Elfrieke van Galen, partner at TheRockGroup; and Tim van Kooten, former issues manager at Shell. In describing the jury’s assessment, Bom praised the strength of each of the five shortlisted theses, noting that they had “impact for business” and that they were “well-written, well-reasoned,” and took novel new approaches to creating knowledge around sustainable business.

Video ‘selfies’ reveal personal motivation

In addition to Gaarenstroom and De Lang, the other nominees for this year’s award were Daphne Blokhuis, MSc GBSM 2013 for her thesis Scaling inclusive business; Joost Boer, MSc Strategic Management 2013 for his thesis In conversation with people at the ‘base of the pyramid’; and Laura van de Ven, MSc Marketing Management 2013 for Fair play via fair pay.

For the first time, the five nominees were asked to make short video ‘selfies’ in which they described their interest in their chosen thesis topic. This provided the audience of the RSM Sustainability Forum with a more up-close-and-personal feel for the nominees and the motivation behind their theses.

“I’m very proud of the RSM students who wrote these theses,” said RSM Dean of Faculty Abe de Jong as he thanked KPMG, the speakers and students who had all made the RSM Sustainability Forum such a success. “Ultimately we hope that this type of research, and events like the Sustainability Forum, will lay the foundations of sustainability in business.”

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. 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 carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

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