MBAs use diversity to solve real life business issues

MBA participants at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) put their knowledge into practice during the Living Management Consultancy Project. During the two-week project, which completed in July 2014, student teams took on real life business challenges for Ahold, AudioNova, Tata Consultancy Services, and Tebodin.

In teams of five or six students, participants from RSM’s Full-time International MBA programme were presented with their assigned company’s business challenge, a selection of key resources and a very tight deadline. For almost two weeks, the participants immersed themselves completely in the assignment, applying everything they have learned in their course work and doing additional research on the side. Upon conclusion of the project, the teams reported their findings and recommendations both in writing and in a live presentation.

“For me the benefits of participating in Living Management Consultancy Project go beyond having a first experience as a consultant within a company or participating in a real life challenge,” said RSM MBA student Javier Herrera Torrubia. “The real benefit is to learn how to overcome the challenges of working in an internationally-diverse team where everybody has different perspectives and proposes different approaches to address the same problem. Learning how to collaborate, listen, understand and accept other people’s ideas is the most important benefit for me”.

Putting knowledge into practice

During the Living Management Consultancy Project 2014, participants showed their ability to analyse and synthesise complex problems; practice critical thinking and structured analysis; make and implement decisions; practice team and leadership skills; and be creative and open-minded. This year’s participating companies were Ahold, an international retailing group; AudioNova International, one of Europe’s leading hearing aid providers; Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT company; and Tebodin, which is part of the international engineering and services company Bilfinger SE.

MBA student Antonio Pradas Cortés said that the project is “a unique opportunity to use all the knowledge and skills that we previously acquired and developed during the MBA.” He added that one the most important issues to deal with is the internationally diverse composition of each team. “Decisions and solutions are reached after taking into account various opinions and points of view; something which could not have happened in a more homogenous team with less nationalities involved in,” said Pradas Cortés.

“You get a glimpse at what a real consulting project looks like,” said MBA participant Daniel Stavropoulos, who worked on a case for Tebodin. “These insights help you identify and develop your toolbox for your career. The team’s diversity was helpful to approach the project from different angles. Another plus is enhancing your presentation skills,” said Stavropoulos.

Generating new ideas

The companies which participated in the project were highly impressed by the well-researched and reasoned strategy recommended by the MBA students. “The Living Management Consultancy Project is a great way not only to generate new ideas and get a fresh look on business issues, but also to meet interesting people who are driven and highly motivated,” said Frank van der Vis, CEO of AudioNova International. 

The main learning outcomes of the real life consulting assignment were to be able to recognise how different aspects of a business relate to one another in handling complex management challenges, analyse complex open management problems with access to only limited information, and to experience the difficulty of tackling an open management problem in a highly complex and uncertain world. 

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.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at 

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