MBA study trips explore business in Asia, South America and Europe

Participants from two MBA programmes at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) went on study tours to São Paulo, Lisbon, Chengdu and Hong Kong in late September 2015. The study tours are a part of RSM’s MBA curriculum and give participants the opportunity to experience international business and perspectives first-hand.

Students from RSM’s International Full-time MBA Class of 2016 and RSM’s Executive MBA Class of 2015 travelled to the study tour destinations of their choice, which also included Mexico City, Washington DC, and Hamburg and Berlin in Germany. The study trip to Lisbon, Portugal, was hosted by Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The 46 RSM MBA participants visited companies and attended lectures on strategy and internationalisation, doing business in Africa, growth in the global economy, and entrepreneurship in Europe.

Innovation in Portugal

Swati Gupta, an International Full-time MBA student from India, was most impressed by the company visit to pulp and paper company Portucel. “I never imagined the underlying complexity of the value chain of paper, from selecting the best quality of wood, the quality depending on the water content and thickness measure of the paper, and the extent to which the industry was automated at each level.”

Gupta said she was also fascinated to learn about Portugal’s economics and innovation through the eyes of the country’s secretary of the state for innovation, Pedro Gonçalves, who joined the MBA students from RSM and Lisbon for a networking dinner. “I now know the extent to which the economy of the country is dependent on its politics. He was well-equipped with the knowledge of economic parameters which can be tuned to drive the country towards a successful future,” she said.

Internationalisation in China

The study trip to Asia, in which 40 MBA students participated, included two cities: Chengdu in China, and Hong Kong. The part in Chengdu was hosted by University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), and included company visits and lectures on the Chinese economy, internationalisation of Chinese enterprises, and legal issues for foreign investments in China.

“The study trip gave us the opportunity to see the real China,” said Duna Uribe, a Brazilian/American student in RSM’s Executive MBA Class of 2015. Uribe added that it was enriching to see the differences in cultural behaviour, in business dealings and in language.

Business in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the students were welcomed at the Dutch embassy residence. The study programmes was hosted by the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition to company visits, the MBA participants learned about China’s outbound investment and its global impact, challenging accepted wisdom in a business start-up, and 30+ years of doing business in China.

“The key takeaway for me is that the world will definitely become more Asia centric in the next years to come,” said Uribe, adding that especially China and India will be the driver of investments, consumer preferences and power though population and economic growth. “This experience was a huge eye-opener for me regarding the growing importance of Asia in a global perspective,” she said.

Finance and banking in Brazil

The study tour to São Paulo was hosted by FGV’s São Paulo School of Business Administration. The 28 MBA participants from RSM visited a range of companies, and attended lectures about Latin American politics and history, finance and banking in Brazil, marketing for a low-income population, entrepreneurship, and legal aspects of doing business in Brazil. In addition to company visits and lectures, participants networked with RSM alumni in Brazil during social dinners. 

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school and ranked 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 an office 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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