RSM MBA students successful at UK sustainability challenge

At a business school competition in the UK, students from the International Full-time MBA programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) were runners-up during the final of the One Planet Sustainability Challenge 2015. The competition was organised by the University of Exeter Business School in partnership with WWF-International, and took place on the university’s campus in Devon, UK, on 22 and 23 June 2015.

The One Planet MBA Sustainability Challenge offers teams from international business schools the chance to develop practical solutions to a sustainability issue. The nine teams in the 2015 final – seven from the UK, one from France, and RSM from the Netherlands – were challenged to find a solution for social enterprise Blue Venture to help the Vezo community of Madagascar to increase its socio-economic state, and to come up with recommendations to empower women in the organisation.


Empowering women in Madagascar

The RSM MBA team, which was called ‘Gaia’, won second place in the finals and brought home a trophy. The team members from RSM’s International Full-time MBA Class of 2016 were Binita Ramla (South African), Danah Lee (South Korean) and Fahimah Noor Ngah (Malaysian). Within the two days of the competition, the students put forward initiatives to empower women in the Vezo community and keep them engaged in the long-term for Blue Ventures’ activities.


Practical solutions

“The challenge serves a life purpose for us,” said Fahimah Noor Ngah. “It was tough because all teams delivered awesome ideas and presentations.” Ngah added that the whole team was passionate and confident about their idea, not only to win, but to genuinely help raising the Vezo's socio-economic state. “We offered the most simple and practical solution by re-engineering Blue Ventures' current business process that targets specifically to these local women to be empowered indirectly,” she said, adding that co-operation and idea or process realignment are the two key factors for a successful team presentation, especially when working under pressure.


Sustainability and business

Danah Lee said her biggest learning point was how to collaborate with her team members to successfully analyse the case and make a presentation within two days. “It was quite intense. To maximise efficiency of our time, we always planned before researching and made sure we all agreed on the agenda.” She added that she particularly enjoyed interacting with other MBA participants from all over the world. “It was very interesting to discuss sustainability and business with them.”

This year’s One Planet Sustainability Challenge winner was the team from the University of Birmingham.

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 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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