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It’s an entrepreneur’s life for increasing numbers of MBA graduates from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM, which produces more entrepreneurs than the other six faculties combined at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). RSM and EUR are not the only learning institutions to recognise this trend. Universities around the world have been stepping up their curricula to include entrepreneurial competences, so that graduates can better compete and succeed as entrepreneurs in the international and industry markets.

Entrepreneurship has taken on increasing importance in the agendas of MBA graduates at RSM and graduates of master, research master, and PhD programmes, plus those working on post-academic programmes, at EUR. This increasing attention on entrepreneurship is fully aligned with RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world and embraces EUR’s Erasmian value of ‘Enterprising’.

The evidence comes from a report, Insights into Erasmus University Rotterdam Alumni Entrepreneurs produced by Wilfred Mijnhardt, policy director at RSM, Dr Fabrizio Core, assistant professor at Erasmus School of Economics, Prof. Luca Berchicci of RSM’s department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. They worked with the EUR Alumni Relations Office and Erasmus Enterprise to dive deeper into the entrepreneurship activities at RSM and EUR. Their investigation led them to research how many EUR alumni are involved in venture creation in the Netherlands.

Opening own businesses

Between 2010 and 2021, it’s clear that most RSM MBA alumni chose to open their own businesses right after graduation, typically starting on their entrepreneurial journey within a year of graduation. In fact, out of the 3,366 MBA graduates that RSM produced during that time – with an average age of 36 – 4.1 per cent have become entrepreneurs. There were 54,438 graduates from EUR during the same period – with a slightly younger average age of 27 – and 2.3 per cent of them had opened their own business after graduation.

Favoured locations for these alumni entrepreneurs are Amsterdam, where 33 per cent of RSM MBA graduates and 41.5 per cent of EUR graduates established their businesses, and in Rotterdam where 6.4 per cent of RSM MBA graduates and 11 per cent of EUR graduates did so.

When it comes to serial entrepreneurs – those who have started more than one company – roughly 6.7 per  cent of RSM MBA alumni and 14 per cent of EUR alumni have started more than one business.

Female MBA alumni made up 18.18 per cent of the entrepreneurial number from RSM, while for EUR, 20.5 per cent of female EUR graduates became entrepreneurs. That percentage might seem low, but it’s considerably higher than the proportion from high-growth firms where only 11.6 per cent of companies have at least one female founder and/or C-suite manager, according to the Top 250 Groeibedrijven 2023 (article in Dutch).

Building and keeping a strong community

It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact on the university of this community of EUR alumni entrepreneurs, as well as the effect on its seven faculties and its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Recent successful initiatives such as Graduate Entrepreneur prove that such communities are beneficial.

For more information, you can read the report on the website of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship here: Insights into Erasmus University Rotterdam Alumni Entrepreneurs.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked 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.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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