IBA Curriculum

IBA Curriculum

RSM's International Business Administration (IBA) programme takes a broad approach, yet offers differentiation as well. You will investigate each functional area of business during at least two courses for each topic. The research-oriented approach is reflected in a track of research courses throughout the entire programme. Your professional development will be stimulated in a similar track. For most courses, you will attend plenary lectures and work in small groups, allowing for lively interaction and tailored feedback. Many courses chose a distinctly international approach, both content-wise, but also valuing the diversity that exists within the IBA student population consisting of 60 different nationalities. Upon successful completion of the IBA you will receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.

  • The first year of the IBA bachelor programme consists of four blocks and provides you with an overview of the main processes in most companies: production, marketing, organisation, finance and information. You will learn about all the relevant dimensions of business administration and management. You will also learn the communication skills needed to work in multicultural groups in the Professional Development track. And, you will benefit from our student mentor programme, designed to help you get used to student life at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    • During the first year, students are introduced to international business through a combination of theoretical and skills-related courses that are the foundation for a career in management.

      The first year in the IBA programme has been impressive and enjoyable. The international vibe and integrated learning can be experienced from day one.” – Sabine Sara (Indonesian)

      “During my first year of IBA, I learned so many new skills and met the best group of people to be surrounded by. The courses were challenging, but very manageable if you put some effort into it.” – Kevin Ren (Dutch) 

    • It can be tough to move from high school to university. That’s why the IBA Professional Development and Mentoring Programme helps you to settle in during your first year. You will also develop professional skills that you’ll need in today’s business world. As a first-year student, you will be guided by a mentor, an experienced and well-trained older student who has undergone arigorous selection process to support you in this role.

      “This programme is very helpful, especially as an international student. A second year mentor guides you, along with 15 other students, through the first trimester. The themes of the sessions are diverse, for example studies, exams, student life, and the city, this definitely helps you to get acquainted to your new life.” – Arthur Petit (French) 

      “The mentor programme offers a place that you can have a small family of friends and learn about all the things that are waiting for you. It’s the best way to share concerns with a second-year student who has already experienced your current life.” – Cansu Alp (Turkish)

    • Right from the start, IBA students are expected to be able to write a real business plan. Working in groups of four and after meeting with employees from their chosen business, students make an internal and external analysis of the firm’s activities, check its financial position, analyse options and dangers from the outside market and devise a strategic plan to improve the firm’s chances of survival in the market – and even expand its activities. This project requires the ability to work in a team and communicate effectively – these are the skills honed in the Professional Development track. In the past, students have written plans for companies such as Bavaria and Rotterdam The Hague airport.

      “Working on a strategic business plan with three other teammates during a semester helped me turn theory into practice and get a good insight into the business world. The company we created a plan for was glad to get an outside perspective for potential future actions.” – Pauline Heurthe (French)

      By speaking to the CEO and getting an insight in what a company really is and what problems it faces, we could gain some unique experience; it’s something you can never learn from a book.” – Nikita Reshetnikov (Russian)

    • The binding study advice policy states the minimum number of credits you need in your first year of registration to be able to continue your studies. IBA students need to pass all their first-year courses during their first year to be able to continue into Year 2.

      “The binding study advice was a lot less stressful than I originally expected it to be thanks to the weekly online tests and workshops that helped me stay on track throughout the trimesters.” – Marissa Berghuis (Dutch)

      "At first I thought it would be impossible to pass the year without re-doing exams, but in practice I proved that it is possible. All you need is focus, motivation and confidence.” – Yuliia Ponomarenko (Ukrainian) 

  • The second year of the IBA programme also consists of four blocks, but courses such as the research project or entrepreneurship will stretch over a longer time. In the Professional Development track your personal skills will be further enhanced. The increasing importance of contributing to sustainable business is reflected in our course responsible business leadership’. By the end of year two, the fixed part of the programme is completed.

    • The second year of the IBA programme expands your knowledge and develops your research skills, with courses such as Quantitative Decision Making and Applied Business Methods. A wide array of topics are covered, with courses focusing on everything from strategy to marketing, finance, and cross-cultural management.

      “In the second year, I felt like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. Everyone was proud that they had passed their first year with 60 credits, and this created a really relaxed atmosphere, where hard work, exchange opportunities and future focus were the main aspects of our daily mindset.” – Alyssa Beitsma (Dutch) 

      “In the second year you'll start to understand the possibilities RSM offers you. For example applying for an exchange or an internship, or deciding which minor to specialise in are turnkey moments for your career.” – Théo Fromentin (British/French)

    • If you are prepared for a bigger academic challenge, you should know that Erasmus University Rotterdam offers two English-taught honours programmes on interdisciplinary subjects. They bring students from various programmes together to jointly work on a broad subject.

      And, IBA students can also apply for RSM’s undergraduate honours programme on innovative entrepreneurship and a study trip to Silicon Valley. Honours programmes count as extra credit on top of the regular BSc programme.

    • The Erasmus School of Philosophy offers a unique Double Degree programme for students who wish to obtain a second degree in philosophy. This programme is highly flexible and can efficiently be combined with the International Business Administration programme offered at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. A degree in philosophy is an excellent complement to any other degree. In the current age of uncertainty and rapidly advancing technologies, knowledge of philosophical problems and skills remains relevant. In this programme, you will learn to express arguments clearly and to think critically and creatively.

    • Any academic business study has its foundations in technology and industry, so a good working knowledge of industry and industrial processes is essential. The IBA programme has formed a partnership with our neighbouring university, Technical University Delft, in which RSM’s IBA students work with students from Delft on an assignment which requires both groups of students to understand each other’s worlds of business and industry. This part of the programme encourages mutual understanding of business and industry, an essential skill for any manager.

      “This course enables you to broaden your scope, to learn something about the ever-growing technology side of business. Although challenging, it certainly is one of the most interesting courses I have had.” – Michelle Dieben (Dutch) 

  • In the first half of the 3rd Bachelor year you are required to create your own customized programme of 30 EC. In order to do so, you can choose from a diverse offering of minors, an internship, an exchange and/or elective courses. Depending on the amount of EC earned for the minor, internship or exchange, you will need to ‘fill up’ to at least 30 EC with elective courses. If you have not followed a minor, an intership or exchange, then you can fill up the total amount of 30 EC with elective courses.

    RSM will offer several electives, taking place in block 10 (November-December) and block 11 (January-February). Most of the RSM electives are English taught, with the exception of a few. Next to the RSM electives, you can choose from a language elective, or electives outside RSM at EUR, outside EUR and even abroad.

    The electives offered in block 10 will be online this year, allowing you to do them even if you’re not in The Netherlands. The electives in block 11 will be taught on campus. All RSM electives will terminate before the tracks start in block 12 (mid-February).

    In the second half of the 3rd Bachelor year (block 12, 13 and 14) students are required to choose one out of the five available ‘tracks’. A track is a combination of three 5 EC courses and the Bachelor Project, 20 EC in total, on a coherent field within the field of business administration. The Bachelor Project – the successor of the former Bachelor Thesis – clearly belongs to the chosen track and entails a mix of individual and group work. The execution of the Bachelor Project will vary from track to track.

    Next to the different tracks, there are still two compulsory courses for all. Advanced Research Methods as a preparation for the Bachelor Project, and Digital Business (5 EC).

    The tracks take a broader approach than our Master programmes and let you see for instance that knowledge on human behaviour is relevant for personnel management within companies, but also for marketing. 

    RSM students can choose one of the following tracks:

    • Analytical Decision-makers (data, operations)
    • Performance Analysts (finance, accounting)
    • Behavioural Experts (marketing, diversity, behaviour)
    • Global Thinkers (international business, strategy)
    • Business Developers (entrepreneurship, innovation)
    • The third year of the IBA programme offers students a range of options.

      During the first half of the third year, ending 1 February, you need to earn 30 EC in total.

      You can choose:

      1. To do an international exchange at one of RSM’s partner schools, for 20 EC minimum and 30 EC maximum
      2. To conduct an international internship, for 15 EC minimum and 20 EC maximum
      3. To do a minor (mostly broadening, sometimes deepening), of 15 EC, or 30 EC if you choose the one jointly offered with Leiden and Delft University

      If you do not exactly end up with 30 EC, you can take one or more electives – either at RSM or elsewhere.

      The second half of the third year is comprised of 30 EC. Next to the compulsory Advanced research training and the Digital business course, you can choose from five different tracks consisting of three modules, allowing you to follow your interests and deepen your knowledge. You will write a Bachelor thesis which will fall within your chosen track.

    • For many students, spending an exchange semester abroad at one our partner universities is a valuable opportunity to make an early investment in their future international career, and widen their professional network. Our partner universities are all of high repute and well-ranked. They all have similar accreditations to ours. Students study at the partner university from the end of the summer term until January, and must obtain at least 20 ECTS during the exchange.  Click here for a list of our partner universities.

      For students who would like to go on a short-term programme in the summer, we also have agreements with a number of schools in Europe, Asia and the USA for our students to have priority access to their summer programmes.

      "My exchange at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania was probably the most amazing experience of my life. Not only did I have the chance to interact with some of the best professors in the world, but I had the opportunity to explore a very different part of the world. This opened a world of opportunities. This would have not been possible without RSM." – Andrea Petrini (Italian)

      "During my four-month exchange in Canada I made many new international friends and explored Canada and the USA for the first time. It was my longest time abroad and also one of the most enriching experiences in my life!" – Matthias Man (Dutch) 

    • There is no substitute for real working experience. The IBA programme gives you the opportunity to complete an international internship lasting at least 10 weeks and worth 15 ECTS. Although academic in approach, the international internship gives you in-depth knowledge and practical experience in a company of your choice. Non-Dutch students can do this in the Netherlands or abroad. Dutch students must choose a destination outside of the Netherlands for a truly international experience.

      "The bachelor internship enabled me to explore a field of my interest, the aviation industry, while also improving my skills in online marketing and customer acquisition. While I didn’t completely master chopstick eating in four months, I did become a fan of Chinese soup and most importantly learned a lot about myself!” – Victor Val Mas (Spanish)

    • Your IBA programme concludes with your Bachelor thesis. For this, you must study and train in research methodology. The thesis is used to measure your ability to present research and opinions – about management of businesses and organisations – in a well-structured, coherent, and academic document.  You’ll join a group of three students to write your Bachelor thesis, which will be based on a theme offered by one of RSM’s departments, and you’ll be closely supervised by an experienced member of academic staff.

      Successfully completing the thesis means you have mastered sufficient content and research knowledge for RSM to award you with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration.

      “Conducting your own research on a practice-oriented topic is a very interesting but time-consuming task. However, our work was worth it since my team delivered a thesis that we can be extremely proud of.” – Marina Arnaudova (Bulgarian) 

      “Research, data processing, data analysis and clear communication are all extremely valuable skills you can develop and strengthen during your bachelor thesis, and will help you regardless of what career path you choose to pursue.” – Akhilesh Deoras (Dutch)

    • Chicago, New York, Paris, Shanghai – not just a list of international destinations, but places our IBA students have actually visited during their annual IBA Study Trip, organised each year by STAR, RSM’s largest study association. These fascinating destinations are chosen because of their business environment, their universities, and their impressive attractions for international visitors. If you are selected as one of the 40 IBA students to join the trip, you’ll also discover the local shops and party scene!

    • Erasmus Consultancy Project (ECP), is a research project organized by STAR. Every year, ECP offers companies and non-profit organizations tailor-made research and consultancy services in an emerging market on a non-profit basis. ECP is carried out by approximately 25 carefully selected students at RSM Erasmus University, with the support of two professors. The consultancy adds sustainable value and high quality due to desk and field research which results in well considered decision-making for companies. In previous years, ECP has successfully completed projects in countries such as Mexico, India, Vietnam, Chile, Brazil, South-Korea and Thailand. Check out their website for more information on the Erasmus Consultancy Project.

    • The International Consultancy Project (ICP) is the most exciting and notable project organized by the Marketing Association EUR. Students are offered the possibility to put theory into practice, by conducting market research while gaining international experience and consultancy experience. Each year, roughly five teams of five student consultants are created. The students will start off with the acquisition of projects, to in this way define the projects that the teams are going to work with themselves. After that, the writing of research proposals and desk research will follow. The project will continue with 3 – 6 weeks of doing field research abroad, and finally pitching the solutions to the company. They will be actively involved in the entire process – from acquiring the projects they will work on, to doing field research abroad, and pitching their ideas to the company. Among previous destinations were Australia, India, China, Vietnam, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the USA and more.

    • The official graduation ceremony for students who have completed their BSc IBA studies is held in the fall. IBA graduates reunite for this special occasion, and are joined by friends and family from all over the world. The ceremony is always an enjoyable highlight for students and RSM staff.