RSM’s impact measured for the first time in BSIS assessment

For the first time, the local and regional impact of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has been officially measured – and the results are impressive. In monetary terms alone, RSM’s total financial impact on the economy of the city of Rotterdam is estimated at around € 433 million, and on the economy of the Randstad it is € 471 million. The assessment also measured intellectual impact, the impact of RSM on local business development, and societal impact, among other factors

Over the past few months RSM has been through a rigorous Business School Impact System assessment (BSIS) organised by EFMD Global to collect data that quantifies how it benefits the local environment. Benefits include creating new jobs and businesses, providing specialist employees, and conducting research into local issues. The BSIS assessors’ report is based on 120 indicators that measure seven kinds of impact, and it demonstrates RSM has a significant impact within the region. RSM will use the information and recommendations in the assessment as it develops and implements its strategy.

There are currently only 51 business schools across 17 countries that have received the BSIS label. The BSIS assessment used RSM data from 2019 to measure:

  • financial impact
  • educational impact
  • business development impact
  • intellectual impact
  • impact within the regional ecosystem
  • societal impact
  • image impact.

Measuring progress

“We can take pride from the findings in the BSIS report for what we have already achieved, but it’s also a benchmark from which to measure our progress,” said RSM Director of Marketing and Communications Willem Koolhaas. “Impact and engagement are already core elements of the RSM strategy, so the results of the assessment will provide a benchmark for other ways that we influence the region and from which to move forward,” he said. “The process also gave use a couple of new tools that can help us – and other organisations – to map opportunities and gaps for improving impact.”

Professor Ansgar Richter, Dean of RSM, said: “The BSIS process and outcome was instrumental in developing in-depth knowledge about our regional impact. It delivered some key insights that we will use in our strategic planning.”

RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world garnered special recognition. The BSIS assessors stated that the way the mission, based on the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), is embedded into so many RSM activities is ‘very impressive’ and confirmed that the mission is strongly embedded in the way RSM addresses regional challenges.

“We have already brainstormed for more ideas to make our work more impactful and help the region to become an area where positive change happens,” said Prof. Richter.

Achievements in impact – highlights

  • In 2019, RSM had an estimated financial impact in the Randstad of € 471 million, the vast majority of which is in the international transport hub of Rotterdam.
  • Students from the region constitute 38 per cent of the total student body, while national students from outside the region constitute 22 per cent.
  • 47 per cent of RSM’s international students find their first job within the Netherlands
  • Around 29,000 of RSM alumni work in the region.
  • There are 158 local companies with 500 employees or more that have RSM alumni in senior and leadership positions.
  • More than 70 professors are engaged in activities that transfer knowledge from their high-level research to business practices in the region
  • In 2019, 63 start-ups were facilitated in the Rotterdam region and 9 start-ups were created in the Randstad region with the help of RSM’s Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE).
  • Since RSM’s formation in 1970, more than 1,000 companies have been founded by RSM alumni.
  • 74 per cent of RSM research output is related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • 73 RSM faculty members have functions within local professional or civic bodies.
  • RSM was one of the first business schools in the world with an academic department dedicated to the role of business in society.
  • RSM has eight chairs (senior faculty positions) dedicated to CSR and sustainable development.
  • And an Erasmus University fact: 35 per cent of all board members of Dutch publicly listed companies are alumni of Erasmus University, the majority of which are from RSM or the Erasmus School of Economics.

The BSIS assessment made use of statistical data to quantify RSM’s impact, but also noted other positive effects that result from the School’s activities across the seven aspects of impact that they measured.

1. Financial impact

RSM’s direct and indirect financial impact, based on the school’s spending on all activities, and from the spending of students, participants and attendees at conferences and other events was measured:

  • the direct financial impact of RSM is € 61 million in the Rotterdam region and € 67.2 million across the Randstad impact zone.
  • the indirect financial impact evaluated to about € 62.7 million in the Rotterdam region and € 67.3 million for the Randstad impact zone.

That makes RSM’s total financial impact € 123.7 million for the Rotterdam impact zone and € 134.5 million in the Randstad region. The BSIS assessors said these figures are ‘significant’.

Taking all kinds of impact into account, the BSIS assessors estimated the total financial impact of RSM on the economy of Rotterdam to be around € 433 million, and in the Randstad, € 471 million.

2. Educational impact

RSM creates a huge educational impact thanks to the number of students having jobs and internships in the impact zones, and through alumni and executives employed in local companies. In this way, RSM influences the managerial community in the Randstad – the highly active region of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Utrecht. Master and MBA graduates gain employment regionally, nationally and internationally, and in fact 47 per cent of RSM’s international graduates get their first job within the Netherlands.

Around 28,502 of RSM’s alumni work in the region, many of whom are international alumni – this shows a significant level of impact for RSM’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled individuals, says the BSIS report.

Many of RSM’s alumni have gone on to make significant impact within the region. The report counted 158 local companies with more than 500 employees that have RSM alumni in senior and leadership positions. Participants in RSM’s Executive Education programmes in 2019 also come from a range of companies and a broad section of industries in the region.

3. Business development impact

The economic development of the Randstad – new businesses created, and services provided to established companies – is also an area in which RSM creates impact. Not only do students and programme participants become valuable resources for the local economy through their internships, special projects and employment, but also RSM contributes to the companies through the consulting activities of faculty members. More than 70 professors are engaged in activities that transfer knowledge from academic research to business practice.

The had a special mention; its impact is increased thanks to the alignment with RSM, Erasmus University and the city of Rotterdam. The BSIS assessment considered the ‘very substantial’ impact of RSM resulting from internships, short missions, consulting activities of faculty members – even those which were not formally evaluated.

4. Intellectual Impact

Managers and business leaders in the region benefit from the intellectual output of RSM’s faculty members because of research that addresses or investigates local business issues, publications, dissemination of new ideas and new managerial methods. There are also research partnerships with local and national organisations and contributions to the cultural life of the community via conferences and public lectures. The BSIS assessment noted:

  • An exceptional academic production and international recognition
  • A significant number of research topics and research questions embedded in the local context, such as logistics and sustainable development
  • A part-time PhD involving practitioners working on subjects with managerial and societal impact
  • An open incentive system for faculty members that considers different types of research (qualitative, applied, interdisciplinary) and outputs (such as books and business cases)
  • A significant presence in professional magazines
  • And a major role for RSM’s platform for disseminating new business knowledge from its research, RSM Discovery.

5. Impact within the regional ecosystem

Public life in the community benefits from the involvement of RSM faculty members, students and course participants. The same is true for the regional ecosystem of higher educational institutions, professional associations, public bodies and local authorities. The BSIS assessment remarked on the ‘extensive and fruitful relations with the city and with companies’ and RSM’s contribution to the entrepreneurship dynamic of the city and the region.

6. Societal impact

RSM’s specific policies for CSR and sustainable development are integrated into teaching, research and management, and there is concern for diversity and equal access within all the School’s activities. The BSIS experts commended RSM’s long tradition of integration of social and societal impact, and its extensive and exceptional use of the UN’s SDGs for research and teaching, noting that this societal involvement was attractive to students and faculty. The RSM website offers visitors direct access to these activities for positive change, and to free downloadable books, business cases, videos about the SDGs, MOOCs, and RSM Discovery.

7. Image impact

Finally, the BSIS assessment noted that RSM’s local, national and international image contributes to the image of the impact zone – of the reputation of Rotterdam and the Randstad as a whole.

Measurements using new tools

The RSM team working on the assessment developed two new tools to help them provide information to the organisation behind BSIS, EFMD Global.

RSM’s Regional Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem Monitor [JW4] [MS5] considers the position of an organisation within that ecosystem in terms of its capital, expertise, network, education and support. Mapping the opportunities and gaps in this way can enhance local engagement and help to build influence.

The assessment process also led to the development of an ‘SDG Mapper’ – software that enables RSM to measure How much of its curriculum and research is related to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals underpin RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world. For example, the SDG Mapper shows that more than 75 per cent of RSM research is related to the SDGs.

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. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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