Over the last couple of years, two teams of master students at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) have been evaluating and discussing how courses at RSM contribute to how the school implements its strategy and creates more impact. The students used new tools and techniques in their assessments, including the RSM-developed SDG Mapper to track how closely RSM’s research, education and engagement are linked to sustainable development. And a new team of students is needed for the next academic year.

The objective for the 2023 student project team forming in September is to begin with a set of proposed KPIs and use them to identify or create a mechanism or dashboard for transparently reporting RSM’s impact. Call for student changemakers.

Driving the changes that matter

The previous RSM student SDG Strategic Impact team focused on a key first question: how are we driving long-term systemic change for what truly matters? Throughout the project, team members have been examining what matters, what is a systems approach, what are the benefits and risks of long-term thinking, what are the select SDG targets that apply to RSM’s strategic plan for positive change, what are the drivers of change, what are the crucial KPIs and when will they be activated and monitored?

What the student teams have worked on

The 2021 Metrics Matrix RSM student team began a deep examination of the School’s activities by adopting a system of tracking, assessing and rating from the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). They created frameworks that the 2022 team incorporated into the process.

In the midst of the 2021 team’s handover to the 2022 team, RSM rolled-out an ambitious five-year Strategic Plan. Students are clearly one of the key stakeholders of the school’s effort to drive important change in reporting, so this student team examined the frameworks and explored models that may effectively guide the work. Informed by lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, noticeable evidence of climate change and informed by their own studies at RSM, the students have been keenly aware of decisions and business processes that impact society. They demonstrated knowledge that by pooling insights, experience, wisdom, and dreams for engaging the emerging future ‘together we are stronger’.

Triggering dialogue

The 2022 team believes it has triggered important dialogue on identifying what truly matters and then measuring the related data to drive performance and positive change. Acting on and keeping an eye on this in rapidly changing times filled many scheduled meetings and created recommendations for RSM’s work on this project in the next academic year. 

For students interested in investigating and creating strategies towards sustainability, here’s what other team members have said about their experiences:

Esther Meyer (MSc Management of Innovation 2023) said: “I was able to work with a great team and develop my knowledge of measuring impact. It feels great to get the conversation started and I am thankful that we – as students – can have a real influence.”

Annefleur Maat (MSc Strategic Management 2022): “Being part of the SDG Strategy Impact team provided me with a lot of valuable insights on how sustainability progress can be achieved within the context of a business school. Meeting likeminded students and RSM officials gave me a lot of energy and joy!”

Johan Rudhag (MSc Global Business and Sustainability 2022): “As part of the SDG Strategy impact team, I got to interact with both incredibly interesting and knowledgeable RSM staff together with my enthusiastic fellow students gaining a deep understanding of the sustainability agenda of the university as well as how we could contribute to pave the way ahead.”

Lorenzo Sacchetti (MSc Strategic Management 2022): “My work in the SDG Strategy Impact Team made me realize how complex measuring impact actually is, but also motivated me to explore this area further. Also, getting to work with super motivated students and talking to various RSM stakeholders made it all worth it!”

Leon Buchner, MScBA Business Analytics & Management 2021 “Getting involved in the SDG Strategy impact team provided me with a valuable learning opportunity on how to measure impact within RSM’s sustainability agenda. I am grateful for having been able to contribute to it together with a team of enthusiastic students with whom I had the chance to interact with RSM professionals who shape the future of our school.”

New students interested in becoming part of the RSM student SDG Strategic Impact team are invited to meet the Positive Change team at the information booth on 23 August at the General Master Kick-off, or email positivechange@rsm.nl.

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. www.rsm.nl

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 harriford@rsm.nl.

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