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In a personal and informal online ceremony, 11 graduates from the Part-time Executive MSc Corporate Communication programme (MCC) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) celebrated the completion of their executive master degree programme on 26 November 2021. In addition to achievements such as cum laude graduates and awards, the graduates were praised for their thesis topics which can make a difference in their organisations and in society.

Sitting at their dining room tables with their families, the graduates heard RSM Dean Ansgar Richter say that the role of communication in society is more critical than ever in our increasingly globally networked society. “It’s about what we say and how we say it. The responsibility of communication professional is huge. It’s about conveying critical, authentic, and transparent messaging in a way that has never been done before,” said the dean, highlighting the importance of making a positive change through their leadership.

Going the extra mile

“These graduates want to make a difference in their organisations and to society. That critical, reflexive, engaged attitude shows in the topics of the class studied for their theses,” said Professor Joep Cornelissen, academic director of the MCC programme.

Thesis research topics included what makes people give to good causes, what helps us create more engaging workforces, where people really get a sense of belonging, how we manage the reputation of an organisation through a pandemic or crisis, and how can we foster truly engaging transformational leadership. Prof. Cornelissen said to the graduates: “You’ve gone the extra mile to address the topics that are societally important, pushing the boundaries of the corporate communication field both academically and in practice.”

Awards for impact and innovation

There were two awards announced during the ceremony, to recognise theses of exceptionally high quality. The Prof. Cees van Riel Award for Impact & Excellence in Corporate Communication 2021 went to Karen Loos-Gelijns, for her thesis entitled The battle for the narrative: a strategic communication framework for military operations. Loos-Gelijns developed a communication framework for military settings including for so-called digital warfare. The jury, led by Professor Emeritus Cees van Riel, felt that she did an excellent job reviewing past models of communication and propaganda and developing her own very practical model. This model is readily applicable by armed forces in the West, including the Netherlands – showing how her work bridges between theory and practice and has the potential to have significant impact.

The Andreas Award for Innovation in Corporate Communication 2021 was awarded to Timon Eiselt, for his thesis about design thinking and its effect on employees, in which he investigates the value of design thinking in shaping job satisfaction and engaging employees. The jury, led by Dries (Andreas) van de Beek, was impressed with the thesis because it “shows a great deal of creativity and innovation by linking design thinking with the fields of marketing and communication.”

Honorary mentions went to Monika Kövecs for her thesis entitled How power distance influences the effect of transformational leadership style on brand-strengthening employee behaviour, and to Szilvana Spett, for her thesis Can media companies benefit from blockchain?

The graduates

The new Master of Science in Corporate Communication graduates are: Giulia Boratto, Timon Eiselt, Yasmine Farissi, Monika Kövecs, Karen Loos-Gelijns, Liliana Rodrigues dos Santos, Szilvana Spett, Arie Spruit, Merlijn Stoffels, Anouk Sülter-Posthumus, and Chared Verschuur-Ballo. They each have more than 12 years of work experience, and hold senior positions in various fields, from the corporate world to government and education. The 11 graduates represent 6 nationalities: Dutch, Filipino, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese and Swiss. Timon Eiselt graduated cum laude and the other award winner Karen Loos graduated summa cum laude.

Corporate communication programmes

The part-time Executive Master of Science in Corporate Communication (MCC) is developed by RSM’s Corporate Communication Centre. Around 1,300 business professionals from 30 countries and nationalities have completed short modules and workshops of the programme as corporate training courses. More than 300 of them have graduated with an MSc in Corporate Communication title. 

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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