Insights from a MSc student - Annique de Greef
Insights from a MSc student - Annique de Greef
"Even though the courses look at different aspects of sustainability, for example strategy or stakeholder management, sustainability is always the main topic."
Name: Annique de Greef
Programme: MSc Global Business & Stakeholder Management (expected graduation in 2015)
Home city and country: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Previous studies: BSc International Business Administration, University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands and a study exchange to BINUS International University, Jakarta, Indonesia
Why did you decide to do this MSc programme and why did you choose RSM?
During my study exchange to Indonesia I realised I wanted to do a master focusing on sustainability. When looking for master studies in the Netherlands and in other countries, I found this master programme to be most suitable for me for three reasons;
1. It is taught from a business perspective and focuses on the integration of sustainability in business models, in comparison to many other sustainability oriented master programmes which focus more on the technical aspects of sustainability.
2. It looks at sustainability in the broad sense of people AND planet AND profit, and doesn’t just focus on only one of these parts.
3. Particularly with sustainability there are many stakeholders to be managed; this is integral part of successfully changing towards a more sustainable business, which is what this master programme acknowledges. All in all, this was the only master programme I found that is teaching sustainability from these perspectives, and it made my choice an easy one.
What are your fellow students like?
Because we are a small master programme, everyone knows each other well. We often have dinners or drinks together, in addition to all the study-related time we spend together. It is a very informal group and lectures are interactive with the professor and students discussing the topics. We have a mix of Dutch and other international students, for example from Germany, Finland, Denmark and Cyprus.
What are the biggest differences between your master and your earlier bachelor studies?
The focus and interactivity. My bachelor studies in International Business Administration focused on all areas of international business such as HR, finance and purchasing. In the MSc Global Business and Stakeholder Management programme, sustainability is always is the key topic around which all other courses are based. Even though the courses look at different aspects of sustainability, for example strategy or stakeholder management, sustainability is always the main topic.
What has been the biggest challenge in the MSc programme so far, and how are you dealing with it?
I think the Sustainability Boot Camp has been the most challenging because it is a very intensive course during which you have to solve a real case for a real company – in our case for Heineken – in only one and a half weeks. This required a lot of time management, group meetings, group discussions and creativity. It was certainly a project in which you gained many skills, yet challenging in the short timeframe. It was really nice that it was for a real company, Heineken, and our work had to be presented to their top-level managers.
What is a normal day like at RSM?
A normal lecture day during the last week looked like this: at 9:15 we start with a lecture about Managing NGOs. Everyone has read the assigned articles, so the lecture offers a broader understanding and discussion between students and the professor about the topic. Lunch is at around mid-day. Often after lunch I meet up with my project group for that course. During a meeting that lasts about two hours we discuss what we have done so far, what still has to be done, the main topics we need to agree on, how to proceed and we divide the tasks. When I get home I work on the group project via Google Drive or read articles for the next lecture.
What do you think of life in Rotterdam?
I am happy to be back and living in Rotterdam after my bachelor studies in Enschede! Rotterdam is a modern and vibrant city in which there is always something to do; festivals, restaurants, shows and performances, bars and shopping. It’s especially nice that there are many cultures in Rotterdam living together and that gives a particular atmosphere. There are good international restaurants with many cuisines, and many different kinds of shops and parties.
I live with two friends in a house in Rotterdam North. I pay €400 a month for my room and all shared facilities including service costs for electricity, gas, water, internet and television. Most students find their rooms via a couple of specialist agencies or from Facebook groups for housing in Rotterdam.
What would you like to do after your MSc programme and what are your long-term plans?
I have just been selected to do a six-month internship in the Global Innovation team at Heineken International, which I will start in June 2015 after finishing my thesis. After the internship I plan to start a management traineeship or job in an organisation where sustainability is in their core values and business; I’d like to be part of the team driving sustainability in all projects of the business and supply chain.