Insights from a MSc student - Veronica Caselli

Insights from a MSc student - Veronica Caselli

MSc International Management / CEMS participant

Previous studies: Bachelor in International Economics, Management and Finance at Bocconi University in Milan.

Why did you decide to do this MSc programme and why did you choose RSM?

I chose International Management at RSM because it was probably the best in Europe in combination with the CEMS MIM master. It’s extremely stimulating and international: only three people have the same nationality as I do, and my classmates come from about 25 different countries.

Being admitted to this master had been my goal for a very long time, because it’s highly ranked, lasts one and a half years instead of two, and gives you the chance to throw yourself into the real business world sooner compared to other universities. I also valued “non-overlapping” in the choice of my master, as I wanted to learn new things from the very beginning. The fact that only students with a business, economics, or finance background can apply ensures a level playing field, that is not like many universities, whose programmes last one semester longer but where maybe there are courses the contents of which overlap with the bachelor courses.

What do you like the most about your programme and which have been your favourite courses so far?

The best things in my programme are the inspiring debates in class every day. Lectures are very interactive, and the professors ask students to actively participate and share their opinions. These views are extremely interesting, as almost everyone comes from a different country and has a different opinion, stemming from their own culture and background. You can learn a lot just by sitting in class and listen to the students talk.

So far, my favourite course has been Global Supply Chain Management. I learned a lot of new knowledge that will offer me a useful perspective of all the processes and issue that occur “behind the scenes” in every business.

What are your fellow students like?

The class is really international, and in-class discussions are vibrant and enriched by culturally diverse views. My fellow students are all very smart, academically but also socially. You can recognise CEMSies by their ambitions, their engaging discussions about economics and politics, but also by how easily you can become friends with them!

What are the biggest differences between your master and your previous bachelor studies?

The workload, of course, is higher. It’s challenging to always be up to date with all the readings for each class. However, this also means there’s a high level of participation, because students are directly involved into the discussion and asked to share their opinion. This makes learning an active process. During my bachelor most of the lectures were held in a more traditional way. Another difference is that now classes are very small, ranging from 20 to 45 students. The professors can remember your name!

What has been the biggest challenge in the MSc programme so far, and how are you dealing with it?

The biggest challenge so far was to shift to a different way of learning, and a different evaluation system. The workload in IM/CEMS is high, and demands efficient study. Sometimes you have to read too much compared to the limited time you have. This demands practicing and training yourself to read in an efficient way, grasping the most important concepts and leaving the details behind, to be reviewed later on. I had my biggest challenge after my first grade, which was pretty low. With time, talking and confronting my approach with fellow students, I better understood what’s expected from us, and the approach RSM considers the best. After only three weeks I managed to get a much higher grade in the same subject. This confirmed to me that I was moving in the right direction, and that it was only a matter of understanding a new approach to studying.

What is a normal day like at RSM?

Classes start at 8:50 and each class lasts three hours. So if you have two classes, you have one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Classes are centered on theoretical models that we have usually read in academic papers before coming to class. The professors also give practical examples from the real business world, which are often made of business-case studies.

Between classes I usually go to the library to study or read papers, or to the cafeteria when I have group works. Around 18:00 I take my bicycle back home where I finish the assignments and do my readings for the next day. After that, I relax.

How are you experiencing life in Rotterdam?

I really like staying in Rotterdam. Finding an apartment was easy. I used, and found a conveniently located apartment between the city centre and the university. It takes 15 minutes by bicycle to get to RSM and about seven minutes to get to the centre. I pay € 375 rent for my single room, and I share the kitchen and bathroom with a Dutch girl.

Rotterdam is a modern city, that also has some areas with typical Dutch architecture, such as Kralingen or Delftshaven. It has a skyline, which is amazing at night, and the modern buildings all have something particular, and all differ from one another. It’s a very enjoyable city to live in, and it’s very safe. You can go everywhere with your bicycle.

What advice would you give to future MSc students?

Put a lot of effort in your studies, because you will learn a lot. However, don’t forget to take some time off to recover. Socialise with your fellow students, and create bonds that may last a lifetime. The learning process is not restricted to the school rooms.

What would you like to do after your MSc programme and what are your long-term plans?

I’d like to find a job allowing me to utilise my analytical skills, but also to express the creative part of my personality. I’m currently learning more about marketing consultancy.