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    • A week-long mandatory block seminar takes place between August and October at each of the CEMS member schools. Block Seminars are academically and culturally intensive and the experience is the ideal starting point into the CEMS programme. RSM cooperates with CEMS social partner, the European Space Agency (ESA) – the European organisation for space research and technology – to provide new CEMS students with the chance to apply and hone their business knowledge and skills in the context of space research and technology.

      RSM offers two parallel block seminars as described here below:

      The Entrepreneurial Challenge: Turning Technology into Business (TTB)

      Several key technologies and household applications (such as satellite navigation, virtual reality, breathable footwear and outerwear, and water purification systems) find their origin in space research and were originally designed and developed for missions into orbit (e.g. journeys to the moon, Mars and other planets, the Space shuttle flights and International Space Station visits). Entrepreneurs saw the potential of these technologies and applications outside the space industry and put them into civil and commercial use.

      In this block seminar you will experience the same: creating a (non-space) business application of a European Space Agency (ESA) technology and writing a business plan that is both technically feasible and commercially viable for that purpose. You will experience what it takes to develop technological breakthroughs into a viable start-up business: identifying an opportunity, putting a team together, assembling the resources needed and developing a business model that is capable of exploiting a perceived potential for value creation.

      During one intensive week you will get as close as you can get to the real thing: setting up a business around true high potential technology. This endeavour into commercialising technological advances lies at the core of entrepreneurship.

      The ingredients are sound and clear: we have real breakthrough technology from space, supported by scientists, engineers and experts in business and finance; in the inspirational setting of the ESA premises. In this block seminar we will put you in a pressure cooker to have you develop a full- fledged business plan in just five days. You will be challenged on your creativity, your analytical ability, your persuasion, your organisational skills, your endurance, your ability to seduce or to convince, your ability to connect the dots and your common sense.

      We will spend the whole week working at the ESA premises in Noordwijk, and lodging in a youth/budget hostel. In addition to classes, workshops and team assignments aimed at preparing for and working on your business plan.

      New Venture Creation: Consulting the Directors of a Start-up Company (NVC)

      One of ESA's ambitions is to stimulate the development of space technology for applications that can be used in daily life. In this context, ESA helps entrepreneurs with the development and implementation of their innovative ideas by providing them with financial grants, professional support, and other resources.

      In this block seminar you will act as consultants to the directors of these start-up companies. Many of these entrepreneurs have science or engineering backgrounds and they require strategic advice for their business, an area in which they may have limited experience.

      You and your team will assist the director(s) of one start-up company and provide them with strategic recommendations for the growth of their (international) business. As such, you and your team members will be required to write and present a consultancy report to the directors on how to boost their business and solve their strategic issues.

      In order to streamline the process, we will work with experienced consultants who will instruct you and your team on how to provide the organisation with sound advice and how to write a consultancy report.

      Due to the intensive nature of the block seminar, we will spend the entire week working at ESA-BIC in Noordwijk, and lodging in a youth/budget hostel. In addition to classes, workshops and team assignments aimed at preparing for and working on your business plan, you will visit the nearby Space Expo and be able to enjoy an exclusive tour at the ESA premises.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

    • Students’ ability to analyze international strategy issues. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of core concepts through weekly quizzes and class discussion. They will end the course with a group project.

      We will focus on three core theories of international strategy: Industry-, Resource-, and Institution-based views. Individually, these theories provided the building blocks for international strategy. Porter (1980) introduced what we now call the industry-based view to help managers better understand competitive dynamics in industries. In the mid 80’s and early 90’s, the revival of resource-based approaches elaborating Penrose (1952) helped to explain how firms may develop capabilities and combine and leverage resources to gain sustained competitive advantages (Barney, 1991; Dierickx & Cool, 1989). And more recently, a group of scholars has been promoting the inclusion of an institution-based view to help explain the rules of game that may shape business and firm outcomes. Together, these theories create the basis for a strategy tripod.

      The strategy tripod helps managers to better understand four key questions (Peng et al., 2009): Why do firms differ? How do firms behave? What determines the scope of the firm? What determines the success and failure of firms around the globe? Each of these questions relates to firm performance, the fundamental focus of strategy practitioners and researchers and the core of our course.

      Review the course guide for more details. 

      Taught by dr. Brian Campbell Pinkham.

    • Supply chain management (SCM) has emerged as one of the major areas for companies to gain a competitive edge. Managing supply chains is a complex and challenging task, due to current business trends of expanding product variety, short product life cycles, increasing outsourcing, globalization of business, and continuous advances in information technology. Supply chain management, as a natural successor to operations management, is a fundamental driver not only for further improving operations but also for strengthening the competitive position of firms. When a company faces the pressure of excessive inventories, degraded customer service, escalating costs and declining profits, or a poor return on assets, its supply chain is out of control. On the other hand, when a company moves into new markets or new technologies, it must have its supply chain prepared for new business challenges and opportunities. The course will introduce students to concepts and techniques related to the design, management and improvement of supply chains and supply chain operations.

      The course focuses on a variety of challenging supply chain business situations.  For example, how different types of supply contracts can be used to design win-win solutions between buyer and supplier, how the benefits of information sharing can be estimated in the context of supply chain, and what supply chain strategies match with proliferating product variety. Other topics include, but are not limited to, inventory management, supply chain transportation and distribution network design, operational hedging and global supply chain risk management.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Pourakbar.​​​​​​​ 

    • One manifestation of our globalizing world is the emergence of innovative start-ups that have a worldwide focus and sometimes resource base from inception. The international activities of these firms that have decided to go abroad almost directly after their creation, have received an increasing amount of attention over the past years; they are called born globals or international new ventures. In addition to small and medium-sized firms with incremental growth strategies, the focus in this course is on these dynamic start-up firms that make products and sell services that are ‘new to the world’, strive for scaling up their activities and seek international presence. These growth-oriented start-ups with global expansion strategies face a lot of uncertainty compared to established multinational companies with more traditional products and services: their novel products or services are unknown to the market, so is the effect of the product for the customer. Also, in bringing these niche products and services to the international market, young firms have limited resources and few complementary assets (they do not have deep pockets and needed additional start-up and growth financing).

      In this course we will look how innovative start-ups and ambitious small firms mitigate the risks starting-up, early growth and internationalization, and more specifically how they address and manage their country selection and market investigation, their entry mode choice(s) and international operations and capabilities. Other interesting characteristics of these international new ventures are the importance of the founders and the entrepreneurial team, their particular motives for international expansion, and the relevance of strategic partners and investors. This Master course is for students who plan to become involved in new ventures and fast-growing and internationalizing firms, in the near future (i.e. immediately after graduating) or at mid-career. Another reason to take this course is that some simply want to more as a future consultant to young companies or entrepreneurship support manager about the key entrepreneurial and managerial processes found in start-ups and fast-growing companies.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. W. Hulsink

    • Whether an organization innovates determines whether it survives. Take the iPhone for example, which disrupted the cell phone market and within a few years became the most successful smartphone company (Nokia sold its cell phone division to Microsoft in 2014 due to huge losses).

      In this course you learn why companies struggle to innovate, how to successfully analyze and implement an innovation strategy, and you learn to manage the innovation process.

      The course consists of two pillars (or ‘walls’) that enable a company to become innovative (Innovation Strategy and Organization Design) and the innovation process itself (see figure below). The innovation process contains how to generate, select, implement, protect, experiment, scale, and diffuse ideas. Consequently, this course will provide you the skills and knowledge to manage innovations.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by dr. H. Klapper​​​​​​​. 

    • Management Control Systems (MCS) form the bridge between the organization’s strategy and its operations/services. Their purpose is to align managerial behaviour and decision making with organizational strategic goals. Although financial management tools are typically crucial  in an organization’s MCS, the design and use of a MCS does not only require an understanding of accounting techniques. It should also be based on a thorough understanding of how managerial behaviour is influenced by relevant control system elements, such as target setting, performance measurement and monetary incentives. Indeed, as the proper design of MCS is paramount for organizational performance, organizational failure can often be attributed to a poor design or implementation of the organization’s management control system. Past scandals such as the collapse of Enron and the recent crisis in the financial sector can be directly traced back to failures in MCS design. The emphasis of the course is on the analysis and understanding of the drivers of managerial (rational and irrational) decision making in complex organizations rather than on the application of accounting tools often associated with financial management.
      The course strongly focuses on the managerial issues faced by CFOs of multinational companies. Meetings are case-based: students discuss (financial) management control topics in close relation to case studies of multinational companies. The assignments/tests will allow students to show their theoretical knowledge, but also their understanding of how to apply it to real-life case situations.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by prof.dr. M van Rinsum

    • All electives enable you to broaden your knowledge of a chosen field before starting work on your Master Thesis. 

      CEMS electives cover a broad range of subjects, from strategic management to current issues in sustainability. Through your selection of electives, you gain either in-depth knowledge of a certain field, or a broader view across the entire international business landscape, depending on your preference for your future career: to apply for a specialist entry-level job, or to gain a broad foundation for a wide range of careers in management.

      You can choose your electives from the master course offerings at RSM, or your exchange school. Examples of free electives chosen by CEMS students include:

    • The contact between individuals and organizations from different countries, cultures, and social groups has never been greater than in our time. In recent decades organizations have continuously globalized their operations, resulting in increasing frequency with which employees interact with colleagues and customers from different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. At the same time, as a result of legal, social and economic shifts, workforce participation rates of women, minorities, and disabled people have dramatically grown, thus turning diversity into a strategic issue in organizations. Further, as executives operate around broader regions, global teams are formed to address the need to become globally competitive, and customers and suppliers operate across borders, the demands on global executives are ever growing. 

      This course is designed to help participants develop a deeper understanding of the issues that confront global managers today, and to prepare them for leadership roles in international organizations. Through business cases, experiential exercises, and real-life examples, the course strives to explore knowledge in leading diverse people as well as in leading global organizations. Emphasis will be placed on gaining awareness for the role of culture in organizations and on developing skills to manage diversity.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Shemla

    • Climate change is one of today’s most pressing issues, receiving international attention from political leaders, corporations, the media, advocacy groups, and the general public. In the future, it is likely to become even more pressing as the effects of climate change intensify resource competition, natural disasters, disease vectors, water and food scarcity, and refugee migration. 

      According to Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, the impact of climate change is likely to change the international business environment dramatically. However, the business relevance of climate change is insufficiently understood by future decision makers in international management and society. 

      We believe that tomorrow’s business leaders should be educated on the key elements of climate change – the science, the evolving policy, and role of business. They can become an essential part of the solution, but only if equipped with a sound understanding of the challenges at hand and the processes by which new policies are constructed. 

      The Climate Change Strategy course and its Model United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) form an innovative educational approach to closing this knowledge gap. Our goal is to broaden students' understanding of climate change, climate policy, and their impacts on the future of business. 

      The course modules deal with the core issues of climate change and include a wide range of effective didactic tools and exercises. Students are given a deeper understanding of the background and consequences of climate change for business, and of corporate responses to it. Special emphasis is laid on international and national regulatory frameworks, and on emerging resource challenges and market opportunities. Furthermore the course will provide students with an opportunity to develop a broad set of personal skills such as negotiation, forming strategy, research, public speaking and debating. 

      The 2021 edition of the course will be simultaneously offered at eight leading CEMS universities and culminates in a two-day UNFCCC simulation event at one of the business schools. Students will be using the 2015 Paris Agreement created at COP21 and be simulating the upcoming COP27. Negotiations will seek to enhance the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of countries and work out details of how the new mechanisms and funds will function. The big challenge is how to improve the current commitments to be in line with the universally agreed target of limiting global temperature rise to ‘well-below 2 degrees’. 

      Students will negotiate on issues such as mitigation of greenhouse gases (new voluntary targets, financing and compliance), adaptation to climate change (financing, climate change refugees, technology transfer), and market mechanisms (sustainable development mechanism, REDD+, aviation and shipping). 

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. S.P. Kennedy.

    • The course is focused on using statistics and machine learning tools to solve problems in the area of new product development (NPD). This involves offline problems (e.g., how to design a new product, how to measure value creation) as well as online problems (how machine learning can be deployed to, in real time, assess consumers styles, recommend online products, and communicate with them in a personalized – but computer-mediated - way).

      New product development is a marketing topic, and the lecturer is a marketing professor who has done extensive research on the use of machine learning in marketing. His research on machine learning methods for digital marketing will be extensively discussed and the quantitative methods he has published (such as morphing, machine-learning based assessment of cognitive styles, and reinforcement learning) will be taught in class.


      Why is this course focused on new product development? Well, product innovation is consistently found to be one of the most important drivers for a firm’s success. More recently, the Internet has enabled products that are recommended and adapted to each consumer, but that requires the firms to be able to use analytics and machine learning.

      The purpose of this course is to provide students with a deep understanding on (1) the machine learning methods that are being used in the development and commercialization of new products, both digital and non-digital, and (2) the analytics and machine learning tools needed for customization and recommendation of digital products.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by prof.dr. G Liberali​​​​​​​

    • Over the past years, small firms and start-ups have started to play an increasingly important role in our economy. R&D spending by small firms has increased and many disruptive innovations have been conceived by new entrants to an industry, thereby posing a major threat to existing firms. In order to sustain their competitive advantage, it is important for large firms such as Shell, DSM, and KLM to tap into the knowledge of these start-ups and to invest in corporate venturing. Corporate venturing can be achieved in different ways, including: taking a minority position in outside businesses (corporate venture capital), building a new business as a stand-alone unit (spin-out), or building a new business inside the existing firm with a structure allowing for managerial autonomy and independence (corporate incubator or accelerator). This course will discuss strategies, organizational structures and implementation challenges of new ventures within an established corporation as well as options to leverage external partners outside the boundaries of the corporation within the process of new business development.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by prof.dr. VJA van de Vrande


    • Almost all large companies in developed economies operate internationally. Their suppliers, competitors, and customers are multinational business operations themselves. These international operations require firms to manage financial opportunities and risks that arise in a multinational context. Those financial risks and opportunities are an important determinant of a firm’s business model and affect the long-term viability and profitability of a corporation.

      This course teaches students the financial perspective on international operations. The first part of the course focuses on currency risks. Students will learn how different business models are affected by currency market movements, how these risks can be mitigated, and which factors drive foreign exchange markets. This knowledge also helps to understand how events such as the Brexit or rapid devaluations of currencies (e.g. as in Turkey or Venezuela) can quickly change the business landscape and how corporations can protect themselves against these risks. A second part of the course discusses how firms finance their operations using international capital markets and how firms assess foreign investment projects.

      The course is highly interactive and focuses on the application of the lecture content using Harvard Business School case studies and in-class exercises. In-class exercises are (stylized) problems faced by multinational firms or are based on real-world data. A guest lecture/company visit provides additional practical insight.

      Students should be familiar with basic (corporate) finance concepts (e.g. discounting/time-value of money) and general features of financial securities (stocks, bonds, futures). Students should also be familiar with basic linear regression methods (simple OLS regression). The course manual provides links to online-videos that help students to refresh their knowledge in any of these areas. The course manual also refers to additional (optional) references for students who want to know more about the topics covered in this course.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by dr. CHO Schmitt

    • The International Business Project (or IBP) constitutes an important (and mandatory) part of the Spring semester within the CEMS programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Over a period of approximately four months, you will work intensively on a consultancy project together with three/four other students, carried out for a company or institution. Both a university and a company coach supervise the project. The general aim of the project is to respond professionally and effectively to a real-world management problem and to learn from working together in multidisciplinary and culturally heterogeneous groups.

      Most students will already be familiar with various business disciplines through course work; however, the interdisciplinary use of this knowledge and the capacity to translate it into practical solutions is often a new challenge. The business project permits students to combine theory and practice – they learn how to formulate a project proposal and relevant research questions, analyse problems, develop recommendations and propose solutions to the problem. In addition to providing hands-on experience on how to deal with a business problem, the course also offers a unique chance to learn about how teams function and to learn how to work effectively in teams. Therefore, the project incorporates leadership sessions that challenge students to deepen their understanding of the process of working in multidisciplinary and international teams.

      For examples of projects from spring 2015 please click here.

    • All electives enable you to broaden your knowledge of a chosen field before starting work on your Master Thesis. 

      CEMS electives cover a broad range of subjects, from strategic management to current issues in sustainability. Through your selection of electives, you may gain either in-depth knowledge of a certain field, or a broader view across the entire international business landscape, depending on your preference for your future career: to apply for a specialist entry-level job, or to gain a broad foundation for a wide range of careers in management.

      You can choose your electives from the master course offerings at RSM, or your exchange school. Examples of free electives chosen by CEMS students at RSM include:

    • The Research Clinic constitutes the formal start of the MSc International Management thesis semester. The seminar informs IM students about the following research issues:

      • What makes good research compelling?
      • How does one write an interesting and persuasive thesis?
      • How does one formulate a challenging research question?
      • What is an adequate research methodology to answer the central research question?

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

    • The Master thesis constitutes the heart of the third and final semester of MSc International Management/CEMS programme. The Master thesis requires that students complete independent, individual research on a topic of their choosing, in the academic field of International Management. In practice, this will generally cover the fields of Strategic Management, Organisational Behaviour, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Supply Chain Management and Finance. Other disciplines including Entrepreneurship and Global Business and Stakeholder Management may also be considered.

      As many students may find it difficult to develop their own research ideas or narrow the scope, ideas for thesis themes will be provided by professors of various academic departments. However, students will have ample freedom to explore specific research topics within these themes. The professor(s) of the theme will act as thesis coach. An important requirement for the research topic is the relevance for an international manager. Furthermore, the topic should be both theoretically and practically relevant. Practical issues without a theoretical basis and relevance fall outside the scope of the Master thesis.

      The IM thesis provides students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of areas of interest, train their capacities of analysis and problem-solving, and improve their skills in practical scientific business and management research. The Master thesis is research-based and thus requires sufficient knowledge of methodology, the research process and effective methods of communicating research results. The Research Clinic at the start of the thesis semester provides a good basis for acquiring this knowledge. The research clinic introduces necessary elements for conducting academic and business research including problem formulation, data analysis, research design and writing a valuable report.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

    • As a student of IM/CEMS, you are required to spend the autumn or spring semester at a CEMS partner university. Each school applies the same curriculum structure to their course design and a local CEMS Club provides an active social life for the international student body, helping to build the CEMS community spirit.

      For more information about CEMS Partner Schools please click here.

    • You are required to do an internship abroad of at least 8 weeks. Most students join one of our CEMS corporate partners, although you are able to look independently for an organisation in which to pursue your internship. Because the internship is designed to be an intercultural experience, it must be taken in a country with which you are relatively unfamiliar. This is your chance to get a real taste of a future profession or organisation. Many students acquire their first job from the contacts they establish during this period.

      Examples of Internships taken by IM /CEMS Students

      1. DaimlerChrysler AG, Germany 
        Optimising the testing strategy and product quality of several Mercedes-Benz series 
      2. UBS AG, Switzerland 
        Researching the energy derivative field in Europe 
      3. L’Oreal, UK 
        Marketing department 
      4. Volkswagen Group China, China 
        Production readiness department 
      5. Emerson Process Management, Singapore 
        Developing and executing a co-ordinates plan for the yearly sales meeting 
      6. Procter & Gamble, Belgium 
        Improving the Benelux intranet site concerning human resources 
      7. Frape Behr, Spain 
        Purchasing department 
      8. DZ Bank, Germany 
      9. Mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offerings
    • Skill Seminars are training seminars in practical skills. They are essential to kick-starting an effective professional career and fundamental to adjusting easily to an international management environment.

      Topics include:

      • Personal Development
      • Intercultural skills
      • Project Management
      • Group work skills
      • nternational negotiation techniques
      • Presentation skills
      • CV building and Job Application preparation
      • Business Communication

      Small groups ensure an interactive dimension. Skill Seminars are offered by each CEMS member schools, very often in close cooperation with companies.

      Students must accrue minimum four skills seminar days (2 EC) (1 day = 8 hours = 0.5 EC) over the duration of the programme in order to meet CEMS graduation requirements.

      Review the course guide for more information.

    • On completion of the International Management/CEMS programme, you must have minimum proven proficiency in at least two languages in addition to English. You are expected to improve language skills of your own accord, and your standards in both foreign languages should improve during your studies at RSM. Erasmus University's Language and Training Centre organises special language courses and language level tests.

Note regarding taking courses if you are not an RSM master student: RSM does not offer the possibility for non-RSM students (master or otherwise) to take RSM courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements.