Students from the RSM STAR Case Society at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) won the prestigious IIBD International Case Competition which took place in Hong Kong on 24 November 2017. The bachelor students worked on a real-life business case for a Chinese e-commerce start-up, and won a cash prize of US$1,000.

The annual international competition tests students' creativity and problem-solving ability by working under pressure to solve a real-world business problem. This year’s theme was ‘Entrepreneurship in a Changing Global Environment’.

The team of RSM bachelor students from study association STAR had laid the groundwork for their victory in Rotterdam. They wrote a 35-page business plan on a business case in June 2017. “Actions to manage the team and helping them succeed had been an ongoing process ever since the new board was appointed,” says Indian BSc IBA student Rahul Joshi chairman and treasurer of the RSM STAR Case Society Board 2017-2018.

One-day case study

Once selected to progress, the final round of the competition saw five teams of four students compete for first place. In addition to RSM, the finalist teams were from Singapore Management University, Australian National University, Ateneo de Manila University, and the host institution of Hong Kong Baptist University.

In the final, the student teams were given a study room, stationery, a computer, and finally, a business case. The case concerned a Chinese e-commerce start-up, whose CEO was relying on funding from a majority shareholder who was now reneging on his promise. The RSM team was accompanied and supervised by Dr Otto Koppius, assistant professor of business analytics at RSM.

VR-enabled e-commerce

“Positioning the CEO as our client, we uncovered a way to consolidate his outstanding debt, and build a business plan for him to pursue his actual dream: virtual-reality-enabled e-commerce,” says Joshi.

The same afternoon, the teams held a 20-minute presentation, followed by a 15-minute Q&R with the judges, who were all professors from various educational institutions in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

“Competing against brilliant students from around the world is a true test of your capabilities – our success was the fruit of the team’s hard labour,” said Danish BSc IBA student Adam Moth.

“All of us cherish the excellent education we’re receiving at RSM, but theories and models can only take us so far,” Moth said, adding that this is why he and team members Benjamin Reinitzer, Simon Matar and Basile Rohrlich joined the RSM STAR Case Society.

“We wanted to learn how to apply our education in a practical manner. This competition was an extension of that, and getting to compete with other talented students from around the world brought these ambitions to the next level.”


Hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) since its creation in 1993, the Wing Lung Bank International Institute for Business Development (IIBD) is an international consortium comprised of 18 member universities in Australia, Canada, China, Sweden, Thailand, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the UK and the USA. IIBD’s mission is to facilitate the growth and development of international business education activities through the cooperation and joint ventures with its global network.

STAR is the study association of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). With more than 6,500 members, STAR is Europe’s largest student-ruled study association and above all the most active and professional study association in the Netherlands. Each year, about 300 dedicated active members organise STAR projects that reach thousands of students.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 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. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Ramses Singeling, Media Officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028 or by email at

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