An impressive procession took place in the centre of Rotterdam as more than 800 graduates from MSc programmes at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) made their way to their graduation ceremonies. 

Of the 1,493 MSc graduates, 808 celebrated the end of their studies at convention centre De Doelen in Rotterdam with their more than 2,000 family members and friends. The students proudly walked across the city centre wearing their caps and gowns – from the World Trade Centre Rotterdam, along the city’s busy Koopgootshopping area, to the convention centre, where the ceremonies took place. 

Source of positive energy 

Allard Castelein, CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority, told the graduates in the Grote Zaal (big hall) that everyone has the responsibility to play their role in society and to get involved. “Everyone – however big or small their role – can make a difference,” he said. “You are our future leaders. If you don't take up this challenge, who will? You are in a unique position to make your voices heard, and in that way to influence and change society.” 

Castelein urged the graduates to establish a dialogue at the organisational level, with companies working on the same issues as their organisation. “Forge coalitions, and decide together about how to do things differently.” 

He concluded by saying that strong minds need strong bodies. “Take care of yourself – both physically and mentally. Unexpected obstacles are inevitable but often turn out to be the things that teach you most. So focus clearly on the question if your job is a source of positive energy. You spend most of your life working so make the most of it!”

Change is the only constant 

Graduate Leonie Sanders (MSc Strategic Entrepreneurship) took the stage and told the audience this graduation marks the start of a new journey. “We have different aspirations, and come from different backgrounds. But the common denominator among us is that we will all make a change in the future, for change is the only constant,” she said, adding how RSM has prepared her generation of students for the future. 

“Millennials count for 75 per cent of the global workforce in 2025, and I believe most of us are firm believers of meaningful work, and prone to build collaborative organisations,” said Leonie. “We see other people as great sources of learning, and feel that it’s very important to share the knowledge they possess. RSM is also all about knowledge-sharing – not only in the traditional way of scientific journals and lectures. RSM is about connecting people of different backgrounds, and inviting them to teach each and every one of us something.” 

In the Juriaanse Zaal, keynote speaker Heiko Hutmacher from the Board of Management at METRO AG and CHRO spoke to the graduates about purpose and how it’s integrated in RSM’s goal-setting initiatives and I WILL. He discussed the ‘why’ – not the ‘how’ or ‘what’ – of work and organisations. 

The graduate address was by Georgina Baker (MSc Marketing Management). In her playful speech, she told a metaphorical story about the weather and wind in Rotterdam, and how RSM has prepared the students to face strong headwinds.

Summa cum laude 

And in the Willem Burger Zaal, the keynote speech was held by Caroline Oosterbaan, head of corporate banking products at NIBC Bank. Four students here graduated summa cum laude: Benedict Claβen and Lena Hacker (both from the MScBA Accounting & Financial Management) and Jonas Happer and Philip Vogelsang (both from MSc Finance & Investments).

There were two student addresses, by Lena Hacker (MScBA Accounting & Financial Management) and by Jarno Boot (MSc Finance & Investments). 

The ceremonies can be viewed via the video streams of the three halls where the ceremonies were held. 

RSM alumni 

The graduates are now part of RSM’s alumni network, and can stay connected to each other and to RSM through global eventslocal chapterscontinued education opportunities, RSM Outlook magazine and many other ways.

The graduation ceremonies for RSM’s MSc International Management/CEMSMaster in Management and MSc Finance & Investments Advanced will take place later in this academic year.


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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