This 24-month, part-time MBA is a double degree programme offered by UoC and RSM, and is designed for executives who want the convenience of a world-class MBA in Germany. The English-taught programme is based on RSM’s Executive MBA.
Of the international group, 16 out of 20 attended the graduation ceremony, along with an 80-member audience. The 20 graduates have an average age of 33, and have an average work experience of eight years. Thirty per cent of the class are women. Forty per cent of the Class of 2018 is international. In addition to the German graduates, the class represents French, Spanish, Swiss, Dutch, American, South African, Indian and Pakistani professionals.
Sharing leadership experiences
Keynote speaker Dr Carsten Pillath is the director-general in the General Secretariat Economic Affairs and Competitiveness of the Council of the European Union. He addressed the students by asking them a question about their Personal Leadership Development programme and if they found the answer to the fundamental question ‘Why should anyone be led by you?’
Dr Pillath said he feels great respect for the graduates but also ‘a tiny element of jealousy’. He explained that as a truly international group of members, the professionals have experience across various industry sectors and cultures which may have shaped their view on management and leadership areas.
Dr Pillath is an alumnus of the University of Cologne and an advisor board member of its Management, Economics and Social Sciences (WiSo) faculty. He described how he approached management and leadership, and said he’s aware of the vast leadership theory in different areas of economic research. He concluded with advice to the graduates about improving management, enhancing their leadership skills and developing their own personal brand.
Addressing societal issues
The deans of each university also addressed the students. RSM’s Dean, Prof. Steef van de Velde, spoke about the responsibility of being a business professional in today’s society. “There are various different political issues in our society nowadays,” he said. “It’s now more important than ever before to be aware of the importance of your values and own principles in order to become a force for positive change in the world.”
Prof. Ulrich Thonemann, managing director of the Executive School of UoC, said how proud he is about the achievements of the first Cologne-Rotterdam EMBA cohort. He underlined the role taken now by each of the graduates, representing the UoC and RSM as alumni and carrying responsibility in business as well as in the civil society.”
Prof. Hernàn Bruno won the honorific Teaching Award for his strategic marketing management class. His course was elected by the students as ‘best course of the programme, and Prof. Bruno was considered as the best lecturer demonstrating ‘profound expertise’, ‘perfect time management’ and ‘great responsivity’.
The graduation day concluded with a festive dinner and reception at PE303 am Rhein in Cologne. All graduates are now part of the international alumni networks of both universities.