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The 2021 academic subject rankings of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) puts Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in first place for business administration. This recognition comes in the same year that RSM celebrates 50 years of impact, enhancing the feeling of pride, collaboration and achievement across RSM’s community of students, alumni, lecturers, researchers, staff and companies connected to RSM.

The list of the 500 best universities in the world is published annually by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is why it’s referred to as the Shanghai ranking. The annual subject ranking is based on the number of scientific articles in the field, the impact of the publications, international collaboration, the number of publications in top journals in the field, and the number of staff who have won major awards in their field.

Impactful engagement

“We are making a big push across all three dimensions of our work: knowledge development and research, transformative education, and impactful engagement,” says RSM’s dean, Professor Ansgar Richter. “RSM is a quality provider of management education. We base our work on original knowledge creation. We are also investing strongly in our engagement with stakeholders across the field.”

The Dean says business education is a heavily contested field. “By some counts, there are more than 18,000 schools of business and management, or departments in this field within institutions of higher education,” he says, adding that this field has traditionally been dominated by elite institutions, largely from the USA and the UK. “In recent years, we are seeing that institutions from continental Europe and Asia are beginning to shift this picture. Our success is all the more remarkable as it shows that you can make a big contribution to research even when you don’t have the kind of funding that many of the elite institutions from the USA enjoy.”

Management research

“This ranking reflects the emphasis on quality of research and education by our academic staff and our leadership at the educational level,” says Interim Rector Magnificus Frank van der Duijn Schouten of Erasmus University Rotterdam. “It also shows that the university is becoming a global player in its fields, where in the first place our students and alumni benefit from it.”

This success in the ranking is the fruit of more than 20 years of investment in our research culture and research environment, says Dean Ansgar Richter. The Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), a collaboration between RSM and Erasmus School of Economics, was ranked fourth globally in the Shanghai Ranking for its management research. ERIM has five research programmes. Prof. Richter: “In this unique environment, we combine research intensity and scale. It is great to see this approach recognised through this ranking.”

High rankings galore

RSM keeps its high position in other rankings too. The 2020 Masters in Management ranking from the Financial Times (FT) shows RSM has climbed from sixth to fifth place worldwide for its MSc International Management programme.

QS published the top master degrees in five popular business subjects in its global Business Masters Rankings 2021. QS considers elements such as diversity, thought leadership, employability and value for money. RSM was ranked in four of the five subjects: the Master in Finance ranks 25th worldwide, the Master in Marketing ranks 23rd worldwide, the Master in Management ranks 22nd worldwide, and the Master in Supply Chain Management ranks 4th worldwide.

And in the Times Higher Education (THE) annual 2021 ranking of universities and associated fields, Erasmus University Rotterdam and thus RSM was ranked on a 25th place worldwide for the subject of business and economics.

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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