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60 RSM MBA students join women in leadership panel in June 2016
60 RSM MBA students join women in leadership panel in June 2016

Almost 60 students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) joined an MBA women in leadership panel on campus on 14 June 2016. Speakers included top business leaders from Unilever, Gartner, Prologis and MediRisk, who talked about their challenges and achievements when climbing the corporate ladder.

The event’s attendees from RSM’s International Full-time MBA and Executive MBA programmes represented 26 female students and 32 male students, who were equally involved in the panel debates and round-table discussions.

Perspectives from business leaders

Juan Maldonado Alcazar, a Mexican student from the MBA Class of 2017 said the panelists had “refreshing points of view” about their experiences in the workforce. “It was good to understand the challenges that my female colleagues can face in the business environment,” he said.

Speakers in the panel were Christina Bauer-Plank, vice-president marketing foods and beverages Europe at Unilever; Martina Gaiser-Janackova, associate director at IT research organisation Gartner; Kate Carter Perrett, director global learning and development at industrial logistics real estate company Prologis; and Marjoleine van der Zwan, former chief operating officer at insurance company MediRisk.

Diversity challenges

They told the audience how they achieved where they are today, including how they dealt with breaking the glass ceiling, challenges they faced as women in business, how their companies deal with gender diversity, and why it is important for male business professionals to understand women in leadership positions.

Maldonado Alcazar says talking about gender diversity is important for young professionals. “It’s a matter of equal opportunity and compensation regardless of people’s gender, race, age or beliefs.”


The women in leadership panel was organised by Alejandra Meneses and Marina Vargas (both MBA Class of 2017), who are the co-presidents of RSM’s Women in Leadership Club, which is part of the MBA Student Association. They said: “Our mission is to promote the balance and understanding between men and women, and try to eliminate the misconceptions when it comes to leadership.” The co-presidents added that’s why they were “happy to have some of our male colleagues with us.”

The event concluded with networking drinks. In addition to the panel discussions on 14 June, the students from the Women in Leadership Club organised a networking lunch and masterclass about personal branding on Friday 17 June. The presentation was led by RSM alumna Elsa Alexandra Razborsek (Full-time MBA’13).

Women in business

RSM’s Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) is also committed to women’s continued advancement into leadership positions across multiple sectors. Its programmes for executives focus on best practices, sharing insights, learning about the latest research on female and gender-balanced leadership, comparing experiences, and discussing ideas and challenges.

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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