For the first time, the local and regional impact of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has been officially measured – and the results are impressive. In monetary terms alone, RSM’s total financial impact on the economy of the Randstad is € 471 million. The assessment also measured intellectual impact, the impact of RSM on local business development, and societal impact, among other factors.

Over the past few months RSM has been through a rigorous Business School Impact System assessment (BSIS) organised by EFMD Global to collect data that quantifies how it benefits the local environment. Benefits include creating new jobs and businesses, providing specialist employees, and conducting research into local issues. The BSIS assessors’ report is based on 120 indicators that measure seven kinds of impact, and it demonstrates RSM has a significant impact within the region. RSM will use the information and recommendations in the assessment as it develops and implements its strategy.

There are currently only 51 business schools across 17 countries that have received the BSIS label. The BSIS assessment used RSM data from 2019 to measure:

  • financial impact
  • educational impact
  • business development impact
  • intellectual impact
  • impact within the regional ecosystem
  • societal impact
  • impact on the image of the region.

Measuring progress

“We can take pride from the findings in the BSIS report for what we have already achieved, but it’s also a benchmark from which to measure our progress,” said RSM Director of Marketing and Communications Willem Koolhaas. “Impact and engagement are already core elements of the RSM strategy, so the results of the assessment will provide a benchmark for other ways that we influence the region and from which to move forward,” he said. “The process also gave use a couple of new tools that can help us – and other organisations – to map opportunities and gaps for improving impact.”

Professor Ansgar Richter, Dean of RSM said: “The BSIS process and outcome was instrumental in developing in-depth knowledge about our regional impact. It delivered some key insights that we will use in our strategic planning.”

RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world garnered special recognition. The BSIS assessors stated that the way the mission, based on the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), is embedded into so many RSM activities is ‘very impressive’ and confirmed that the mission is strongly embedded in the way RSM addresses regional challenges.

“We have already brainstormed for more ideas to make our work more impactful and help the region to become an area where positive change happens,” said Prof. Richter.

Achievements in impact – highlights

  • In 2019, RSM had an estimated financial impact in the Randstad of € 471 million, the vast majority of which is in the international transport hub of Rotterdam.
  • Students from the region constitute 38 per cent of the total student body, while national students from outside the region constitute 22 per cent.
  • 47 per cent of RSM’s international students find their first job within the Netherlands
  • Around 29,000 of RSM alumni work in the region.
  • There are 158 local companies with 500 employees or more that have RSM alumni in senior and leadership positions.
  • More than 70 professors are engaged in activities that transfer knowledge from their high-level research to business practices in the region
  • In 2019, 63 start-ups were facilitated in the Rotterdam region and 9 start-ups were created in the Randstad region with the help of RSM’s Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE).
  • Since RSM’s formation in 1970, more than 1,000 companies have been founded by RSM alumni.
  • 74 per cent of RSM research output is related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • 73 RSM faculty members have functions within local professional or civic bodies.
  • RSM was one of the first business schools in the world with an academic department dedicated to the role of business in society.
  • RSM has eight chairs (senior faculty positions) dedicated to CSR and sustainable development.

The BSIS assessment made use of statistical data to quantify RSM’s impact, but also noted other positive effects that result from the School’s activities across the seven aspects of impact that they measured.

Measurements using new tools

The RSM team working on the assessment developed two new tools to help them provide information to the organisation behind BSIS, EFMD Global

RSM’s Regional Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem Monitor considers the position of an organisation within that ecosystem in terms of its capital, expertise, network, education and support. Mapping the opportunities and gaps in this way can enhance local engagement and help to build influence.

The assessment process also led to the development of an ‘SDG Mapper’ – software that enables RSM to measure How much of its curriculum and research is related to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals underpin RSM’s mission to be a force for positive change in the world. For example, the SDG Mapper shows that more than 75 per cent of RSM research is related to the SDGs.

The full report can be found here.

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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