The prestigious annual KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award will be presented at the RSM-STAR Sustainability Forum on Thursday, 21 April. It’s a huge honour for the winning master student – not to mention the €1,000 prize that comes with it. But did you know that the shortlist for this annual competition is decided by a committee of students? The students reviewedmore than 1,500 theses to be able to recommend just five of them to the panel of KPMG judges, the experts in business and sustainability, who will choose a winner. The students started sifting through thetheses months ago, and here they describe their experiences.

How a great thesis is written

Mandy Jorna (MSc Strategic Management 2022) said she applied to take part in the committee because it presented an opportunity to see how great theses are written, and to work with fellow students. “It was inspiring to read so many outstanding theses with such diverse subjects. To be able to give extra attention to research which can contribute to a more sustainable and greener future and to do this with a great team has made me grateful. And contact with the nominees and setting up the ceremony has been a really nice experience too.”

Potential impact in a master thesis

Viktor Wisniewski (MSc Strategic Management 2022) commented on reviewing so many theses before he had even written his own:“I expected to learn a lot about what it takes to write a well-rounded thesis at RSM. My expectations were fully met, and I was also pleasantly surprised at the content and potential impact of the work in students’ theses.”

He said that working on a committee and organising the event itself was also a learning experience: “Working with a team comprising so many different characters was a pleasant addition to my study experience. And the glimpse of what it takes to set up an award ceremony is another aspect I liked about my work on the committee.”

Personal significance

Committee member Yulin Ai (MSc Supply Chain Management 2022) is determined to take the experience forward into her career: “Working on the committee was certainly enjoyable and fulfilling, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with the team as well as contribute to the thesis award. This work improves me personally, and it also has significance for me as a social citizen. If I can be a team manager in my career then I will keep in mind the far-reaching meaning of ‘sustainability’ and actively practice it.”

Shared with broader audiences

After being part of the team reading through the 1500 theses, Mari Cho (MSc Business Analytics & Management 2022) is hoping for their contents to become more widely known.  “I am glad that these outstanding master theses about sustainability have gotten the chance to be known and shared with a broader audience. I have learned a lot and improved through numerous discussions and sessions of thesis studies so I can really appreciate the teamwork we have done for this outcome.”

The student committee

The 2021-2022 RSM Positive Change Initiative international student committee comprised:

The KPMG-RSM Sustainability Thesis Award will be presented at the RSM STAR Sustainability Forum at 13:30 on 21 April. There’s a prize of € 1,000 for the winner and € 500 for the runner-up; prizes are donated byRSM’s business partner, KPMG. It will be held in the Forumzaal of the Van der Goot Building and has the theme of ‘Where does Responsibility Lie?’

More details – including tickets – about the RSM-STAR Sustainability Forum 2022

Read more about last year’s winner of the KPMG-RSM Sustainability Thesis Award.

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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