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In a three-week Living Management Project, 106 MBA students from the Class of 2017 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) solved real-life business challenges for 10 companies including Google, FrieslandCampina and Philips Healthcare. The course took place between 27 June and 13 July 2016.

RSM partners with various organisations for the annual Living Management Project every year. In this International Full-time MBA course, students work on a live business problem individually, with their teams and with their clients through reflection meetings supported by coaches, written assignments, and workshops.

Solving real-life business problems

In teams of five or six participants, the students worked on projects for 10 organisations; Ceradis, FrieslandCampina, Parhelion, OTB Group, Google, Index Initiative, Sabic, Nationale Nederlanden, Philips Healthcare, and THNK. Each company worked with two student teams, who immersed themselves in helping the company solve a real-life business issue while confronting the triple challenge of management, team and personal effectiveness.

Portuguese MBA student Alexandre Matoso was elected as the conductor of his Index Initiative team. “I had to find ways to manage a newly formed team,” he said. “The project definitely taught me a lot about leadership and different leadership styles.”

Putting knowledge into practice

“This challenge was a great experience for me to learn problem-solving processes by actually doing a real company project,” said Yoko Fujimoto, a Japanese MBA student who worked closely with Philips Healthcare on a sustainability project.

“It was a great opportunity to covert our academic experiences at RSM into real business plans,” said Fujimoto. “It was challenging and exciting to apply my own knowledge to the new industry and develop solid business plans for Philips within only three weeks,” she said, adding that she learned new and comprehensive knowledge which she can utilise in her future work.

Team building skills

“I also gained team building skills, particularly in a challenging situation. I learned how to prevent a conflict before it happens,” said Fujimoto.

Laura Diaz Sainz, a Mexican MBA student in one of the Google teams, said the Living Management Project was overwhelming and complex. “The diversity within the teams, the dynamics, managing the relationship with the customer, delivering a good result, putting your experiences on the table; it’s all very challenging,” she said, adding that the Living Management Project helped her find her leadership style. “I also learned how to adjust to others and respect those differences. I feel really comfortable with who I am and what I stand for.”

Experiential learning

“The Living Management Project is a highlight for the full-time MBA programme, because it’s experiential, so students really learn by doing,” said Nicolas Constantinesco, lead faculty member for the annual project. “It integrates all elements of real business life: thinking about problems, and working with people and in teams.”

The Living Management Project concluded with the teams’ final presentations and a networking BBQ for the RSM MBA students and client organisations.

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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