RSM master student named a St. Gallen Leader of Tomorrow

Master student Sam Vangelos has been selected to attend the exclusive 47th St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland on 3-5 May as one of the world's 200 'leaders of tomorrow'. Vangelos, an MSc Master in Management (MscBA) student at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), will join a global group of talented students to participate in what has become the premier event for debate between students and the world's top decision-makers.

Vangelos' essay was placed among the top 100 out of 1,000 submissions from 350 universities to the event's Wings of Excellence global essay competition. In response to this year's essay prompt: “Breaking the status quo – what’s YOUR disruptive idea?”, Vangelos proposed an innovative plan for leveraging solutions to the world's water scarcity crisis as a way of negotiating peace in the Middle East.

American-born Vangelos is thrilled at the prospect of attending the event: “The St. Gallen Symposium is an unparalleled opportunity for ambitious students like me to make meaningful connections with like-minded people from all over the world. I've already identified so many remarkable and inspiring people who will be attending.”

The dilemma of disruption

Participants at this year's St. Gallen Symposium, which is themed 'The Dilemma of Disruption', will take part in keynote presentations, panels and one-on-one debates with a huge number of influential decision-makers from the helm of business, government, and civil society. Small workshops will give students the opportunity for close interaction and discussion with leaders and each other.

A small sample of this year's speakers includes Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (UK), vice-chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Anders Samuelsen (DK), Danish minister for foreign affairs; Charles O. Holliday (USA), chairman of Royal Dutch Shell plc; and Kersti Kaljulaid (EE), president of Estonia.

A debate between generations

Hosted by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, the St. Gallen Symposium is designed to facilitate debate between the 'Leaders of Today' and the 'Leaders of Tomorrow' and includes a highly competitive essay competition. Every year, 100 participants between the ages of 18 and 25 are chosen to attend the symposium on the basis of their “exceptional capacity to innovate and push boundaries”. A further 100 students are selected on the basis of their essay submission, which must be written on a distinct and challenging issue.

Authors of the 100 best essays receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Switzerland for the symposium. The top five finalists, who are yet to be announced, will present their ideas on stage during the event.

The makings of a leader

In response to why he was chosen, Vangelos says: “I think I demonstrated an ability to conceive of innovative solutions to big problems through the synthesis of a multitude of disciplines, such as international relations, sustainable development, environmental science, geography, and business.”

Vangalos is still waiting to hear if his essay is one of the top 20 submissions. In the meantime, he is looking forward to the event, including the debate with Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer responsible for Donald Trump's bestselling "The Art of the Deal” that turned Donald Trump into a household name in the 1980s: “As an American, I'm excited to attend the debate with Tony Schwartz. Schwartz spent long periods of uninterrupted time with Trump and should offer some unique insights into the machinations of the USA’s current commander in chief.”

Vangelos graduated with a BA in sociology cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, before coming to RSM for his master programme in business administration. During his time at RSM he has also been working as a student consultant for Cardano Development and conducting research for GuarantCo.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 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. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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