KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award

KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award

A highlight of the RSM Sustainability Forum is the presentation of the KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award. Sponsored by KPMG and awarded to an RSM Master student, the annual Sustainability Master Thesis award aims to honour research that combines academic excellence and business relevance in a topic related to the management of sustainability. It is recognised with a cash prize of €1000. A Runner-up receives €500.

To qualify, thesis subjects must be related to social and ecological sustainability; each thesis must have achieved a mark of at least 8.5 during the thesis defence. Theses from the past academic year are reviewed; an RSM panel arrives at a shortlist of five theses chosen for a combination of  academic excellence, socio-environmental impact, business relevance and originality. The final winner is determined by a select jury of external leaders working in the field of corporate sustainability.  

This year, the recipients of the KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award:

WINNER: Maaike Antrag

Maaike Antrag is a management trainee for a logistics company possessing a reverse logistics and recycling branch. She’s always held a great interest for supply chain management, and developed a strong affinity with sustainability during her studies. Maaike also co-organised the first RSM Sustainability Forum. Her team won the Sustainability Challenge 2013 with their solution for sustainable delivery of Dutch city centres.

 After graduation, Maaike worked for a volunteering project in Malaysia. She says this was her greatest experience so far. She worked on a national project that focused on creating awareness for electric waste, and at the same time collected old electronic equipment that would be refurbished and reused for IT education for the unprivileged part of the Malaysian society. “I always love being back in Asia, so being able to help people out there was truly amazing,” she says. 

RUNNER-UP: Sjaak Heuvels

Sjaak Heuvels is 26 years old and lives in Amsterdam. He graduated with distinction from RSM’s MSc in Global Business & Stakeholder Management in 2013. His professional career started at one of the biggest Dutch fashion retailers when he took on the role of social compliance officer. Sjaak is responsible for working circumstances at clothing factories all over the world, a fascinating industry that faces many complex challenges. He enjoys being a creative problem- solver and tries to provide solutions in complex situations. In addition, he is keen on discovering new cultures and enjoys running. He says one of his biggest achievements so far is completing the New York City Marathon in 2014.


Nominee: Michelle Engert

Michelle Engert is a trainee currently stationed at the port of Hamburg, where she provides logistics solutions for clients. She graduated from RSM in 2013, with a BSc in International Business Administration and an MSc in Supply Chain Management. After graduation, she spent six months in Dusseldorf and is now completing her last month in Hamburg. She will soon pack her bags again and move to a new destination to deal with new challenges. Michelle is getting to know the practical side of the logistics world with great curiosity, passion and dedication after growing up in the USA and Germany, and her excellent theoretical basis in Rotterdam.

Nominee: Berdien Fennema

Berdien Fennema is an ambitious, adventurous and active young professional with a positive mindset. She is passionate about design, supply chain management and innovation, and eager to make this world a better, more beautiful place. Berdien is inspired by an environment that moves forward and thinks ahead. She is not afraid of new challenges and loves to get a puzzle solved. 

Berdien has successfully implemented warehouse management of dangerous goods compliant to national regulations. She currently co-develops a supply chain strategy for the Damen Shiprepair & Conversion Group with the aim of managing scarce resources more efficiently and effectively, resulting in benefits across the sustainability spectrum: environmentally, economically and socially. In the future, she hopes to be a thought leader on sustainability.

Nominee: Stephanie Maas

Stephanie Maas is an enthusiastic and dedicated young professional. She obtained a bachelor degree in Business Administrations from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a master degree in Global Business and Stakeholder Management from RSM. Her master thesis about episodic volunteering proved to be only the beginning, as she currently works as a junior researcher in volunteer management within RSM’s Department of Business-Society Management. It is a good match for her affinity with sustainability, as the department offers a humanistic perspective on the interface between business and society. Stephanie’s research focuses on trends in volunteerism with a special avidity for episodic volunteering. She has developed a special interest to examine episodic volunteering from an organisational perspective. Her ambition is to make a valuable contribution to the fields of volunteer and non-profit management.