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 a recent RSM master graduate, the annual Sustainability Master Thesis award honours research that combines academic excellence and business relevance related to the management of sustainability. The award is a cash prize of €1,000, and the runner-up receives €500.

Read the news article of this year's winner and runner-up here

Award Criteria

To qualify for the KPMG-RSM Sustainability Master Thesis Award, each thesis subject must be related to social and ecological sustainability, and have achieved a mark of at least 8.5 during its 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.

2016 Winner: Tirza Voss

Thesis title: Partnering up for fairtrade climate neutral coffee

Tirza Voss graduated cum laude from the BSc in International Business Administration as well as from the MSc International Management / CEMS at RSM. She has travelled and worked in several Asian and South American countries, and participated in study exchanges in India and China. Tirza has seen how people are affected by the challenges of poverty, climate change and inequality. Being ambitious and driven by the notion that her contributions make a difference, she took an active role in many extracurricular activities, social enterprises and NGOs focused on sustainability. Tirza is co-ordinating community programmes in a slum near Phnom Penh, supporting local staff from her Cambodian NGO which she founded with two Australian partners. She also initiated a Dutch charity to provide support and finance for the centre in the long term. Tirza plans to extend her impact by pursuing a career in multinational enterprises, encouraging and supporting large organisations in their moves towards more sustainable practices and building bridges between stakeholders to create a greater positive global impact.

2016 Runner-Up: Nadine Kooiker

Thesis title: Educating for the future: a multi perspective case study on sustainable business education in marketing curriculum

Swiss-born and Dutch-raised, Nadine Kooiker graduated cum laude from RSM’s MSc in Marketing Management. She has held marketing and sustainability roles with some of the world’s most renowned producers of fast-moving consumer goods: Philips, Unilever, and Heineken. Nadine noticed first-hand how business schools still lag behind corporations and government entities when it comes to sustainability interests. So, she researched how business schools can offer sustainable business education to most effectively learn and endow students with sustainability relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes. Nadine started in the management traineeship programme of Philips in September 2015. Her first assignment is global consumer marketing management in haircare. Nadine also has a deep passion for sustainability, striving to incorporate its principles into everyday business practices. She says that whether she’s working individually or collaborating with a team, she’s inspired to make a difference in everything she does.

Nominee: Annemijn ten Brinke

Thesis title: Made to market – an exploratory research of user involvement in radical sustainability‐oriented innovation

Annemijn ten Brinke is a graduate trainee for an international retailing group based in the Netherlands. She’s always been passionate about food and fast-moving consumer goods, as well as how changing consumer needs can drive innovation for sustainability and new business models. Her interest in sustainability and innovation was further developed in RSM’s MSc International Management / CEMS programme. As a part of the programme, Annemijn spent three months in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she was the first-ever intern at the economic section of the Embassy of the Netherlands. After returning from Kinshasa, Annemijn backpacked through Indonesia with her two sisters. In addition to travelling, Annemijn also enjoys cooking, running and yoga.

Nominee: Rowan Siskens

Thesis title: Incentives for off-peak charging of electric vehicles  

After graduating from RSM’s MSc in Business Information Management, Rowan Siskens followed a semester at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He was stunned at the lack of awareness how to live sustainably. With his master degree in the pocket and driving on a scooter in the midst of thousands of other highly polluting trucks, cars, and motorbikes, Rowan is even more motivated to work harder for a sustainable world when he returns to the Netherlands at the end of 2016.

Nominee: Vincent de Wolf

Thesis title: Merging social benefit and business value

Vincent de Wolf works as a management consultant at Capgemini Consulting. He graduated with honours from the MSc in Strategic Management in 2015, after completing the MSc in Supply Chain Management a year earlier. He enjoys sinking his teeth in new projects and always strives to connect the dots, whether through data-driven analysis or conceptual thinking. Vincent likes to analyse how companies can be motivated to contribute to a healthier world. He thinks about until what point a company’s incentives, motivations and capabilities are aligned with societal and environmental goals. And at what point it is necessary to have intervention from governments or through industry self-governance? This issue was also an important theme in Vincent’s final thesis. At Capgemini, Vincent is gaining experience as a consultant. In the future, he hopes to be involved in the design and implementation of sustainable procurement and logistics strategies for clients.