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. For the 11th year, KPMG has sponsored and awarded a recent RSM master graduate, the annual Sustainability Master Thesis award; honouring 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.

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.

Nominee: Thomas Behrendt

Thesis title: Rethinking episodic volunteering in the light of the gig economy

Thomas is a summa cum laude graduate of RSM’s MSc International Management / CEMS programme. In 2014, he obtained a bachelor degree in business administration from LMU Munich, where he also discovered his passion for voluntary work as board member of a non-profit organisation. Ever since, Thomas has strived to combine a successful career in business with a strong commitment to a good cause. His adventurous mindset and interest in foreign cultures have led him not only to study in Colombia and Turkey, but also to work for a consulting company in Brazil. During his tenure at RSM, Thomas developed a genuine fascination for entrepreneurship and technology, eventually completing an award-winning business project at a high-tech startup in The Hague. His thesis on episodic volunteering offered the perfect opportunity to combine his previous experience with the desire to conduct impactful research. “I wanted to think outside of the box and dedicate my time to a sector where help is really needed.” Currently, Thomas works in a business development role for a software company in Berlin.

Nominee: Tatjana Mirosnicenko

Thesis title: E-Grocery: the effectiveness of content sharing on social media in promoting green slot choice behavior

Tatjana worked at a bank for three years before she decided to pursue a bachelor degree in international business at Maastricht University (2012-2015). During that time Tatjana joined the foundation Enactus as a board member, and also worked as an international student ambassador for the university. In Ecuador, where she spent her semester abroad, Tatjana realised that she enjoys the complexity of a supply chain. To gain practical experience in that field, she completed internships at Miles & More (Lufthansa), HUGO BOSS and a consulting company before she started RSM’s MSc in Supply Chain Management from which she graduated cum laude in 2017. In her thesis, Tatjana did not solely focus on the supply chain, but also included the aspect of social media. Tatjana moved to Dublin after her thesis defense to pursue a career in strategic sourcing within leading global building materials group CRH.

Nominee: Jonathan Rüden

Thesis title: Charging ahead – predicting optimal charging station locations across multiple cities

Jonathan worked in a homeless shelter in the USA for one year directly upon his high school graduation, and discovered that the world can be changed by the little things but if the frame isn’t right it would take forever. This led him to study business, economics and renewable energy engineering in Berlin and California to find ways of bringing sustainability closer to everyone. The experience at university and his subsequent employment in consulting and software development showed Jonathan how far both worlds are still disconnected. Which led him to RSM to learn how to become more proficient in developing and supporting theories with data. The result of which was a combination of the previously acquired skills and knowledge: showing, with the power of machine learning algorithms, how sustainable car sharing can be more profitable and therefore grow faster.

Nominee: Merle Stadhouders

Thesis title: Determinants of longevity of smart city innovation ecosystems and projects

Merle is a graduate of RSM’s MSc Business Information Management. She mainly focused on data analytics, and followed a master exchange semester at HEC Montréal specialising in logistics and innovation. Merle did an internship at Dutch lingerie manufacturer Hunkemöller, and was part of student organisations AIESEC and the New Fashion Society. She wrote her master thesis during an internship at Cisco, a multinational technology conglomerate. Her fascination for technology, innovation and the role of data in our society led her to focus on smart city ecosystems. Currently, Merle is doing a premaster Data Science and Entrepreneurship at the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. In the near future, she wants to use data and technologies to establish sustainable processes and products to create a positive impact in the fashion industry.

Nominee: Pam van Wanrooij

Thesis title: The BOGO model: a comparative case study

Pam graduated from RSM’s MSc Global Business & Sustainability in 2017. After her BSc in International Business Administration, she’d taken a gap year to work and travel. Her travels to Southeast Asia amazed her and opened her eyes. “I saw so many beautiful things, but realised that people did so little to sustain this beauty. That is when I decided that my future job would have to contribute something to a more sustainable world and decided to study global business and sustainability.” Pam is currently looking for a job in the field of sustainability.