Rotterdam School of Management: Truly Global Understanding of Business 

An interview with Kai Peters, Dean, Rotterdam School of Management 

About Kai Peters 
Kai Peters (1962) has been the Dean of RSM since 1999. Prior to that, as the school’s Director of MBA Programs, he led the growth of the full-time MBA and the introduction of a part-time MBA. Peters is a frequent lecturer on management education and technology. Peters previously worked with the Science Research Associates division of IBM and Volkswagen. 

About RSM 
Originally set up in 1966 by the Dutch private sector as a vehicle for post-experience management education, the RSM was developed through a joint venture between the Universities of Rotterdam and Delft. In the 1980s, several MBA, MBI, non-degree programs, and tailor-made executive programs were started. Since 2000, RSM launched its OneMBA, Masters in Financial Management and Masters in Human Resource Management, as well as moved to a new building. 

Could you give us a brief overview of your MBA program? 

RSM’s top-ranked full-time MBA and MBA/MBI Program brings together roughly 170 participants from more than 50 countries for an intensive 15-month hands-on approach to management. In addition to a general management education, which combines the highest academic quality with real-world relevance, participants can focus on the management of information technology, finance, marketing, strategy, and entrepreneurship. The program commences in October every year. In addition to a required internship during the summer, students also have the possibility to spend one semester as an exchange student at one of RSM’s 30 exchange partner schools worldwide. 

What is the profile of your participants? 

The average age of participants in the Full-time MBA and MBA/MBI program is 29, with 5.5 years of work experience. Some 96% of our students are international, with the study body comprising 52 different nationalities. Our students can be characterized as ambitious, intelligent, having good leadership qualities and being able to work in international, high-pressure environments. 

What sets your program apart from other MBA programs? 

The school facilitates and develops a truly global understanding of business. Both research and teaching are problem-based, action-oriented and rooted in the humanist traditions of Erasmus University. Resident and visiting faculty provide participants with a broad vision, as well as cutting edge insights into financial markets, technology, innovation and logistics, and the strategic and people aspects of international business. Value is created from sharing diverse cultures, knowledge, relationships and contemporary business practice. It is a place that appreciates and encourages creativity, energy, and innovation. 

Do you encourage your full-time students to participate in extracurricular activities? How? 

Extra-curricular activities are a vital aspect of the RSM experience. Students have organized themselves in various student clubs, such as the Consulting Club, Finance and Investment Club, General Industry Club, One Step Beyond Club and the Start-up Club. These provide students with an opportunity to exchange knowledge and information and engage in activities that will benefit them in their careers. 

What is your school doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking? 

The strength of RSM is based on the creation and exchange of ideas concerning business and economics. This intellectual curiosity is fostered by faculty members taking both an academic and an applied approach to their subjects, and benefiting from the synergies of this combination.
Rotterdam has built a world-class reputation in Economics and Econometrics. Nobel Prize Laureate Jan Tinbergen set the groundwork for excellent research in these fields. Among his Ph.D. students was Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, the present Director of the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

Within the field of Finance, there is enormous depth and breadth both in teaching and research. The Erasmus Finance Web draws together all of the applied and theoretical activities in the field, emphasizing the problem-solving approach used in Rotterdam. 

In the field of Strategy and Organization, there is tremendous interest and expertise in issues concerning organization forms and transformations. Faculty members including Henk Volberda, Frans van den Bosch, Bart Nooteboom, Barbara Krug, Charles Baden Fuller, and Mitch Koza have built world-class reputations for their publications and applied research. 

Further strengths lie in Technology and Innovation, where the strong emphasis on logistics and innovative approaches to IT allow faculty to bring their experiences from the field into the classroom in areas ranging from transport, through electronic auctions to software and hardware production and outsourcing. 

What can you tell us about your school’s success in finding its graduate’s employment? 

RSM Students benefit from the services of the Career Management Center. The CMC is dedicated to matching the career needs of students with the recruitment needs of companies. 

In addition to specific recruitment services, the CMC also enables companies to raise their profile amongst potential future employees, by supporting educational initiatives and leading workshops. Services and activities include, among others: 

– The Annual RSM Careers Fair as a way for companies to reach all RSM students in a single afternoon. Companies can use this either as the principal marketing event at RSM or in conjunction with other CMC services, raising the visibility of their organization. 
– Company Presentations to current full-time students in the MBA, MBA/MBI, and MFM programs, widely recognized as the best way for a company to raise students’ awareness of the challenges and benefits of working at the company, and the career opportunities available. Presentations take place in the evenings and last up to an hour, normally followed by an informal reception.
– Functional Area Panels held annually, with RSM alumni invited back to RSM to share their knowledge of different functional roles and their experiences since graduation with current students. Naturally, alumni on the Functional Area Panels also act as ambassadors for their companies.
– On-campus interview arranged by the CMC for both summer and full-time positions. The CMC provides a single point of contact for the company and selected candidates, preparing the schedule(s) and making all other arrangements. The CMC also coordinates interview schedules using RSM’s video-conferencing facilities.
– Online Recruitment Tools available to Companies free of charge and provided in partnership with
– Workshops organized for the students, provide valuable skills that last a lifetime, such as interview skills and writing cover letters. 

As a result of all these efforts, 64% of students had a job offer before graduation, while 87% had a job offer three months after graduation. On average, student’s salaries doubled after graduation.


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