First Two Weeks at Rotterdam School of Management

Jason Liu

IMBA Candidate '17, RSM Candidate '17


This August marks the start of the RBS-RSM dual degree program for me. As the only candidate in this program in its first year, I am more than honored to share my experience not only in RSM, but also in the Netherlands from the past 2 weeks.

Following the buzz of repeating important information for 3 times, I have to start by stressing that this is not an MBA program, rather a regular master one. Nevertheless, the characteristics of RSM’s programs do not necessarily make the dual degree program less interesting or challenging. To be specific, RSM currently operates 15 MSc programs, 11 of which are open to RBS students. As the name implies, MSc is a taught program with a nominal duration of 1 year. Unlike the conventional semesters, the entire program is divided into 5 blocks and there are at least 2 courses in 1 block. Consequently, you will have to sit in 2 or more exams every other month. Although MScs are not strongly research-based, students can choose the career path to find a job or the academic path to pursue PhD upon graduation.

Beautiful RSM Campus

My choice of program is MSc in supply chain management. This year, my class consists of 150 students from 27 countries with an average age of 23. The orientation started in late August and lasted for 1 whole week. Besides company visits and seminars, it is worth mentioning that the school organized a trip out of Rotterdam to Beekbergen, northeast of the Netherlands, where the class stayed at a hotel to facilitate the team-building activities in the day and party at night. I am personally a strong believer in ‘work hard, play hard’, therefore, when the party ended, it was time to start working.

Orientation Activities: Team-building during the day and welcome party at night

Our hotel during Orientation week

Once again, this is not an MBA program. Rules here are even more strict. Students are usually put into small groups of around 3, which gives every group member a significant amount of work to do. Besides, it is impossible to free-load as other members do have the power to kick the free-loader out which will basically lead to an F in the class.

Rotterdam is a beautiful city in my eyes. It is probably the only city in the Netherlands that has a skyline. All the creative structures and modern designs make it an ideal place for architects to seek inspiration or tourists sightseeing. I am lucky enough to temporarily stay at a neighborhood that is close to Markthal and the cubic houses. However, I do wish I had the luxury of time to explore more of the city. After all, this is not an MBA program. The mindset of how you interact with classmates and how you study should be adjusted to fit in the mode of competing with students who are most likely a lot younger than you are.