CBS Exchange Part 6: Rotterdam School of Management
CBS study program: MSocSc. In Service Management
Exchange school: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
City: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
What is the Rotterdam School of Management like?
Overall I’d say it’s quite similar to CBS. Administration seems to work a little better than at CBS. Full-time RSM students are required to take 22 ECTS credits but CBS requires that you take a full CBS workload, which is 30 ECTS credits. That means you take 6 courses instead of 4 that full-time students take. This means you are actually doing more work here than full-time students, which can be demanding. There is a great sports building on campus that has a lot of facilities for different sports and activities, plus exchange students get a really good deal for it: 39 Euro for the whole stay!
What is the social life like?
There is a party every Tuesday similar to Nexus, although it is not in the university building but in a club. People usually go out on Friday/Saturday, and sometimes there are parties organized by the university associations. We also have poker tournaments almost every week with other exchange students. People also go on short trips to nearby cities. Overall the student life is quite rich, although there is not so much time for it. I also went on introduction trips with the other exchange students, which were very well organized and fun and really helped people to find friends. It is fairly easy to make friends here, especially since a majority of the master programs here are 1 year long, so almost everyone here is new in September and in need of friends.
What is the Dutch culture like?
It is fairly similar to Denmark: a lot of rain, a lot of bikes, flat countryside and canals. However, it is more ethnically rich and multicultural, which I like because it gives the city a more lively atmosphere. The city itself sometimes reminds me of Copenhagen, although it is less historical as it was bombed during WWII. So, there are a lot of modern, tall buildings and a lot of interesting modern architecture. The culture is a bit more open than in Denmark. People tend to talk to strangers a bit more!
Have you had any difficulties with the language?
Not really. The only thing that struck me as weird is that when I talk to attendants in cafés, supermarkets etc., they keep talking to me in Dutch even though I make them aware of the fact that I don’t speak the language. I’m sure they speak English. There are also almost no English signs/menus. It feels like in Copenhagen there are many more public signs and menus available in both Danish and English.
Did you find your own accommodation or can you live at the school?
I was offered to live on campus, but did not choose that option because it was too expensive for me. I found accommodation on my own after my arrival to the city which is considerably cheaper than what I would pay on campus. It is not super close to the university (6km) or the city centre (ca. 3,5km). The other apartments I have seen (e.g. those of my friends here) are quite nice so I haven’t heard anyone complain about the quality of their accommodation.
What courses are you taking and do you like them?
I am taking two courses from the Strategic Management program; Strategy Process (already finished) and Strategy in International Business (in progress now).The quality of instruction, compared to CBS is about the same. I will be taking another two courses: Entrepreneurial Start-up and Management control. These are from 2 different master programs.
On top of that, I am doing the international Business Project, which is a real-life consultancy project spanning over the 4 months that exchange students stay here. Teams are assigned a company and deal with a real-life challenges of the company, under the leadership of both the client (the company coach) and a university representative (the academic coach). I must say I am a bit disappointed, because our client is not communicating with us properly (he is based in the company HQ in London, so communication is a bit more complicated for us than for the other groups, who mostly have their clients in the Netherlands and can visit the company regularly). However, it is a very good concept and I would still recommend people to do it. But be prepared; it is quite a lot of work and it does not always work out the way you want.
What are the main differences between CBS and RSM?
I would say RSM is a better business school than CBS. It seems to be more research-based and theoretical than CBS. RSM also has an actual campus that forms a distinct area with lecture halls, student dorms, cafeterias, a sport building etc., which I would say is a plus. Also there is more space in the library! You will always find a place. As far as I know, there aren’t dedicated group rooms like those we have at CBS, although it is fairly easy to find an empty seminar room or another place where you can do your group work. The cafeterias are more expensive than at CBS and the quality is not as good. The Dutch are used to having sandwiches for lunch, which may be one of the reasons why their lunch offers are not so good.
What is the most bizarre thing that has happened so far?
I ended up living in the exact same room a friend of mine lived in last year – without him helping me with finding it or even tipping me about it, it was a pure coincidence!
Why should CBS students go to Rotterdam for exchange?
It is a good quality business school and there are great people here. If you like Copenhagen, you will probably like it here too as overall, it is fairly similar here. It is a good starting point for traveling throughout the Benelux, although there is not so much time for it . The International Business Project is also a good reason to go!