Chapter 1 RSM's regional and local impact
Measuring RSM’s local and regional impact
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In managing the transition towards becoming a fully impact-led institution, where the knowledge RSM creates and its participation in society provides meaningful value to communities locally and globally, it is crucial to first have a solid understanding of the impact the school already has. After all, for any organisation to move forward with an eye to the future, it is essential to know exactly where it stands in the present.
RSM’s outgoing dean, Prof. Ansgar Richter explains: “How do we know if we have made a difference? We need to be able to measure the impact that our work and our engagement with society has. We have begun to track the impact of our work more systematically than we have done in the past, which is important, but we need to do more to develop a more detailed picture.”
With exactly this in mind, in 2020 the Business School Impact System (BSIS) Report provided RSM with the first quantifiable assessment of its impact in the Rotterdam area and the Randstad region of the Netherlands. Undertaken by EFMD, a global, non-profit, membership-driven organisation dedicated to management development, the BSIS Report assesses the impact of RSM on its local and regional environment. The Report uses 120 indicators that measure seven key areas of impact: societal, financial, educational, business development, intellectual, regional ecosystem, and the image of the region. The findings were impressive and led to an award of the BSIS label for a three-year period.
1. Financial impact
The money spent in the region by RSM, employees, students, visiting academics, and by everyone who comes to the campus in relation to the School’s activities is a measure of its financial impact in the Randstad. RSM defines the Mainport Rotterdam area as the local impact zone, and the Randstad region as the regional impact zone. The economic and administrative centre of the Netherlands, the Randstad is a megalopolis containing the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam.
“These are large amounts for the local economy. We can easily imagine the negative repercussions for the impact zone if the School was to disappear! All things being equal, the impact zone could lose a huge financial resource.” BSIS Report
2. Educational impact
The educational reputation of a good business school enhances the image and attractiveness of the city and region in which it is based. RSM’s ability to attract talented students locally, and from outside the region – particularly internationally – reinforces a positive image, not just of the School, but also of the quality and attractiveness of Rotterdam, the Randstad region, and to some degree the Netherlands as a whole.
As new students flow into RSM, new graduates flow out into local, regional and national job markets. The employment rate was very high in 2019 – almost 100 per cent – for master and MBA students regionally, nationally and internationally, highlighting RSM’s achievements in providing the knowledge and skills young people need to successfully enter the job market after graduation.
Executive education is a major part of the School’s portfolio with around 1,500 participants from the region enrolled in the programmes each year. The range of client companies participating in RSM’s Executive Education portfolio of open and customised programmes is diverse and drawn from a broad section of industries and sectors.
3. Business development impact
By making resources available to companies and encouraging entrepreneurship, RSM has a positive impact on the economic development of the region.
As an example, the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship – jointly founded by RSM and the Erasmus School of Economics – is the leading centre for entrepreneurship in Europe. It teaches the foundations of entrepreneurship to 3,000 students every year, and is an active member of start-up and scale-up networks including TechleapNL and DutchCE. In 2019, the ECE was recognised as the top start-up incubator in the Netherlands by Emerce.
“In conclusion, we can say that in terms of business development impact, the contributions of RSM are very substantial.” BSIS Report
of international students ﬁnd their ﬁrst job in the Netherlands
of international students ﬁnd their ﬁrst job in the Netherlands
In 2019, with the help of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship:
start-ups were facilitated in the Rotterdam region
start-ups were created in the Randstad region
companies were founded by RSM alumni
RSM alumni have
senior and leadership positions in 158 local companies with 500+ employees
4. Intellectual impact
In addressing challenges or issues that are faced by or are relevant to the region, RSM has developed many research-based partnerships with local companies, professional associations and government agencies. Indeed, the BSIS Report found that “a significant volume of research is embedded in the local context.”
The findings and managerial implications of these joint research efforts are shared with regional stakeholders with the purpose of stimulating positive action in addressing the issues at hand, thus furthering the School’s reputation as an active participant in tackling regional concerns.
Presenting public lectures, events and conferences on topics of interest to regional stakeholders is a direct means through which RSM engages with the wider community in ways that inspire, inform and educate.
Another example of engaging with the wider community is RSM’s Series on Positive Change. These are publications written by faculty members with the purpose of giving information about important societal trends, and about opportunities for business to contribute to positive change.
Engagement through collaborations with the management community and by contributing to the cultural life of the community has further enhanced RSM’s regional impact. Open seminars, for example, were held to support the wider dissemination of the topics addressed in the Series on Positive Change publications, which has allowed RSM to share its mission-based research with stakeholders more widely.
An effective channel for sharing the School’s research output is RSM Discovery. First published in 2009 in the form of a quarterly magazine and more recently operating as an online knowledge platform, RSM Discovery serves as a bridge between academic management research and the needs of executives. RSM Discovery has published hundreds of articles, videos and blog posts highlighting the practical, real-world value of its research to the extent that the BSIS Report noted: “The RSM Discovery platform plays a significant role in the dissemination and the outreach of academic outputs.”
In addition, RSM has developed a unique SDG ratio methodology, which maps how the School’s research and communication efforts connect with the UN's SDGs. This shows that during the 2016-2018 period, around three quarters of all the School’s research and related communications were directly relevant to the societal challenges outlined in the SDGs.
5. Impact within the regional ecosystem
The impact of a business school within its regional ecosystem is determined by assessing the level of engagement of its faculties and course participants in public life within the region’s community, and the integration of the school into the regional ecosystem of higher educational institutions, professional associations, public bodies and local authorities.
RSM is engaged in many collaborative partnerships with local institutions and public authorities. One such example is the EU-funded smart city project, RUGGEDISED, which brings cities, businesses and research partners together with the purpose of combining ICT, e-mobility and energy solutions to improve quality of life for citizens, reduce environmental impact and create a stimulating environment for sustainable economic development.
Highlighting RSM’s contribution to economic development, many of the School’s alumni are leaders in or founders of the Randstad’s top 250 scale-ups, demonstrating the high impact the School has on business development and entrepreneurship in the region.
In summing up RSM’s impact within the regional ecosystem, the BSIS Report states that through research, connections, partnerships and investments projects, the School operates as an innovation influencer locally and regionally. Further, through its partnerships with other universities and schools, RSM’s influence on the academic ecosystem is of particular significance, and that RSM contributes significantly to the entrepreneurship dynamic of Rotterdam and the region.
In 2019, RSM was engaged in:
research partnerships with regional companies and organisations
RSM’s full-time professors hold:
functions within local professional or civic bodies
6. Societal impact
This identifies the impact of explicit strategies in areas such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development; the integration of these into the School’s academic and educational undertakings, and policies for diversity and equal access across all of the School’s activities.
That RSM has a long tradition of integrating social and societal impact into teaching and research is acknowledged by the BSIS in its report.
In 2017, at the launch of RSM’s strategic mission to be a force for positive change in the world, it announced its alignment with the UN SDGs – a commitment that saw the School embed sustainability topics into its educational programmes, research agenda and engagement activities with all its stakeholders.
Already since 2007, RSM became one of the first signatories to the UN PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) initiative.
7. Image impact
Image impact assesses the nature of the School’s image regionally, nationally and internationally, and the contribution of the School to the image of the region.
In its report, the BSIS finds that the national image of RSM is most influenced by an extensive alumni network and deep-rooted corporate relationships. RSM is viewed as the main business school in the Netherlands, one with challenging programmes and globally recognised research. Also, RSM is identified in the report as the only business school in the country to have a truly international reputation, which comes courtesy of its standing in international business school rankings, accreditations and peer perceptions.
The School’s international diversity also plays a key part, with many alumni living and working in the Randstad region actively contributing to the local economy directly and through entrepreneurial activities, which in turn add to local and regional job creation and prosperity.
These aspects contribute to RSM creating significant impact on the reputation of Erasmus University, the city of Rotterdam itself, and the Randstad region as a whole.
of RSM’s senior faculty chair positions are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development
of RSM’s research output is related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
of students receive extensive instruction on the SDGs
RSM has developed a unique part-time Executive Master in Customs and Supply Chain Compliance