Netherlands is your answer if you want to do an MBA abroad but worry about language concerns, visa issues, and jobs? The RSM MBA at Erasmus University, Rotterdam offers not great jobs post-MBA, and exposure to a rich culture. A very global class compositions, and a chance to build skills in exciting areas such as digital business await you too! The program trains students to leave a mark on their company/industry. And bring positive change to the world.
In this interview with our Partner, Brandon Kirby, the Director of MBA Marketing and Admissions at the RSM MBA, discusses multiple aspects of the RSM MBA. Key topics include inputs on how to excel at the RSM MBA admissions process and exciting new components of the RSM MBA program. Iit also includes extensive insights on jobs and visa policies in The Netherlands.
A brief transcript of the interview is as below, and the detailed video interview follows.
GyanOne: What sets RSM as a school apart, in your opinion?
Brandon Kirby: We are one of the most globally diverse business schools around the world. Our class is 98% international, with over 75% of it drawn from non-EU nations. The job market is very strong, and that is a further plus for any student looking at the school. The English-speaking nature of the country means easy integration for anyone who speaks English fluently. It is also a chance to get excellent roles after you graduate, without having to learn a new language. RSM is known for its approach to sustainability, and for developing leaders with a vision.
GyanOne: What is different about the RSM MBA program?
Brandon Kirby: I believe there are 3 primary things that differentiate our MBA program. The first is Personal Leadership Development (PLD). At RSM, leadership development is not just a short program; it is based on leadership retreats, mentoring, and group coaching, truly delving into the depth of what it takes to instill leadership.
The second component is our 4-week long consulting project. This is an excellent avenue for students who may not have been consultant earlier, but are now curious to get into the domain. The program is led by an ex-McKinsey professional, who understands the industry and what it takes to excel in it.
The third avenue that distinguishes the RSM MBA from others is something that we are piloting now. It is a deeper opportunity to gain practical learning, this time in the non-profit domain. While we have had several student teams work with for-profit (commercial) organizations in the past, we are now working on a model to help them engage with non-profits too. This would help such organizations meet their own unique challenges. Over time, we hope to expand this program. It reflects our focus on sustainability and our commitment to provide experiential learning to our MBA students.
GyanOne: What does RSM look for in prospective RSM MBA applicants?
Brandon Kirby: The first thing we look for is whether applicants can handle the program academically. This is quite important, as we do not want any applicant to struggle with the analytical component of the MBA. To an extent, many of these indicators can be found in the numbers (GPAs, GMAT scores etc).
Beyond the numbers, we look at the softer aspects – what is unique about the story of each applicant? For example, do they possess international experience and awareness, do they demonstrate a certain degree of resilience in facing situations, and do they have the knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully in a classroom setting? This is also where elements such as self-reflection and emotional intelligence play a key role. These qualities are tested all through, i.e. not just in the written application, but also in the interview.
GyanOne: RSM has reduced its essay set for MBA admissions. How are these qualities tested?
Brandon Kirby: True – after a lot of thought, we have reduced the number of required written essays, because we want to gauge candidates not just on their prepared responses, but also on their communication. This is why we have reintroduced the video essays into the process, with one (video essay) question on cultural awareness and one on resilience. There is also a quick written sample to test skills in basic written communication. Overall, the idea is to get a sense of the skills of applicants in both the prepared (longer written essay) and unprepared (video essay and writing sample) formats.
GyanOne: How can RSM MBA applicants excel at the admissions process?
Brandon Kirby: One of the key things to keep in mind is that you need to show how you are unique as a person. This is quite independent of your professional or educational background. For example, I am an English major (by education), but that does not mean that I am the same as all other people who are English majors too. I have my own stories, experiences, and lessons. The same goes for each applicant. Therefore, it comes down to how you articulate your story, how you reflect on that story and on your life, and what that means for you as a person and a professional. The best applications reflect on the unique personal strengths of the applicant.
GyanOne: How is the visa policy in The Netherlands for international (non-EU) MBA graduates?
Brandon Kirby: When anyone comes to study at RSM, they get an 18-month visa by default, while the program lasts only 12 months. That means 6 extra months to be able to find a job after you graduate, and that can be comforting, with no immediate pressure to have to leave the country. In addition, a 12-month job search visa for graduates of institutions of higher eminence in The Netherlands is also available, and RSM students qualify for this. English-speaking jobs are readily available, making the market a very attractive one for international students.
To know more, please go through the detailed video below (key questions asked in the video are listed in a table below as well, for convenience):
RSM MBA Admissions interview – GyanOne Universal/Brandon Kirby – key questions:
– How does RSM stand out from other business schools? (0:12)
– How is the RSM MBA different from other MBA programs (1:23)
– What RSM looks for in an MBA applicant (4:27)
– Reasons behind change in RSM MBA topics (6:40)
– Indians and international students in the RSM MBA (8:32)
– Opportunities for Analytics and Digital professionals (11:07)
– Life at RSM MBA (13:21)
– Jobs in English (15:34)
– Diversity and LGBTQ (16:48)
– How to best approach the application (18:35)