The World is our Playground


First of all ****** Happy New Year to ALL of you!! ******

****** May your 2012 have started off dazzling for both you and your loved ones ******

With Christmas’ Spirit 2011 and New Year’s Eve still fresh in memory, I am back at my desk. As we are currently closing our Executive Part-time and our International Full-time MBA recruitment cycles, it is always nice to reflect on the hectic and exciting year that passed with my admissions colleagues. While digging up memories, I get the feeling like Charles Dickens’ three Christmas spirits pass by again… 🙂

The spirit of the Past and the Present…

In our quest for international top-MBA candidates for our annual January MBA-intake, we travel the world basically all year round with some travel peaks in the spring and the fall. And believe me, our cumulative travelling in between earthquakes in Japan; the Royal Wedding of the Century; the Arab Spring reinforced by Brave Citizens and social media; similarly accelerated protests in Russia and an ongoing list of events, our joint globetrotting took us far more than 90 days this year 🙂 The joint efforts paid off though, as we are very happy and proud to welcome our next International Full-time MBA class to RSM on Monday 9 January next. This Full-time MBA class will continue a tradition of extraordinary classes which we have trained on campus over the years.

Additionally, long live the technical devices that kept us in touch with supreme headquarters in Rotterdam while on the road. I can only vaguely remember how we used to do this ten years ago? Gosh, ten years already!? Hmm, I guess this just gets to show what type of special MBA-environment RSM Erasmus University actually offers… 🙂 Anyway, living from your suitcase can be sometimes challenging, since almost everyone of us travelling, was at least one time influenced by situations beyond our control. However, when adding these –sometimes hilarious- experiences with the fact that we have had the privilege to meet so many talented candidates and we got to hear their personal stories, you can imagine that there has not been a dull moment while working for RSM 😉

Wrong stamp…

One of my Mexican colleagues recalled a delicate situation during which she felt the unintended consequences of having a “wrong” stamp in her passport. While entering the country to attend a QS fair, she was stopped at the border, because she had a stamp of a “suspicious” country in her passport. While she told me this story, I started laughing, as I was actually with her on the same trip at the time and I could not recall her doing anything illegal. Okay, we both broke our promises to our partners by smoking a cigarette even though we had “quit” smoking but other than that… Nonetheless, much to my dear colleague’s regret, she had to undress in front of two merciless agents. So if I were ever sent to represent RSM in this country too, I better prepare by wearing some proper underwear for this potential striptease :-S

Cheese heads (=nick name for Dutchies)…

The same Mexican colleague travelled for RSM to the QS Latin-Mid America tour this year. Since my colleague’s first stop was Mexico City, she had taken along some superb Dutch cheeses as a gift for her family. Although it was solidly wrapped as export cheese, she had to hand it in at the Mexican border, as “alien” dairy products are not allowed to enter the country. What the Mexicans had not expected, is that over the years, she has turned far more Dutch. What she did, would be typically Dutch. Since the cheese was wrapped so well, it could be kept outside the fridge for a while. Much to the Mexican Custom’s amusement, she collected “her” cheese on her way back in order to take it back to Holland , so it would not get wasted. Maria-Rosa, I am SO proud of you for being such a Cheese head! 🙂

Carry-on luggage…

Speaking of Customs… Every single one of us, who travelled with the RSM stands, got some raised eye brows from the local Customs guys at every single airport. Since our light weight stand comes with a black “bazooka”-type of suitcase, we were all frowned upon. I can assure you that it is sometimes tiring having to put up your most innocent smile, explaining that you are not carrying along Kalashnikov’s latest invention but just a trade fair stand. Maybe it is time that the QS organization abolishes this piece of trade fair decoration, moreover since most airlines make you pay a surcharge for it.

Budget airlines…

Referring to keeping an eye on your budget: once studying at RSM, you might consider travelling through Europe on a shoe string by using the local budget airlines. In Holland we say: “a warned person counts for two”. Therefore, while booking your pan European flights, you might want to take the following piece of advice into account. Over the past year, some of my colleagues booked their flights with the so called budget airlines. Indeed, at first sight, you might have found yourself a super bargain. However, it will soon turn out that this bargain has some hidden defects. Like for instance the fact that most budget airline departure airports are nowhere near proper public transport connections or they force outrageous luggage criteria upon their passengers. Hence, additional extra budgetary cost had and will have to be  made. Or unreliable flight itineraries resulting in flights that were just cancelled without any reason given. If you then have to book an additional overnight stay, your travel budget will be heavily under pressure… as a given.

Name dropping…

Contrary to the above, the MBA Tour organizations sometimes do not take any risks regarding MBA Tour attendees’ housing. And hence it could happen that one of my colleagues who travelled to Lagos for RSM ran into Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Clinton while working out in the gym of her local hotel. Since this colleague is usually quite resourceful, we were all wondering in the office how she reacted at this unexpected encounter but they got her speechless this time 😉 Author, last year almost overlooked Karl Lagerfeld in a bookstore at the Champs Elysees in Paris. Gosh, I still cannot get over this, as I swear that this tiny man fitted twice in the super model decorating his arm.

Perfect Babel…

That Perfect Babel’s could happen just anywhere was experienced by another colleague who travelled to mainland China this year. While sharing the dinner table with some of our western Business Schools’ colleagues, two of them ordered western food and my colleague and her other Business school companion ordered a local dish. The western food was served quite fast but the local dishes took forever to arrive. Since my colleague and her companion were about to die of starvation, they inquired with the waitress “whether something might have happened with the order?”… The waitress looked at them as if they were retard, since my colleague and her dining friend had ordered “two times no-thing” after all. My colleague burst with laughter about her own mistake, as she realized that she had indeed ordered “two times na-si”, as where she should have asked for two times “Na-si Goreng”… Getting used to the different ways of English pronunciation is also one of the assets of either working or studying at RSM 🙂

Helping hands…

However what has amazed us most during our travels, were the often unexpected encounters with friendly helping hands. Wherever we were, no matter what “trouble” we were in, whether it was a tuk-tuk stranded without petrol in Asia, whether it concerned general strikes in Greece or bombings in Monterrey and Istanbul, whether it was ending up in a Roman Catholic afternoon Mass in Rome, where politeness won from the spectators averse for hypocrisy, or whether it was getting mixed with football hooligans, there were always the friendly locals both known, like our RSM alumni and our potential MBA candidates and the unknown who helped us out. So on behalf of the entire RSM MBA Marketing & Admissions team I would like to finish this blog by thanking all these helpful and compassionate individuals very much. If the world would be full of people like you, for sure it would be a better place…

… Which will hopefully be the Spirit of Our Future!

Tinka Broeders, MBA Marketing & Admissions Manager

The World is our Playground

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