My decision to do a MBA at RSM


RSMMany people have asked my why I decided to do a MBA, and why I chose RSM. To date it’s been one of the most difficult decisions of my life (although the process of trying to pack everything I own into a 30 kg bag for the flight to Rotterdam is a close second).

Why an MBA? Already holding a Masters degree in process engineering, attaining PhD was the logical next step for me. I consulted various people in industry regarding their decision to either do a MBA or a PhD and the impact of this on their career path. It became clear that none of these degrees are limiting, and you can even do both if you so desire, but a PhD will most likely focus your career into a specific field of expertise, whereas a MBA can be applied more broadly to business in general. Not being sure about further focussing my career with a PhD, and considering the 3-5 year commitment that comes with doing such a degree, I decided to rather opt for an MBA. At this stage of my life it is also a more attractive and relevant degree for how I see my career developing.

My career experience being in the fields of climate change, energy and sustainability are very relevant, exciting and fast growing industries in South Africa and throughout Africa. These fields change business and governments for the better, and ultimately creates a better livelihood for the general public. Upon completing my MBA, my short-term goal is to gain international working experience from an engineering or management consultancy, which will allow me to apply my engineering skills to big business. In the longer term (7-10 years) my ideal will be to start my own consultancy.

Ultimately I’d like to return to South Africa to apply what I’ve learnt from working abroad. Industrial development is happening at a rapid pace throughout Africa, but is is essential that this be done with consideration for the social and environmental issues that this continent faces. Various international companies are branching out to Africa to capitalise on the development. Being an engineer with not only technical knowledge, but also an understanding for business in both the local and international communities will be invaluable to successfully implement and manage projects sustainably.

So, why RSM? I selected this school primarily for its focus on sustainability and diversity. The threats of climate change are global, and working towards mitigating emissions and adapting to climate change will require international cooperation. I’m very exited to share a class with a diverse group of forward thinking individuals as well as meeting and learning from an innovative international business community that has a focus on sustainability.

My decision to do a MBA at RSM

AB van der Merwe


I'm a South African with an undergraduate and masters degree in process engineering. Before embarking on my MBA journey, I've attained slightly less than 6 years working experience from two engineering consultancies in the fields of climate change, energy and sustainability. I like to travel, cycling and good food and wine.


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