The EMBA diary: Cape Town Crusaders

By: Jasper Joosse, Can Herguner, Ssi Li, Allard Schwencke, Jara Pascual, Ines Rodriguez and Stefano Iannacone

Either we accept it or not, people think in stereotypes. We have heard many times that MBA students only think in terms of the return on investment (ROI) of their degree. Being currently through an MBA programme ourselves, we are confident to say that this is far from the truth.

In addition to equipping us with the skills to identify a good investment from a bad one, a business school should also provide an insight into the differences between price and value. For those willing to take this lesson on board, that idea will stay with you for a lifetime. As John Ruskin (a Victorian art critic and philanthropist 1819 – 1900) said: “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”

That’s our take on ROI.

“A force for positive change” we all believe RSM vision resonates within all of us. The world is facing big societal, economic, and ecological challenges, and as students of RSM we spouse the idea that business is a powerful instrument for solving them.

As a fundamental part of our EMBA degree at RSM, we joined the South Africa Study Tour, a full immersion week of academic and non-academic initiatives aimed to let us understand what the role of business is in emerging markets, and how business can tackle wicked problems such as inequality, poverty, and climate change.

As team B4 we went to Cape Town, hosted by the Graduate Business School of Cape Town (GSB).

Cape Town (CT) is the economic hub of the Western Cape Province, containing the majority of job opportunities. During the past years, CT enjoyed a booming GDP with a growth rate at an average of 3.7% a year.  However, many people still live in extreme poverty, cramped into unhygienic shacks with high levels of teenage pregnancy, rampant gang crime and high school-dropout rates. Education and opportunities are luxuries they couldn’t afford without donations, volunteers, and consultation services.

Inspired by the mission of our business school, “To contribute to the quality of tomorrow’s society by enabling students to carry out groundbreaking research”, as a team we wanted to create a better tomorrow for future students by supporting The Pebbles Project ( The Pebbles Project is a non-profit organization passionate about supporting children and their families in farming communities in South Africa. We are now sponsoring two small, beautiful children: Jordan and Azaniah.

Children represent the positive force of the future, this is the reason why, as leaders, we have the obligation to protect them from disadvantaged backgrounds, to enable them to receive quality education, to live within strong family structures, in safe homes and healthy, well-functioning and sustainable communities, and finally to let them become the future leaders of their communities.

This gesture helped all of us take a fresh look at ourselves. It solidified our legacy not only as EMBA students but as friends in our life long journey together with a common inspiration. We all have learned that “If you get to know more about yourself, that’s a good ROI!” We could not agree more.

The Cape Town crusaders (from left): Stefano, Ines, the 2 navigators during the Township visit, Allard, Jara, Jasper, Ssi, Paul (staff from GBS), the restaurant owner, Can.

What we did is just a drop in the ocean. There are many more children to help. Interested to change a child’s future?

Please contact Rachel:

The EMBA diary: Cape Town Crusaders

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