Corporate Communication: aiming for the top

Ahong Gu
Project Manager. Part-time Executive International MCC Programme Rotterdam School of Management/Erasmus University


The field of corporate communication is maturing. Rather than just producing brochures or websites, communication professionals are exerting real influence on the culture, structure and strategy of organisations. But if they are to be taken seriously by the organisation’s management, communication professionals need to be well equipped. The part-time Executive International Master of Science in Corporate Communication at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) helps these professionals to build practical skills in a managerial setting and gives them an outstanding opportunity for additional career momentum.

Whether it’s a listed company, a one-issue NGO or a government agency, getting the right message across is tricky. Stakeholders are becoming more vocal, regulations are tougher, and new media make it harder to protect an organisation’s reputation. A recent study by Weber Shandwick identifies a strong correlation between a company’s corporate communication organisation and the company’s ranking on Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list. Specifically, the study finds that the professional background, communications priorities, and inter-organisational relationships of the executive who leads the company’s corporate communications department – commonly referred to as the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) – are all meaningful indicators of the ability of a corporate communication organisation to make a positive impact on a company’s reputation. “In a fast-paced and dynamic business environment, communications officers are increasingly seen as a business partner for the CEO and leadership team in the stewardship of a company’s reputation,” said George Jamison, Corporate Communications Practice Leader at Spencer Stuart. “CCOs are expected to create value and mitigate risks for the corporation by developing innovative strategies to proactively communicate with a company’s myriad stakeholders.”

Another focal point for communication professionals are an organisation’s own employees. How do communication professionals engage and align these employees with company strategies? Aligning people inside of the organisation with strategy and culture is yet another fascinating challenge for corporate communication professionals. The three critical success factors in creating an aligned workforce around new strategic goals are: (1) The managerial efforts aimed at creating alignment should be a joint effort of various specialists, initiated and orchestrated by top management; (2) consistency in behaviour of management and internal messaging is crucial and (3) external claims in corporate advertising should support internal change programmes (Van Riel, 2009). Aligned organisations are better equipped to increase internal synergy, and consequently better qualified to orchestrate activities across all of a company’s departments, resulting in an increased competitive advantage. The CCO has a leading responsibility in this aligned process by efforts focused on informing, motivating and developing workforce capabilities (Van Riel, 2009).

That is why RSM, a leading European business school, launched a part-time executive international Master of Corporate Communication programme (MCC) in 1997, for experienced corporate communication professionals. On a world-wide basis, it was the first programme of its kind offered at the university level. RSM has been ranked among the top 20 best business schools in the world by The Wall Street Journal international rankings. The Financial Times has ranked RSM as one of the top 10 European Business Schools. RSM has achieved Triple Crown Accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB; has been further accredited by the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO) for five of its post experience (executive) master programmes. With the NVAO accreditation, the Master of Corporate Communication programme officially became a Master of Science programme, offering graduates the qualification of Master of Science in Corporate Communication (MScCC).

This MCC programme, developed by Prof.dr. Cees B.M. van Riel, combines a solid understanding of the growing body of knowledge available in academic literature together with world class examples of best practices in corporate communication. Taught in a flexible format that is easily combined with a career, the programmes takes about a year and a half to complete.

The programme kicks off with a four-day Foundations programme that looks at current issues in corporate communication, new research and management tools.
Participants can subsequently design their own programme by choosing six Advanced Elective courses, taught by academics and business professionals from around the world, whose participation provides a high level of quality as well as a global perspective to the curriculum.
In line with this international approach to the profession, the programme also includes a week-long trip to a cosmopolitan city like New York, Toronto or Copenhagen. This involves visits to Fortune 500 companies and specialised agencies, and gives the participant a unique glimpse into the inner workings of successful businesses. The programme is capped with an individual thesis that combines academic research with a look at a current communication issue in the field.

The programme is academically challenging and professionally rewarding. Up to 25 participants interact in workshops and joint assignments, an enriching and enjoyable collaborative approach. The intensity of the programme and the enjoyment of the international trip also mean that participants often make lifelong personal and professional connections.

Graduates accelerate their career progress and gain membership into an active alumni association. RSM’s reputation and high rankings ensure the long-term value of the programme. Minimum criteria for admission are a Bachelor’s degree, experience in the corporate communications, and sufficient command of the English language.

For more information on dates, fees and admissions, visit our website or contact the programme manager Ms. Marjon Ullmann,T: +31 (0)10 408 1915E-mail: mullmann@rsm.nlWebsite :