Interview with Andreas Rasche, Associate Dean, MBA Program, Copenhagen Business School

Interview with Andreas Rasche, Associate Dean, MBA Program, Copenhagen Business School


Copenhagen Business School (CBS) stands among the most prestigious business schools globally and in Western Europe. With over 20,000 students and a team of 1,500 faculty, PhD students, and administrative staff, CBS is the country’s largest educational and research institution. specializing in business administration and economics. As global business schools become more competitive within MBA programs, what are the distinguishing features of the CBS full-time program, and why should candidates choose you?

A standout feature is our unwavering focus on sustainability, approached authentically. Situated in Denmark, a global leader in sustainability, we benefit from an environment where authentic sustainability claims can be made without resorting to greenwashing. This authenticity allows us to connect students with sustainable companies, enabling them to undertake projects and internships in this domain. Moreover, we bring in guest lecturers from companies renowned for their leadership in sustainability, providing students with a genuine and immersive experience in this crucial field.

Another distinctive aspect attracting numerous students is our intentionally small program, akin to a boutique MBA. This deliberate choice fosters an intimate learning environment, allowing for personalized attention and a unique, close-knit community.


It is more exclusive that way and getting your qualifications in one year rather than two years is also attractive, right?

Yes, it is exclusive. I know my students personally, by their names and can easily communicate with them. With a maximum of 50 students in the room, it cultivates a distinct atmosphere compared to many other MBA programs. Moreover, our program spans just one year from a US standpoint, whereas several US programs typically extend over two years.

The opportunity costs are significantly lower. Graduates re-enter the job market swiftly. We have structured the program to encompass all the content of a two-year program within one year, ensuring a comprehensive experience without overwhelming the students. We take pride in this accomplishment.


The ‘Nordic Nine’ capabilities are an interesting approach to education at CBS and within your executive programs. Could you share with our audience what this involves, especially for potential educational partners and exchange students, and what you see as the added value of this approach?

The significant added value of the ‘Nordic Nine’ approach lies in transparency. As a student or potential partner, you know precisely what to expect. These capabilities define what a graduating student from CBS should know, do, and perform, providing a clear and transparent framework.

The process involves extensive discussions, reflections, and coordination efforts among faculty members. Integration of these capabilities occurs within individual courses and extends across the curriculum. Regular discussions with program teachers help identify where each capability is represented, where it could be included, and how to create connections. This overarching framework serves as a guiding structure for education at CBS.


An essential aspect of your program and overall approach at CBS has been emphasizing the green economy and the development of a green campus. How are you integrating a strategic focus on sustainability, ESG, and green innovation into your curricula?

Integration primarily occurs by providing faculty with the autonomy to adjust their courses towards sustainability based on their expertise. Adjusting a course on sustainability for a finance professor is not within my purview, that responsibility rests with the finance professor. My role is to facilitate discussions and guide professors in the right direction. Matching professors with the right expertise is fundamental to my position. Sustainability is embedded across various disciplines, including supply chain management, finance, and digitalization.


What are some of the core research areas within this space that your lecturers are involved with?

Key research areas include supply chain management and sustainable finance, particularly within the ESG debate, generating significant student interest. Additionally, leadership is a prominent focus. I emphasize to students that while we provide extensive knowledge on ESG, the crux lies in the leadership discussion. It boils down to your values, beliefs, and assumptions about leading others in the economy and influencing decision-making. These three main areas encompass supply chain, ESG, and leadership.


Considering the ongoing COP28 and the role of the business community in pledges such as the CEO net zero agenda and the wholesale transformation of entire supply chains to address Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, what role do you see business schools and executive education playing in contributing to these issues and how are you working alongside other business schools across Europe and the USA to address these?

Business schools play a crucial role by equipping practitioners with tools to comprehend key debates such as Scope 1, 2, 3, and the essence of net zero. This is essential due to the prevalence of non-scientific claims in the climate debate. Our contribution lies in offering science-based knowledge to educate students on the scientific foundation of these issues. We emphasize the urgency of immediate action, stressing that carbon remains in the atmosphere for an extended period. My sustainability teachings underscore the need for prompt action to avert significant consequences in the next 20 years.

Our role involves delivering fact-based knowledge and science-driven insights to educate practitioners and decision-makers. Collaboration with other business schools is facilitated through initiatives like the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), a global network for exchanging knowledge and ideas on integrating sustainability into business education. This collaboration functions as a think tank, fostering a global approach to sustainability in business schools.


CBS achieved a major milestone in 2022 by setting a new external funding record, reaching DKK 211 million, a notable increase from DKK 150.2 million the year before. What are your strategies for actively attracting funding and partnerships, and how is this contributing to your MBA program with enhanced research and experiences for candidates?

Our strategy revolves around aligning faculty expertize with areas where funding is available, given that funding opportunities are often specialized. For example, within the EU, specific funding is allocated to sustainability. The crucial first step is raising awareness among researchers and ensuring that faculty members with expertise in these areas are available.

Ultimately, the key criterion is impact. Securing funding often hinges on demonstrating the impact of the research. This directly affects our MBA program, as it allows us to incorporate the latest research outcomes from funded projects into the curriculum, providing candidates with cutting-edge insights and experiences.


CBS boasts a prestigious Triple Crown accreditation and partnerships with almost 300 universitiesspanning over 50 countries. With the program’s strong international outlook, how would you say your students are equipped for a global business environment thanks to the MBA program, and why is such a global mindset essential?

The global mindset is an integral part of our classroom dynamics. Despite being a small program, we boast significant diversity, with 18-19 nationalities among 40-50 students. This diversity fosters a global mindset within the classroom, where discussions contrast Scandinavian values and the Nordic business approach against a broader international perspective.

Witnessing these discussions is incredibly intriguing. Interacting with students from varied cultures and backgrounds equips our students not only with a global mindset but also with the ability to navigate diverse perspectives. Adding a Nordic angle to these discussions further enriches the students’ reflections on their global mindset, offering insights into how it aligns with Nordic thinking.


As we come back to the institutional role the CBS brand plays in the Danish economy and the role of your MBA program in training future business leader, how would you say CBS and your program contribute to the global brand values of Denmark and what are some of these core ideals that you would like to see transferred into the future business community?

Denmark values collaboration within society as a core principle, alongside healthy competition. This ethos aligns with our mission at CBS to prepare students and faculty to contribute to society through effective collaboration. The Nordic mindset, inherently present in our approach, mirrors the collaborative nature of the Danish economy.

Unlike other countries, Denmark strongly emphasizes genuine collaboration between unions and companies. Having experienced different cultures, including my German background, I noticed the authenticity and sincerity in how various actor groups collaborate here. It’s not merely a symbolic gesture; there’s a genuine commitment to working together.


Is there anything else you would like to highlight about your MBA Program? Is there anything that differentiates you that would entice an American student to come and take their MBA here?

We pride ourselves on the Leadership Discovery Process, an integral program part. It begins on day two of the program, taking students on a reflective journey into their leadership capabilities and how this influences their ability to lead others. We firmly believe that effective leadership begins with self-awareness. The process is distinctive, taking students on a unique reflective journey, including an excursion to the Swedish woods. Camping together fosters reflection, creating strong bonds among students. It goes beyond alumni relations; lifelong friendships form in our close-knit program where interaction is abundant. This Leadership Discovery Process is a standout feature.


So you would describe as though students are joining a new family?

In a sense, it is. I often remind our MBA staff that we should treat it like a family because, for the students, it becomes their family during the eleven-and-a-half months here, primarily interacting with these 40-50 fellow students.


Is there a final message you would like to share with the readers of USA Today regarding coming to Denmark or investing in Denmark and choosing your MBA program?

Denmark is the ideal destination if you are genuinely interested in authentic sustainability. In an era where sustainability is a prevalent global topic, especially with events like COP, much of the discussion is, unfortunately, just rhetoric. Our ability to provide education in sustainability and firsthand sustainability practices within corporations rooted in a deep societal history sets us apart.


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