Minor Learning by doing: Consulting to Social Entrepreneurs

Broadening minor
Minor code
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The course focuses on drawing connections between literature and practice, based on the philosophy of experiential or service learning. Experiential learning is a credit-bearing educational experience in which students consult to social entrepreneurs in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Bringle & Hatcher, 1996).

In this minor, you will design and execute a consulting project with an organization in order to resolve one or more concrete problems. This project will provide insight into a number of issues relating to management, including entrepreneurship, the non-profit sector and interaction between market, governments and civil society and trends within the community. You will also develop your consultancy skills while having the experience of working for a real organization as part of a team of consultants. You will also make an active contribution to your client organization (and the community) in the form of doing actual research and making valuable recommendations

Learning objectives

During this course, you will:

  1. become familiar with important issues and theories involving consultancy, social entrepreneurship, and the non-profit sector;
  2. develop skills in the application of theoretical concepts to real-life situations;
  3. gain experience with actual issues that arise in the course of a consultancy project;
  4. be guided through: your first meeting with the client, how to write a consultancy contract and report, the actual process of consultancy, and how to present your recommendations to your client;
  5. gain experience in finding, evaluating and applying relevant literature to the specific situation of a client organization;
  6. develop and strengthen your creativity, teamwork, project, communication, research, writing, intervision, and presentation skills.

Special aspects

There is no study specific background needed for this course. We highly encourage students of different disciplines to take part in this course. An interest in, or experience with (business) administration and (project) management is suggested.

All RSM minors have mandatory attendance.

Overview content

The course consists of several phases:

  1. Introduction to substantive areas and formation of project teams
  2. Introduction to the client organizations and the intervention requests
  3. Preparation of a contract & expectations
  4. Carrying out an intervention (the consultancy project)
    • Literature review
    • Conducting empirical research
  5. Presentation of recommendations

Although these components do not have separate EC, it is required to hand in all assignments as each builds on the previous component. Specific information about the various project components will be discussed in class and provided on Canvas.

Teaching methods

A mixture of lectures, intervision- and feedback sessions that start with your experiences with the actual clients in the field. In addition, we provide several workshops on skills that are important for consultants: writing, presenting, and creative thinking.

Teaching materials

Block, P. 2000. Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting your Expertise Used. New York: Pfeiffer. (Available online)

A reading list will be developed based upon the need in the actual projects (and provided on Canvas).


Method of examination
There is no written test for this minor. Students have to attend the classes, write individual assignments, and write a consultancy report along with specific learning assignments, which are all compulsory. If students do not hand in all individual and group assignments, they will not pass this course.

Composition final grade

We expect the students to hand in several assignments. The grade is built upon the following components:

  1. Individual assignments (including small pre-assignment at the beginning of the course and an extensive self-assessment at the end of the course): 50
  2. Individual participation, including writing at least two  (research) notes as preparation, in  the intervision group sessions: 10%
  3. Final Presentation: pass / fail
  4. Final consultancy report: 40%

To build up to the final report, students work on several project and process components throughout the course (project components, however, will not be graded, only the final report will receive a grade. Project components include a company profile, client contract, literature review and research methodology).Please be advised that the final report is not just bringing the components together.

In case the final grade for the minor is insufficient, only the individual assignments can be re-taken.


After each component, students receive extensive written feedback as well as the opportunity to talk to the teachers about the feedback and how to develop their project further. Furthermore multiple feedback sessions are provided in which students receive feedback and can ask questions or share any concerns with the teachers. During the entire course there will be a high degree of support from the teachers.

Contact information

Philine van Overbeeke
Tel: +31 10 408 2953
Mandeville Building, room T11-52

Broadening minor
Minor code
Belongs to study programme
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Study points (ECTS)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.