Humans of CBS AID: Rasmus

What does a Head of Partnership actually do? Rasmus is happy to share that among many other interesting things in our latest Human of CBS AID blogpost.

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“Hi, I’m Rasmus and responsible for the partnerships we make at CBS AID. I study International Business and Politics at CBS and CEMS Master in International Management, currently on my term abroad in Vienna. When I learned about CBS AID, I already knew this was an initiative with great prospects, so I contacted Sara right away to get involved. We are now a bunch of students with the abilities and drive to make a significant impact on the world. And we only just started. Imagine how much we will be able to do in the future. That’s why I joined CBS AID, but I’ll get back to that.

First, I want to talk about partnerships. From the UN, the OECD, and the World Economic Forum to McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and Apple, everyone talks about them. Partnership for the goals, for development, for equality, for education, for clean energy, you name it. It seems that everyone has realized that in order to solve the major challenges facing us today, firms cannot work in silos. Questions about how to engage with society are becoming increasingly prominent on business leaders’ agendas. As Martin Reeves, Senior Partner and Managing Director of BCG, recently pointed out, “in many cases companies are seeing bigger impacts from political and macroeconomic factors than from competitive considerations.” And when we look at climate change, demographic challenges, and economic development throughout the world, we understand that it is not only a moral but also a business imperative for companies to solve these issues. To be successful, they need partnerships.

Now, I know that in business school, “partnership” sounds more like stakeholder management and public relations, sprinkled with some CSR feel-good greenwashing. But I argue that partnerships are increasingly becoming an integral part of firms’ strategic decision-making and holds a massive potential. Let me give a few examples. In terms of finance, we know from a vast amount of research, that there are large opportunities for creating blended finance partnerships among companies, investors, development finance institutions, and research institutions with the goal of developing and scaling new technologies, products, business models and infrastructure. In terms of accounting and reporting, we know that there is a massive potential for collaborating to make information more comparable, consistent and useful to investors, regulators and other stakeholders as well as to companies themselves. And in terms of strategy, we know that coalitions that bring together companies, investors, governments, and civil society offer a higher potential to achieve scale and systemic impact. It’s not philanthropic, it’s just good business.

So, to get back to why I joined CBS AID in the first place, it’s because this small student organization provides a platform to realize such partnerships. This allows us to punch way above our weight, mobilize resources that we couldn’t even imagine, and channel those resources – in collaboration with our partners – to where they make the most impact. For the near future, we focus on primary schools in Bangladesh, where more than seven million children are involved in child labor and denied access to basic education. To rectify this situation, we empower students to make an impact, and collaborate with a long range of partners to scale up that impact.”

Marco Schneider