Professionals complete new Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme at RSM

Professionals in data science and business analytics from various industries completed the first run of the eight-day Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). In company teams, the professionals learned how to conquer leadership challenges with big data through company questions and data sets, and were challenged to apply the concepts and techniques taught in the programme within their own organisations.

The first block of the RSM Executive Education programme started in November, and participants completed the programme on 29 January 2016. Leadership Challenges with Big Data supports organisations in their transformation towards a data-driven company. To complete the programme, the teams pitched their use case and implementation plan to the audience, consisting of the C-level management of their companies. The professionals presented the results of what they learned and researched, including initial prototypes, results of analytics studies, and business case calculations. The teams also addressed all topics presented during the course work, including a proposed implementation plan for the company.

Business analysis and potential

The discussions with C-level management covered the business potential of each team’s plans, the contents of the proposed analysis, and the feasibility of the implementation approach. Cases from the company teams focused on various topics.

A team from Randstad presented the potential of data-driven matching algorithms to match candidates to jobs. Lufthansa’s team covered advanced weight calculation of airplane loads to optimise fueling of planes. The team from Sanoma focused on using recommendation algorithms based on collaborative filtering for optimising website revenues. Professionals from DSM presented how they plan to optimise and predict the accuracy of demand forecasts to reduce operating working capital. Alliander’s teams researched how to use big data from electricity grid sensors to predict outages in electricity networks and resolve outages faster. The Enexis team focused on how to assess the potential for local sustainable energy production and balancing combining different data sources, and using advanced algorithms. And finally, the team from PA Consultants concentrated on smart city applications such as enhancement of neighbourhood safety based on more effective police resource allocation and smart lightning.

The Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme

The Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme was developed by the Erasmus Centre for Data Science and Business Analytics, which supports organisations to transform into digital companies with action-based learning and research studies, C-level involvement and collaboration with leading business partners. The executive education programme enables participants in a cross-industry setting to engage with world-class academics and senior executives during eight days spread over three months, and has a strong focus on action-based learning and collaboration on business’ best practices. During the programme, every team receives coaching from one of the professors, and an online learning environment supplements the classroom discussions and interaction.

The programme is developed in close collaboration with Sanoma, PA Consulting and Deutsche Telekom and involves teams and cases from various industries, such as finance, energy and media. In addition to faculty members from RSM and the Erasmus School of Economics, the programme features guest speakers from Leiden University, and several international company speakers that present best practices in big data. The programme is part of the recently launched Big Data Alliance, an interdisciplinary platform joining the forces of academia, R&D institutes and industry to advance the field of data science in the Netherlands.

Companies can enrol teams for the second series of Leadership Challenges with Big Data, which will start on Thursday 2 June 2016. For more information about the programme, please contact Dr Marcel van Oosterhout on +31 10 408 8816 or at

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading business schools, and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in Chengdu, China, and Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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