An executive education programme that challenges participants to turn a real company challenge involving data and analytics into a proof-of-concept had two winning teams at the end of 2020. The Leadership Challenge with Data Analytics (LCDA) programme from Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics (ECDA) announced that teams comprising staff from ING Spain and from Erasmus University Rotterdam had impressed an expert jury of academics and businesspeople with top-notch pitches. ECDA is a specialist centre at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

The chairperson of the jury, RSM Associate Professor Dr Jan van Dalen, told the participating teams that the jury had never before felt obliged to appoint two winners. He praised in particular the ethics-by-design approach of both organisations. “Ethics and accountability are two important aspects of responsible use of data,” said Dr Van Dalen. “Both ING Spain and Erasmus University Rotterdam demonstrated their understanding of this very well.”

The LCDA programme is a holistic training programme enabling participating teams to update their knowledge of AI and data analytics. They learn to apply data analytics technologies and AI to improve their business and communication skills, and to boost their understanding of privacy, security, ethics and accountability. To demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge and to practice their skills, the teams turn a company challenge into a proof of concept using real data from their own organisation. They then pitch their use case to an expert jury.

The 2020 autumn edition of the LCDA programme involved five teams and 27 professionals from Anchorman, Erasmus University Rotterdam, ING Spain, The City of Rotterdam, TBI / Croonwolter & Dros, and Quint. Over a period of four months, they learned by working on their own use cases, coached by top academics and expert business consultants.

Two winning data analytics use cases

The Erasmus University team of non-academic staff Mathieu van Kooten, Wilco te Winkel, Tung Tung Chan, Joost Bengsch and Jorrit Smit worked on a way to help the university in its transformation towards becoming more data-driven by building a dashboard for visualising the societal impact of its research output using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework. Academic publications were analysed using a natural language processing model. “A structured analysis and clear visualizations helped us to demonstrate our social impact with respect to the SDGs,” said Mathieu van Kooten. “We will use the feedback from the programme to give recommendations to our organisation on how to further institutionalise the use of the dashboard and strengthen our societal impact.”

“It was an enriching and useful experience,” said Santiago Gil Begué, a data scientist at ING Madrid Analytics Hub in Spain. He added: “The Leadership Challenge in Data Analytics provided our team with the proper tools and coaching to create one of the winning data analytics use cases.” The ING team of Santiago Gil Begué, Alberto Soriano Gómez, Carmen Nacarino Mingarro, Francisco Javier Ocáriz Gallego and Jose Ángel García worked on a ‘Know Your Customer’ case using advanced analytics techniques to identify financial economic crime in transactional client data while abiding by ethical guidelines and GDPR requirements.

The teams pitched their cases to the jury in front of sponsoring executives. The jury praised the high quality of all teams and had a difficult task to decide on a winner. The ING team was recognised for its systematic business process approach, clever use of data and advanced application of analytics. The Erasmus University team was awarded for excellent visualization and a clear impact on the organization. Other teams’ cases were of equally high quality and the jury decided not to appoint a runner up.

An expert jury

The jury comprised Prof. Eric van Heck; Prof. Peter Vervest; Dr Jan van Dalen (chairperson); Dr Rodrigo Bello; Dr Aurelie Lemmens; Dr Dion Bongaerts; and business members Robin Kroonenberg from Yacht; Rob Lankveld, Peter Kuyper, and Koen Rozendaal from Quint.

A programme of expert insights

The Leadership Challenges with Data Analytics programme is an international training programme aimed at multidisciplinary teams from public and private organisations. It presents a holistic overview of the most relevant aspects of data analytics and the use of AI. Expert insights include amongst others the opportunities of Artificial Intelligence to generate new societal value and new business models, specific technologies to support data science, how to deal with ethics around data, and the use of algorithms and how to transition organisations to reap the benefits from data analytics. Additionally, participants acquire hands-on data analytical skills when developing a challenging use case using real data from their own organisation.

The programme is offered by the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics and is held twice a year to help prepare organisations hands-on for a data-driven future. More information about The Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics and the Leadership Challenge with Data Analytics programme can be found on

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. 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 can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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