Professionals tackle leadership challenges with big data

Professionals in technical and methodology-oriented data science and business analytics will learn how to conquer leadership challenges with big data during a new executive education programme by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics. Participants will learn to understand data techniques they can instantly apply in order to achieve business objectives. 

Big data influences customer relationships, redefines how organisations develop new products and services, changes the way operations are organised and managed, improves demand and supply networks, and provides the basis for new business models. Using big data, retailers can predict what products will sell, telecom companies can predict if and when a customer might switch carriers, and car insurance companies understand how well their customers actually drive.

“As an energy grid operator, we increasingly need people that have the skill set to exploit big data to make our networks more efficient and smart and to develop new business models as part of the smart energy grid,” says Pieter den Hamer, lead big data, business intelligence and analytics at energy network operator Alliander. “This programme supports us in making the required transformation,” he said.

Data-driven transformation

”Immediately after a company decides to go digital, it will experience that the organisation goes through a data-driven transformation,” says Ruud Brink, digital transformation expert at PA Consulting, which specialises in management consulting, technology and innovation. “This programme helps to build the required data-driven capabilities and develops the leaders that are the first movers in participating organisations,” said Brink.

During the English-taught Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme, participants will engage with world-class academics and senior executives during eight days, spread over three months. The new executive programme has a strong focus on action based-learning and collaboration on business’ best practices. Participating company teams work on concrete company questions and data sets and are challenged to apply the concepts and techniques taught in the programme within their own organisations. They report back initial results in an evaluation-session at the end of the programme.

Reinventing business

“Exploiting big data requires fundamental rethinking of how we do business,” says Eric van Heck, professor of information management and markets at RSM, adding that organisations increasingly use big data to reinvent their business. “Big data brings disruption to industries and organisations and can revolutionise the way we do business. New technologies for data collection, analysis and prediction create huge opportunities, but also ethical, legal, technical and business risks,” said Prof. Van Heck. “During the course, we address these matters.”

Technical and business skills

“Data scientists are scarce,” says Jan Brooijmans, senior market analyst at human resource consulting firm Randstad. “There’s a strong imbalance between demand and supply of data scientists in the Dutch market,” he said, adding that demand is estimated to be roughly twice as high as supply.

“It’s about more than just having the data,” says Dennis Fok, professor of applied econometrics at Erasmus School of Economics. “Extracting real business value from data also requires creativity, statistical skills, and business knowledge.”

Applying big data technologies

This eight-day programme will empower professionals to transform their organisations into a data-driven company with actionable insights in close co-operation with their senior managers. During this programme the participants will:

  • discover academically sound, new ways to apply big data technologies and methods to design and implement innovative and winning business applications
  • boost their business skills by exploring business thinking, case creation and investigating problems from a business point of view
  • improve their technical skill set as a result of acquired new knowledge and understanding of data science methodologies and techniques
  • obtain access to a cross-industry learning platform to share knowledge and learn from experiences in other relevant industries
  • enhance their knowledge about privacy and security to provide solid data-driven business applications.

Leadership Challenges with Big Data

The Leadership Challenges with Big Data programme starts on Thursday 5 November 2015. It has been 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 programme is developed in close collaboration with Sanoma, PA Consulting and Deutsche Telekom and is expecting participating teams and cases from several industries such as finance, energy and media. Besides faculty from RSM and Erasmus School of Economics the programme features guest speakers from Delft University of Technology and Leiden University, and several international company speakers that will 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.

For more information about the programme Leadership Challenges with Big Data, please contact Marcel van Oosterhout on +31 10 408 8816 or by email at

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school 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 mind-set into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Willem Koolhaas, director corporate marketing and communications at RSM, on +31 10 408 9598 or by email at


Erasmus School of Economics is a leading centre for ground-breaking research and excellence in education. It is committed to finding solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s economic issues by challenging yesterday’s economic theories as well as building from and valorising existing models and methods.

For more information about Erasmus School of Economics, please contact Ronald de Groot, communication officer of Erasmus School of Economics, on +31 6 53 641 846 or by email at

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