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How a Vlerick In-Company Project led to dream jobs for Aleksandra and Ahmad

Vlerick Business School

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Vlerick students have a unique opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to the test through an  In-company project (ICP). Masters in General Management, Business Analytics & AI track,  Aleksandra and Ahmad had been inspired by a course on sustainable, ethical and trustworthy AI. Which meant that one possible ICP stood out for them in particular – creating a responsible AI framework for data company Euranova. 

Creating an AI ethical risk framework 

Aleksandra says: “We both saw the opportunity and went for it. During the kick-off meeting with Euranova they told us what they were looking for, and how we would approach the project.” 

Ahmad continues: “Initially we approached the project from a research perspective as we were  evaluating responsible AI. The project took a turn, as we pursued a more hands-on approach in the direction of creating a risk assessment model.” 

With the assistance and guidance of Euranova’s CTO, Aleksandra and Ahmad successfully divided the project into distinct stages to address the substantial project scope. 

Ahmad says: “The project was challenging as we were asked to create a customised model that would be general enough to be applicable to other Euranova projects. However, our company supervisor Sabri encouraged us, expressing that even producing a proof of concept would lead us to success. 

Collaborative culture 

Aleksandra adds: “This was an unprecedented task, one that hadn’t been accomplished before. We  were starting with a completely clean slate. Following extensive discussions and collaboration with data scientists at Euranova, we successfully determined our course of action.”  

The students received continuous feedback, at least twice a week, which allowed iterative changes  and modification to be made, while staying within the project scope.

Aleksandra says: “Euranova’s open and collaborative environment facilitated our understanding of everyone’s perspectives and input regarding the subject matter.”  

Ahmad adds: “We were so excited about achieving our goals, week after week. The expectations were high – but in the end we surpassed them, for ourselves and for Euranova. We created a tool  that the company is using today.” 

From project to employee 

In fact, the company was so impressed with Aleksandra and Ahmad’s work that they have both been offered jobs there. 

Aleksandra says: “It’s the perfect first job. We will both be working as AI translators, making sure  that Euranova’s work is aligned with client objectives.”  

“It was also a perfect way to prepare for the role. All the way through the specialised track, Vlerick brings together the data science element with real business application. It’s a very practical way to study. And it means that we’re in a good position to understand client business goals – and know how to translate them into data solutions.” 

For Euranova it was an exceptionally positive experience. Faced with the impending enforcement of the European AI Law, the company required the creation of an ethical risk model, a task successfully undertaken by Aleksandra and Ahmad.

A great benefit for employers  

Sabri said: “We sought collaboration with a top-tier business school that could ensure high-quality  students, and Vlerick came highly recommended.  

Our requirement was for students to exhibit autonomy, follow instructions, challenge the existing  framework and matrix, and explore alternative options.  

The primary challenge, both for us and the students, revolved around determining what to  incorporate into the framework and how to integrate it. 

Equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, both Vlerick Masters students proved to be fast learners. After thorough discussions, they devised a remarkably streamlined solution that we continue to use today.” 

Academic insight 

“I would highly recommend Vlerick’s ICP to other employers. The key lies in striking a swift  balance between providing guidance and allowing autonomy. It’s crucial to guide the students  while also giving them the freedom to execute.” 

“Another significant advantage of collaborating with Vlerick was the calibre of their professors.  Their expertise proved to be immensely beneficial. Their intuitive understanding of AI and big data  allowed them to delve deeply, offering valuable insights. They brought essential perspectives to  the analysis. This collaboration with Vlerick in this manner is a first for us, and I’m confident we  will replicate the experience in the future.”  

To find out more about the Vlerick In-company projects and your experience as a Masters student, please book a call with our Masters programme advisor.

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