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Action Learning


Rethinking urban mobility in Europe


The City of Leuven, Belgium sought to leverage digital technologies and advanced analytics to promote sustainable urban mobility. To make this happen, the city collaborated with global digital engineering company and Smart Industry leader Akkodis – and a team of Master of Business Analytics (MBAn) students taking Analytics Lab (A-Lab) couldn’t wait to join in.

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“The best part of the A-Lab experience for us was the opportunity to work collaboratively on a complex, open-ended problem that had real-world implications,” says Giorgio Demarchi, MBAn ’24. “This aspect of the course allowed us to immerse ourselves in a problem-solving environment where creativity, innovation, and teamwork were critical.”

Predicting the best locations for multi-modal mobility hubs

Akkodis served as the project and technical coordinator for the European Union-funded MobiDataLab project, which aimed to foster the sharing of data amongst transport authorities, operators and other mobility stakeholders in Europe. Leveraging the transport cloud platform developed by Akkodis, Leuven was equipped with a toolkit to rethink urban mobility.

One of Leuven’s goals is to implement multi-modal mobility hubs, which reduce both carbon emissions and traffic by encouraging residents to switch to more sustainable forms of transportation. Using data from the MobiDataLab initiative, the students presented Akkodis with a model that can help determine the best locations for these hubs, balancing carbon dioxide emission reductions and travel time.  They even created an interactive dashboard to view different solutions.

Not only was Akkodis pleased with the students’ final recommendations, but the A-Lab team also won the first place prize in the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy's A-Lab Final Presentation competition.

Addressing real-world challenges with simple solutions

“One major takeaway from the experience for me is the importance of simplicity and agility in problem-solving, especially when addressing real-world issues,” says Srikaran Boya, MBAn ’24. “We learned that the most effective strategy is to initially develop the simplest possible solution to the problem at hand and then refine and improve this solution through iterative feedback and engagement with stakeholders.”

This approach not only facilitates a more efficient problem-solving process, but also ensures that the solution is practical, relevant, and tailored to the specific needs and constraints of the situation, he adds. It underscores the value of adaptability and continuous improvement in achieving successful outcomes.

Gaining hands-on analytics experience

“This experience has equipped me with valuable hands-on experience and new skills critical for my professional development,” says Jan Girgott, MBAn ’24. “It’s taught me how to approach complex problems with a strategic mindset, prioritize robustness in analytics solutions, and effectively collaborate with a diverse team. Being able to showcase this experience to potential employers will highlight my practical experience in problem-solving and teamworking.”

“Action Learning provides an unparalleled opportunity to network with leading companies and work alongside incredibly smart and motivated individuals, says Matea Gjika, MBAn ’24. “This environment not only fosters professional connections, but also lets us learn from each other and from industry leaders.”