BI Trip 2018: BI students visit Acumen

This blog post is contributed by Elseline Senave, Laura Verboven, and Greg Van Houdt, students of the bachelor and master program Business Informatics

Everyone with a memory to their student-life knows the feeling… You spend your precious time at the University, get heaps of knowledge thrown at you and eventually reach your breaking point when you’re working against the deadline of yet another project. It is at those moments that a student wonders whether all your efforts will actually be worth the investment. “How will any of this do me any good in my daily life?”

Obviously, we wouldn’t be BI-students if we didn’t make an effort to untangle those kinds of mysteries. The 26th of April, the BI Trip thus found us exchanging the ordinary university classrooms in Diepenbeek for the luxurious setting of the Faculty Club in Leuven. There, we would be meeting the gentlemen of a Belgian Business Analytics consultancy company called Acumen, who found all of us eager to bring together theory and practice.

We have already heard all about AI, deep learning and Microsoft Excel, right? So let’s skip yesterday’s news and dig deeper into today’s Data Science and real-life case material. The afternoon provided us with presentations by four equally enthusiastic consultants of Acumen about these exact topics. Plenty of interesting issues were discussed, but two business concepts should definitely be highlighted for our BI colleagues who sadly had to miss this trip. First of all, strive to achieve a deep understanding of what your clients need by working with them instead of solely working for them. In other words: don’t make your service a hit-and-run offer, but rather build valuable long-term relationships. Secondly, there is need-for-speed in today’s changing business landscape – like, just avoid the Excel Hell, it is no longer going to save your life, guys. Keep an eye on the trends and state-of-the-art knowledge in the IT domain and don’t let the important evolutions pass you by. In brief: the golden mean, business understanding combined with IT skills, is the right way to go. The four hours spent at the Faculty Club undoubtedly flew by. Four men who talked ‘the BI way’ – communicative skills that are renowned to be on point and a job to discuss that has been named the sexiest of the 21st century – what more could you possibly ask for? Granted, the snacks and drinks were not entirely out of place either… Thank you, Acumen, for the great afternoon!

Next up: dinner at Domus. There’s a love for food, a need for good dining company and a desire to choose whatever we want on the menu in every one of us… Domus enabled us to meet those requirements all at once. Whether it were French fries or pasta, vegetarian dishes or need-for-meat, appetizers or desserts covering its top, each table had one thing in common: they all boosted the same sound of lighthearted conversation and easy laughter. After all, that is what the BI spirit is all about.

After dinner, our voices were readily warmed up for a great karaoke party! Unfortunately, there was no suitable place in Leuven for us and Benoît, The Voice of UHasselt, to reveal our singing skills that night… Or at least, not in front of a microphone. We were all in a party mood nonetheless, so we hit the dancefloor at Bierkelder and Barvista. There, we soon discovered that some among us had quite the dancing skills!


Regarding our initial mystery: ‘why are we doing this’… May a preview of what we can accomplish with our BI skills erase our worries about the future. May food and good company be what gets us through the day. And may memories like these help us to remember how it all started! Cheers to the BI Trip 2018!

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About Marijke Swennen

Marijke Swennen is a PhD student at the research group of Business informatics since 2011. Next to teaching and performing research about process mining in the light of operational excellence, she recently started working on an education project titled "Agile project management in higher education". In this project, the principles of agile project management will be applied in different courses throughout Hasselt University.

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