Master students deliver quality in interdisciplinary collaboration on company projects | Agoria

Master students deliver quality in interdisciplinary collaboration on company projects

Published on 20/04/20 by Robrecht Janssens
Working on a business project with a group of final-year students from different programmes, practicing technical knowledge, project management skills as well as social skills; that is in a nutshell what the Interdisciplinary Assessment Projects (I-AP) of KU Leuven stand for. Agoria and Flanders Food fulfil the liaison function with the companies.

Every autumn, some 50 final-year students from the fields of Commercial Engineering, Commercial Sciences, Industrial Engineering and Environmental and Prevention Management work on more than 10 business projects. We like to highlight the best project. And this academic year, for the very first time in the history of the I-AP there are two!


Youssef Menouni (student Master International Business Economics & Management from France), Toon Van den Fonteyne (student Industrial Engineering from Ghent), Andra Banu (MBA student from Romania) and Rob Lannoy (student Industrial Engineering from Ghent) took up the challenge to develop a business project for the Picanol sister company PsiControl coached by Koen Lagae (Sales Manager).

The scope of their project focused on research of specific technical applications in new markets. For this purpose, the students made an analysis of the company, the technology, as well as the market. In a next step, they searched for the market segments with the greatest potential, where in other words, growth can be expected, as well as at which companies PSIControl should be able to work with its technical expertise and know-how. This assessment is very important, because not every company has the same technical maturity.

The students have had quite a challenge with this project. For them it was the first real in depth contact with a company, in which they could/had to familiarise themselves with the technology and markets in which the company operates. At the same time, they learned to work together remotely: students from Ghent with students from Brussels, coming from Belgium, France and Romania and a company from Ypres. Embracing this diversity and adapting to different situations are definitely competences that they have been able to develop and refine during this project. One of the students put it very simply: "We learned from each other and we just needed each other". Without the expertise of the other students it would not be possible and so they learned to consult, listen to other points of view and make decisions together. The multidisciplinary character of the I-AP is an undeniable asset. They therefore recommend that every student should choose this (for some, optional) subject.

It was also a nice experience for the students that they were allowed to present their work at an afternoon session with interested employees of PSIControl. They had divided the roles fairly and, after their explanation, responded quickly and confidently to various questions from those present. The students had put their creativity to practice by pouring the summary of their work into a video.

Such an Interdisciplinary Assessment Project is also an added value for a company. It requires some time and effort to help the students on their way and to coach them, and the project has to be clearly defined from the start, but the output is corresponding. A fantastic report with concrete and out-of-the-box recommendations by driven juniors, who deliver solid work.

The business projects are very diverse. Where this project was mainly about a method of working, you can read in the next article (about the other winner) about a project that was mainly about product.

Eager to work with such motivated final-year students in October-December 2020: let us know right now!

The students work on business projects in Dutch or English.

Within 2 weeks you will discover more about the 2nd winner.

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