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Learning about the Learning Academy

the analysts of the Learning Academy
16 april 2018
Learning Academy

Last month, the Learning Academy started off with a new round of projects. The Learning Academy is one of the opportunities students have to apply their knowledge in the field, which also means developing all kinds of skills needed in the workplace. Teamwork, creativity and experience with problems books can’t prepare you for. The new projects were presented during the kick-off. For everyone who wasn’t there, the analysts of the three projects share what they’re working on and what makes these projects both difficult and exciting.

EYE Filmmuseum
The EYE film museum in Amsterdam is not only known for their film programming and beautiful building, but also for their interesting exhibitions. The subject of these exhibitions is always on the intersection of visual arts and film. After a visit to one of these exhibitions it is possible to purchase merchandise, or other film related items, in the shop of EYE. Now, we are given the task to investigate whether there are any significant links between the type of exhibition and the types of products that are being sold. In addition, we analyse the visitors of EYE. For example, there are film enthusiasts that own a Cineville pass, which is a type of subscription from EYE. There are also visitors that own a Museumkaart. Do these pass holders buy more or less items in the store? The goal of this project is to give EYE a better understanding as to the stocks of items they need to hold during certain exhibitions.

Gemeente van Amsterdam
The municipality of Amsterdam asked the Learning Academy to give insight into crowds in Amsterdam. Where are the crowds the biggest and at what time? Can we estimate how busy it will be in the next hour? Are the complaints about noise nuisance justified? To us this seemed like a very big and interesting challenge that we wanted to confront.

The problem remained very vague. This is why we first needed to zoom in into the problem and see what is really relevant and possible to investigate. We did this by asking ourselves some questions: What area of the city of Amsterdam are we going to focus on? What kind of data is available and what can we answer with this data? As you might expect, working with the government is not always a fast and easy process. You might think that the government has a lot of data about us, and they do. However, due to privacy regulations, we can’t have access to any of that data. So how do you apply econometrics without data? Dare to be creative. Think out of the box. Think of other options to get data. Think of new ways how to approach the problem.

Luckily, you and your team are not alone when doing a Project of The Learning Academy. First of all, you are always being watched by a project manager who previously participated in the Learning Academy, Merel van Vendeloo in our case. Secondly, the Learning Academy offers a lot of helpful trainings. The first one was in the office of Bain & Company. This really gave us some new insights on how to approach the problem. The second training was offered by PwC, which improved our Excel skills. In this way, the Learning Academy gave us a whole new bunch of skills which we can use for the project and the rest of our lives.

The most important thing to realize when doing a project in such a short time period is that you can’t investigate everything you would like to. You can’t have a clear and comprehensive answer to such a big question with which all cities are struggling with daily. Focus on the parts that you can investigate and don’t get frustrated. Lesson learned.

Stichting Filmonderzoek
Every year the Learning Academy has one team for which the project is also the base for the bachelor’s thesis of the participating students. This can make writing your thesis more interesting since you are working with real data and the results of your research will be used by a real company. This year we are working with Stichting Filmonderzoek. The question to be answered is: “Do discount offers increase the demand for cinema?”.

We are investigating whether the yearly promotion of Kruidvat, where consumers can buy two tickets for the price of one, increases the number of visitors of the cinemas or only attracts consumers who were planning to go anyway. What is especially challenging in answering this question is the fact that cinema demand is dependent on various variables of which some are hard to quantify. For example, we have to look at the weather on a given day, but also at the quality of films playing that day. What makes it even harder is that the promotion is in the same month every year, so comparing periods with and without the discount promotion is hard. We have to come up with a model that includes all these factors. It is going to be a challenge but we are certain that we can do this!

For more information about the Learning Academy, please visit the VSAE website or send an email to learningacademy@vsae.nl

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