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PhD AND DOCTORAL PROGRAMMESPhD in Business Administration



AI in operations management specialisation



Director of the AI in Operations Management specialisation

The Artificial Intelligence in Operations Management specialisation is characterised by the use of artificial intelligence and a set of mathematical tools to solve a broad range of complex problems in management sciences. Examples of areas of application include transportation, logistics, supply chain management, energy, and scheduling, among others. 

Students are expected to learn, to develop and to apply techniques from the domains of data science, machine learning, optimisation, and simulation to provide decision-support tools to tackle problems that are often cast in uncertain environments. The programme has experts in the areas of operations research, operations management, information systems, and management science. 

Programme structure

​First year

​In the first year, the student will follow courses of the doctoral program "Business Economics" at KU Leuven, and live in Leuven, Belgium. The courses, taught in English, are to be chosen by the two thesis supervisors.  

More information on the list of courses is available on the KU Leuven website

Following KU Leuven's requirements, all students must obtain at least 21 ECTS credits at the end of this first year.  

Second to fourth year

In the subsequent years (2nd, 3rd, and 4th years), students will be situated in one of the French campuses of SKEMA (Lille, Paris, or Sophia Antipolis). 
They will work on their thesis jointly with both supervisors from SKEMA and KU Leuven. Important points:  
  • Students will participate actively in the scientific workshops and seminars organized at either institution insofar as these are relevant to the research carried out and at the discretion of the joint supervisors.  
  • Students are expected to submit conference papers at peer-reviewed academic conferences and high-impact journals in the field.  
  • At SKEMA, the progress of the thesis will be evaluated by a scientific committee each year.  
  • At KU Leuven, the student must defend his/her progress in two scientific research seminars (at the end of the second and the third year).   
  • Students will be under contract with SKEMA for the duration of three years (years 2, 3, and 4). 
  • Students are expected to publish at least one scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal before defending their thesis.  
  • In the final year, doctoral students will defend their thesis in English with a jury composed of researchers from SKEMA and KU Leuven, as well as external researchers from other institutions. A double PhD degree will be awarded after a successful defense.  

Scientific committee

Bernardo Pagnoncelli (Director of the specialisation) 
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