French Professor Walid Klibi explains smart cities and supply chains to EMIT students

19 May 2021
French Professor Walid Klibi explains smart cities and supply chains to EMIT students

The French KEDGE Business School is a long-standing partner of two institutes of the RANEPA, Institute of Public Administration and Civil Service (IPACS) and Institute of Economics, Mathematics and Information Technology (EMIT). Supply chain management expert and KEDGE professor Walid Klibi gave an exclusive interview to the Academy website about his research collaboration and the new reality for students.

Professor Klibi’s introduction to the Academy students took place when he delivered the Smart Cities online lecture course for EMIT’s Bachelor’s degree students. This topic attracted him several years ago, and in his lectures he managed to combine the approach of a scholar with the interests of an urban dweller.

How to make decisions on the development of the city so as to avoid strategic and operational problems in the future is the main focus of his lectures. Professor Klibi emphasizes that “a smart city is a coexistence of multiple stakeholders that requires integration and cooperation. My experience in supply chain analytics was ideally suited to develop this topic and to identify the necessary tools for decision making.”

Walid Klibi’s work adheres to a combination of classical analytics and rigorous information gathering. Starting to explore the topic of the smart city, he had numerous meetings with representatives of mayor’s offices of different cities, leading retail chains, postal parcel delivery companies and others, putting together the jigsaw puzzle of the daily life of the metropolis. He explains: “I value applied research based on real world problems faced by both trading companies and city governments. I am learning from this experience myself, which helps me develop courses and make them more practical.”

The Bachelor’s degree program of the Academy was compiled by Walid Klibi from five core components:

·         Consumer evolution and trends in digital economics;

·         E-commerce and multichannel retailing;

·         Smart city logistics;

·         Urban mobility, the Internet of Things and data management;

·         Assessment and comparative analysis of smart cities.

“The main objective of the course,” says the French professor, “is to teach students to understand the main mechanisms of smart city management and equip them with the knowledge of how to plan a smart city using benchmarks and decision support tools.”

A cross-cutting theme of the course was the assignment for students to develop the Smart City Moscow 2030 roadmap. Attendees also had to formulate their opinion on each of the five components of the course and present forward-looking ideas for the development of the Russian capital. Walid Klibi appreciated the work of the EMIT students: “The analysis and presentations were done to a high standard. I saw that students are motivated and ready to be part of this transformation of Moscow. I must note that the interest of young people was growing from class to class, and this was delightful to see.”

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted Professor Klibi to focus on one of his favorite research topics, which is supply chain resilience. He notes that this line of research is now in high demand among companies to mitigate the effects of last year’s crisis. Businesses have largely had to rethink their supply chain strategy and their global deployment and turn their attention to local sourcing as well as shifting production from distant countries to closer proximity. Klibi is confident that students learning the subjects of Supply Chain and Smart Cities today will have to deal with this reality.

Walid Klibi says: “I always advise my students to get as much academic knowledge and learn as many fundamental concepts as possible. This can give a good competitive advantage in the profession in the future. I definitely recommend paying as much attention as possible to soft-skills, which are very much in demand today. Finally, I encourage them to develop their professional and life skills by solving complex problems, and learn to be flexible.”

Professor Klibi appreciates the experience of interaction with the Presidential Academy and hopes that in the near future the Smart Cities course will be held not online, but in person.


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