Alumniverhaal

Agata - PhD student

In her masters Agata came to Wageningen as an Erasmus student from Warsaw University to learn more. During her master Management, Economics and Consumer Studies she specialized in Operation Research and Logistics (ORL). She is currently working on her PhD research.

The aim of my 4-years research is to develop decision support models to improve milk valorization at FrieslandCampina.

So you currently work on your PhD at FrieslandCampina?

“My PhD project is commissioned by FrieslandCampina, one of the largest dairy companies in the world. The research is a combination of science and application. I am spending 50% of my time at Wageningen University and 50% at FrieslandCampina. Within FrieslandCampina I am working at the department of Milk Valorization and Allocation.”

What is the scope of your research?

“The aim of my 4-years research is to develop decision support models to improve milk valorization at FrieslandCampina. To do that we are using operations research techniques. In the first two years of my research I have developed a large scale optimization model for milk valorization decision support that is capable of answering the most important questions for milk valorization. Think about for example identification of the optimal product portfolio, identification of bottleneck capacities and profitability levels. We are now looking to extend this with elements such as inventory decisions, revenue management, and game theory.”

How does your day usually look like?

“During the day I am mainly working on my research. Each study usually requires: literature study, interviews, data collection, model formulation and development, result analyses, and article writing. My daily work depends on the phase of the research I am currently working on. From time to time I am also following various courses related to my research and I go abroad for various scientific conferences or summer schools. Teaching is not one of my activities, although this is common when being a PhD student. Instead I am taking part in various projects at FrieslandCampina.”

What are your plans for after your graduation?

“In the future I would like to work in a business, but I would like to have an opportunity of using a scientific approach to solving problems. Probably it won’t be completely possible. However, I do notice that nowadays companies are more and more relying on technical and scientific approaches than before. My PhD is a good evidence of that. Next to that I do not exclude the possibility of working 1 or 2 days per week at the university.”

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