Blog Post

The School of AI: An Overview

Twice a year Pi School chooses the participants for the AI programme from an extremely wide range of applicants. The approach of the School is both educational and practical, combining lectures from prominent speakers with first-hand work experience for companies that sponsor the students and give them a project to work on.

So far, our students have worked on projects for companies like Cisco, American Express, Soldo, Amazon, Poste Italiane, BNL, Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, PwC, KingCom, and Translated. All of the projects they have done focus on solving problems of the future, making processes easier by automating repetitive tasks and applying their latest knowledge of machine learning. The programme has grown tremendously. In the last year alone, there have been more than 1250 applicants who all want a place in the programme.


Participants talking to clients
Participants talking to sponsors

The group of students is from all over the world and from many different fields. Choosing which profiles fit the programme best and who to choose from so many professionals can be a difficult task. To select which applicants are most qualified we first take a look at all the received documents and then, based on the profiles requested by our sponsors, subsequently select which candidates to interview next.

Approximately 400 preliminary and final interviews have been conducted so far. We carry out about 2-3 interviews with each candidate to get to know all about their academic and work experiences in order to make the best selection.

Participants outside discussing their projects
Participants outside discussing their projects

Until now, our selection process has led us to the final selection of 56 top participants from 23 different countries including 14 Europeans (Albania, Austria, Belarus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Romania, Spain) and 9 from the rest of the world (Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Japan, India, Iran, Pakistan, Singapore, USA, Vietnam, Kazakhstan).

There have been 52 men and 4 women in the programme overall. We receive a significantly lower percentage of female candidates, but the ones we do receive are extremely qualified and at a very high level. No matter where you are from, we encourage you to apply!

Yuki and his partner working on their project
Yuki and Joosep working on their project

Yuki Takahashi is one of the participants in our third edition of the School of AI. He is originally from Japan but works as a Quantitative Analyst at the International Finance Corporation World Bank Group in Washington D.C. He only taught himself how to coding last year, but is already working on a very important project. This is what he thinks about the programme: 

“Getting involved in a real project is a very interesting concept and a great opportunity. Now I know, not just in theory but also in practice, what the difficulties are from both the technical and the project management perspective.”

– Yuki Takahashi

The students greatly appreciate that they get to work for real companies while also learning more about the field and the practice. The programme has given Yuki a first taste of what it is like to work in the field of AI and has led him to a realization:

“Although I work in Finance, I now want to become a data scientist. This programme has brought me one step closer to realizing this.”
- Yuki Takahashi

Participants listening to a lecture by the pool
Participants listening to a lecture by the pool

Because the programme provides a space where people that are passionate about AI can come together and exchange ideas, concepts, advice, and feedback, many of the other participants have also been inspired to make changes in their careers and figure out the next step they want to take. Hardik Madhu is another example of this. He is from Mumbai and has been working there as a data scientist for a couple years now. Secretly though, it has been his dream to found his own startup. Being at the School of AI has helped him figure out how he’s going to proceed in the pursuit of his dream.

"The conversations with other participants have been really helpful in figuring out new paths. I still want to go into consulting, but in the future, I might consider the opportunity of being an entrepreneur. " - Hardik Madhu

The diversity in backgrounds not only leads to interesting discussions but can also really help in gaining insight from various perspectives. Hardik also said that working closely together with a participant with a background in academia has been very interesting to witness because the process and approach are very different. Usman Qayyum is a university researcher in Pakistan and is thinking of applying some of the methodologies he has learned here at Pi School to his academic teachings.

“As a university researcher, I would like my students to use the same exercise of asking themselves where we can apply AI and if we can apply it to different areas. Specifically, the method of reinforcement learning is something I definitely want to implement into my studies in the future. It’s something new to me and it’s fascinating.” – Usman Qayyum

Usman sharing something with Tran
Usman sharing something with Tran

We are glad that so many diverse profiles from different countries and backgrounds can all come together and learn something not only from us but also from each other. The School of AI exemplifies a heterogeneous group of people coming together, combining their different education, experiences, and cultures to produce amazing results and while the third edition of the school of AI is slowly coming to an end, we are already preparing for the fourth edition and look forward to meeting many more young talents from all over the world. 

  • Luisa Beinhold

    Social Media Specialist

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