Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Ready To Learn AI At Business School? Demand For AI In The Curriculum Is Growing

A new study from the Graduate Management Admission Council sees a surge in the number of prospective students who consider AI to be a curriculum must have

Tue Mar 26 2024

Prospective students are showing an increasing demand for some form of AI-based teaching and STEM-designated programs at business school, according to the 2024 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Prospective Student Survey.

Candidates’ expectations for AI and STEM are growing to match the skills they believe they will need to get ahead in their careers. 

Respondents to the 2024 survey who said AI was essential to their business education curricula grew 38% year-over-year, and two-fifths of potential business students said it was essential in their curricula.

Prospective students increasingly showed a preference for technology-driven courses that had a STEM-designation, with the global interest having grown 39% in five years. This was especially true in Asian countries, such as Greater China and India.  

Generative AI is becoming an essential in the business school curriculum

Since the emergence of ChatGPT in November 2022, generative AI, and the disruption it is causing businesses has dominated headlines. 

In response to these developments, the survey showed that candidates wanted business schools to integrate the topic alongside more traditional business skills such as problem solving and communication. 

In the past year, the number of candidates who said AI was essential to their business education rose from 29% in 2022 to 40% in 2023—evidence of the growing demand to learn about the role of AI in a business context. 

The surge in interest was spread across regions. The percentage of prospective students who agreed AI was essential to the business school curriculum grew in in East and Southeast Asia, Central and South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and North America. 

This growth was most pronounced among candidates from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the US, which all saw double-digit growth. 

The Middle East interest in AI in the curriculum surged from 35% in 2022 to 58% in 2023, while in Latin America it grew from 26% to 45%, and the US had a lesser but still significant rise of 12% from 22% to 34%. 

Within the responses, gender and generational gaps emerged. More men (42%) and millennials (44%) were seeking an integration of AI into their business education than women (37%) and Gen Z (38%) candidates. 

Increasing interest in STEM-designated programs

Candidates’ interest in STEM-certified programs rose across regions over the past five years, and grew 39% globally, according to the survey. 

This growth was especially pronounced among candidates in Central & South Asia as well as East and Southeast Asia, particularly in the key markets of India and Greater China. 

Specifically, preference for STEM-certified programs grew in India from 43% of candidates in 2019 to 57% in 2023 and in Greater China from 35% of candidates to 51% over the same period..

In the US, preliminary data from the US Department of Education showed that the number of programs registered as STEM-certified in business education nearly doubled from 2017 to 2021. 

As with AI, interest in STEM-certified programs also saw a gender gap. 

While preference for STEM-certified programs grew among both men and women, it increased from 27% in 2019 to 35% in 2023 among women and from 28% to 42% among men. 

This gender disparity is not isolated to business education, as women have historically been underrepresented in both business and STEM fields.

However, this is something business schools should consider as they aim for gender parity in their degree offerings.