How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Business Education In 2018

Robots will find a place on MBA syllabi and change the way we learn online, according to the world’s top deans

The robots will rise in business education in 2018, according to the world’s top deans.

BusinessBecause's annual forecasting article found that business school heads see artificial intelligence (AI) as one of the trends having the biggest impact on management education in the year ahead. 

Francisco Veloso, dean of Imperial College Business School in London says: “Digital and AI are rapidly changing the way we live and work in significant ways, so I expect to see schools placing a stronger focus on these areas in 2018.”

“As businesses transform to keep up with the pace of technological change, schools will need to do more to provide students with the tools they need to undertake careers or start businesses in areas such as blockchain, fintech, crowdfunding, or social innovation,” he adds 

Business schools will also pay more attention to the ethics behind tech innovation, according to Bill Boulding, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina.

He says: “We can’t lose the human element in technological advances or we risk losing the values that anchor our lives. For example, our students need to think hard about the balance between rule-based algorithms and human judgment.”

Over the past year, several top schools have launched electives in their MBAs which are exploring the impact of AI, including INSEAD, MIT Sloan, and Harvard Business School.

The schools hope to prepare students for a world of work which, many believe, will in the near future incorporate more machines.

While manual labour is most at risk of displacement from automation, says the consultancy firm PwC, white-collar roles are, increasingly, being digitized — from lawyers to equities traders.

AI is creeping into the MBA jobs market, with employers such as IBM using robo-recruiters to screen candidates. Companies are also seeking managers who can manage algorithms across service lines, and use data to make business decisions better. 

“Employers will more rapidly adopt digital screening processes to broaden their reach, and hire the very best candidates,” says Paul Almeida, dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington DC.

“Business schools will offer more electives around data, analytics, and artificial intelligence — all using new [online] platforms [which are] increasingly becoming standard practice,” he adds. 

AI will also change the way students learn online. One essential ingredient to learning and improving is feedback. Today, students receive limited feedback from faculty and classmates. Soon, this feedback could be more readily available using automation, says Martin Boehm, dean of IE Business School in Spain.

“This will allow students to receive, after every session, valuable feedback,” he adds. 

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