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Artificial Intelligence: Business Schools Are Teaching Students How To Master Machines

Business applications for AI are growing and b-schools must ensure that graduates can meet the future needs of industry

Tue Feb 27 2018

BusinessBecause
Artificial intelligence is breaking out of science fiction and sprinting into reality. A robot can now identify a human from a photo of their face, trounce a Poker player and in theory, pilot a plane.

Business applications for AI are growing, from Apple’s Siri personal assistant to Amazon’s delivery drones, and business schools want to ensure that their graduates have the skills to meet the future needs of industry. A wide range of master’s degrees and electives within established courses that focus on AI are on offer.

“Digital and AI are rapidly changing the way we live and work in significant ways,” says Francisco Veloso, dean of London’s Imperial College Business School.

As businesses transform to keep up with the pace of technological change, he adds, “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, [and] fintech”.

Imperial runs a two-year, £27,500 master of science degree in business analytics. The course focuses on using statistical, operations research and machine learning techniques to solve business problems and obtain actionable insight from data using analytics. Learning these skills makes students highly employable, says program director and professor Kalyan Talluri.

“[They enter] technical analytics positions as well as technical analytics manager roles. Consulting is also a very viable option for our graduates,” he adds.

Many of his students come from quantitative disciplines such as STEM (science, engineering, tech and math) but have the communication skills necessarily to thrive in a business environment — communicating insight to executives is essential to making good use of data.

Most of the degrees require a technical background and are highly competitive — such as the Master of Business Analytics degree at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, which will expand its annual intake from about 20 to 60 by 2020. Other courses focus on preparing managers to master machines (the algorithms which guide them).

At Harvard Business School in Boston, MBA students are gaining a basic understanding of the business applications of AI, says David B Yoffie, a professor of international business administration. “If you want to get into the realm of self-driving cars, you have to understand what machine learning and different AI techniques can do.”

But, he adds, the business school is not training technologists: it is more important that students can effectively manage engineers, not supplant them.

Bill Boulding, dean of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina, which runs a Master of Quantitative Management degree, sounds a note of caution on AI. Refining the curriculum to meet the needs of industry will become more important, he says, but business schools must also pay attention to the ethical implications of tech innovation. After all, AI is poised to wipe out swathes of low-skilled and some managerial jobs, economists predict.

“We can’t lose the human element in technological advances, or we risk losing the values that anchor our lives,” he says.

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

Verified

30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.

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