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Business Schools Are Adding AI Education Into The Curriculum Business schools are offering AI-related coursework and specialized AI-focused MBA programs.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • A recent survey found that 74% of business schools teach AI subject matter.
  • Teaching AI in business schools presents a challenge due to the evolving nature of the technology.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Artificial intelligence use is popping up in all kinds of businesses — from customer service chatbots to face-recognition technology at venues and stadiums to fast-food ordering systems' drive-thrus.

So it's no surprise that business schools are adapting by incorporating AI education into the curriculum, driven by the understanding that AI is becoming crucial for future leaders, Bloomberg reported.

A survey by the Graduate Business Curriculum Roundtable released last month found that of 68 business schools (60 of which are in the U.S.), 74% are already teaching AI subject matter in their curriculum.

University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business has AI-related coursework through its AI & Analytics for Business program, which is focused on AI entrepreneurship, its application to business, and how to manage the technology.

Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management offers an AI-focused MBA, called MBAi.

However, since the technology is evolving, teaching it poses to be tricky; educators need to figure out how to approach AI ethically and accurately, with an understanding of both its capabilities and limitations.

"Along with considering how can we run better because of AI, we also have a responsibility to figure out how we can teach them better skills because of AI," Paul Almeida, Dean of Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, told Bloomberg. "AI has been around a long time—what's different now is its applicability in the business context and its applicability in organizational contexts."

Related: The 38-Year-Old Leader of the AI Revolution Can't Believe It Either – Meet Open AI CEO Sam Altman

Automation is expected to affect nearly half of today's work activities between 2030 and 2060, according to a recent report by McKinsey, adding that AI has the potential to fully automate tasks that consume 60-70% of employees' time.

Still, using AI doesn't always mean it saves an individual time or improves performance.

A recent study on a first-year master's-level class in behavioral economics found that students who used AI chatbots for assignments performed worse, per graduate business education outlet, Poets & Quants.

"Our classroom experiment suggests that there may be situations in which the professionals of tomorrow do a considerably worse job when aided than when working alone — perhaps due to biases that have been long understood, perhaps due to some that remain to be further explored," said Brian Hill, an HEC Paris professor who conducted the study.

"One of the skills of the future, that we will need to learn to teach today, is how to ensure that they actually help," he added.

While AI's sweeping presence continues to pose countless questions (How many jobs will be taken? How many will be created? How will it affect the workplace?), business schools, which are often the breeding ground for future leaders, have the potential to play a pivotal role in the technology's future trajectory.

"I don't think it's really controversial for me to say that business schools play a huge role in shaping the thinking, the logic, the reasoning of students, and helping students think about which stakeholders matter," Dan Wang, a professor at Columbia Business School, told Bloomberg.

Related: Hiring Managers Are Looking for ChatGPT Experience — And Some Are Willing to Pay Up to $800,000 For It

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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