Business schools cannot afford to ignore the transformative power of artificial intelligence. It’s now possible for chatbots built on large language models to easily pass standardized MBA entrance tests. In fact, a Wharton professor recently demonstrated how ChatGPT was able to secure a B grade in a core MBA module.
These revelations have forced many business school deans into action. The response of many schools has been to embrace AI for MBA programs, especially executive MBAs. Executive MBA students are typically older and more experienced, and they’re eager to learn leadership techniques using the latest technology.
Esade, for example, has partnered with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to offer internships to EMBA students. These internships expose students to AI and allow them to see how AI technologies affect business strategy.
“If technology has been a subordinate structural factor in the past, today it becomes a strategic driver that fuels new and disruptive business models,” says Xavier Ferràs, associate dean of Esade’s Executive MBA programs.
Meanwhile, Imperial College Business School in London has conducted a generative AI “stress test” to analyze the effect of AI technology on students and teaching methods. The school plans to review the results and collaborate with different departments to adapt the way students are taught and assessed.
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This story is from the EMBA report and magazine, out on October 16
“We cannot ban AI, but we also can’t just let the chips fall where they may,” says Prof. Shrier. “We need to rethink assessments and our classes.”
In the future, classes will focus more on hands-on learning and practical examples. Students will have the opportunity to apply AI tools to their assignments and learn by doing. Prof. Shrier has even created a bot that can answer questions about his books, allowing students to access information at any time.
The demand for AI-based courses is rapidly increasing as executives become more concerned about the implications of AI for their roles. Prof. Shrier helped create an AI Ventures module at Imperial, where students develop plans for AI startups or projects within companies. The course has been highly sought after, with demand surpassing the school’s capacity.
“Learning the skills needed for AI jobs is even more urgent for older professionals completing an EMBA, as much of what they’ve done in their careers is becoming irrelevant,” Prof. Shrier explains.
He emphasizes the importance of acquiring these skills, citing a recent study by Evercore, which found that 100% of jobs will be at least 10% affected by AI. On average, 32% of each job’s functions are exposed to AI.
“If you’re a professional ballet dancer, AI won’t have much of an impact on your job. But if you’re an accountant, in investment banking analysis, or in the strategy function, your job is at high risk of being affected by AI,” warns Prof. Shrier.
Some individuals have already seen the benefits of gaining an edge in AI through new EMBA courses. Richard Manga, for example, landed his dream job as a senior enterprise architect at Capgemini France after completing the HEC Paris EMBA, which included a specialization in AI.
HEC’s AI certification program helped Manga develop his skills in translating machine learning concepts into business applications. He found that many of his EMBA peers were knowledgeable about AI concepts but lacked the skills to apply them in executive-level roles.
Manga has noticed an increasing number of conversations about AI at work. “After graduating, I spent almost the entire month talking with executives from my old company, and the main topic we were discussing was how we can include AI in the company’s platform to better serve our customers,” he says.
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