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Published: Monday, 11 September 2017 10:00 AM

AI, Robotics make their way into MBA curriculum

“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We're nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.” —Larry Page, Co-Founder, Google

While the world experiences a huge surge in how IoT (Internet of Things) and machine intelligence are influencing business analytics and strategies world over, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics have made their way into the MBA curriculum of various business schools in India, including the reputed Indian Institutes of Management.

SPJIMR (SP Jain Institute of Management and Research) too launched the following two different courses for its full time MBA programs (PGDM and PGPM) in the month of June, 2017:

  • IoT in Supply Chain and
  • Reinventing Business with IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The institute is targeting to expose its students to a comprehensive IoT ecosystem. Speaking to the press, Professor (Dr) Anil Vaidya, the Area Head of the institute’s Information Management Department expressed his views emphasizing that although management graduates of the future will not be doing the engineers’ jobs, considering how automation is rapidly disrupting the businesses world over, it has become imperative for anyone in a leadership position to have ample knowledge of technology, so as to be able to develop and expand the business.

In a statement to MBA Rendezvous, Professor (Dr) Anil Vaidya stated, “It is vital to recognize that the world is transforming at an accelerating pace in the area of automation. The future leaders, our management students, need to appreciate changes taking place in the commercial as well as societal space. Keeping ahead of curve at SPJIMR we have introduced newer technology implementations for our management students. These cover IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Combining the three we bring to the table Robotics as well. Maintaining balance between technological nitty-gritty and the business implications our students grasp the architecture of the new world.

He further opined that it’s important for MBA students to get the right technological foundation in order to build sound business perspectives on top. Students must learn how to write a bot, how to stream data, how to ask the right questions, to hire the right vendors to do the job and so on. Additionally, MBA students must appreciate the business value of all such exercises, and learn how to integrate all these concepts with businesses, to develop various business models and to improve the levels of customer engagement.

The students at SPIJMR will be required to create their own IoT devices as a part of the course curriculum, followed by their actual deployment in the real world, followed by constant monitoring (of their workings) making use of the cloud services. All pertinent data would be stored on the cloud, easily accessible and downloadable whenever the student wants to do the required analysis.

IIM Kozhikode and IIM Bengaluru are already offering comprehensive courses on artificial intelligence and Robotics, which can be easily plugged into business strategies for enhancement of business outputs, customer experience and overall performance.

IIM Kozhikode runs a FPM or Fellowship Program in Management for the IT and Systems field, which has both machine learning as well as artificial intelligence as elective courses. Mr Mohammed Shahid Abdulla, the Associate Professor in the IT and Systems Department of the institute believes that although employability of the students enhances significantly with skills, it peaks if the enthusiasm of the students can be effectively tapped into. He further feels that machine learning and AI have both applications in the managerial field, and have a certain futuristic touch to them which excites the students! One of their courses actually focuses on AI-based automation and successful replacement of the job roles performed by humans.

IIM Bangalore on the other hand runs a popular elective course on the subject of artificial intelligence for its MBA aspirants. Mr. U Dinesh Kumar, Chairperson, Data Analytics Lab at the IIM Bangalore mentioned that many students are opting for this course. He feels that a lot of automation happening nowadays is based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative for the managers to learn about these technologies, so as to make better decisions.

IIM Calcutta has artificial intelligence subject as a part of its broader courses related to data and business analytics. A professor of economics at IIM Calcutta, Mr Anindya Sen feel that machine learning and artificial intelligence have become almost essential tools in the courses focused on business strategy. They have all the more relevance when an institute is aspiring to produce managers and CEOs of the future.

T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), another reputed institution that produces top-notch MBA professionals each year, offers several related courses in Analytics such as Descriptive and Predictive Analytics, Forecasting Models, Advanced Business Analytics, Digitization and Analytics for Competitive Strategy and Enterprise Resource Planning. All these can be useful in their own unique ways in the field of AI and Robotics.

Talking about international schools, there are some reputed ones like MIT Sloan School of Management, INSEAD and the Kellogg School of Management that offer standalone programs focused on artificial intelligence and robotics. Then there are others such as Harvard Business School, London Business School and NYU Stern School of Business that have artificial intelligence as a part of their programs on coding and data analytics.

Stay informed, Stay ahead and stay inspired with MBA Rendezvous