Role of AI in management education

It can be a good supplement, but managers need to be mindful of its limitations


With the rapidly accelerating use of artificial intelligence and machine learning across segments, b-schools are in the process of updating their curricula in these areas. They are also integrating AI into their teaching methodology.

Sangeeta Shah Bhardwaj, professor (information management) at MDI Gurgaon, says that though there may be business leaders who are apprehensive about AI, they would have no choice but to adopt it when others start using AI-powered tools. MDI, which has a programme in business analytics, has also introduced courses like geospatial AI and AI in marketing. The geospatial AI course looks at the impact location data is having on organisations and in the startup ecosystem. It will introduce to students the principles for assessing or creating location AI-based products and interfaces.

“AI is being built as part of the process of learning management systems,” says Bhardwaj. “For instance, if there is an online group discussion, AI-enabled LMS will evaluate how students performed and will bring out traits like aggressiveness among other behaviour. This can help a professor in engaging students better.” She adds that students can also get personalised feedback regarding their career path with the help of AI.

However, while AI can be a good supplement, especially in quantifiable business processes such as finance, operations, supply chain and sales, it may not solve the complexities our business leaders face. “A few months ago, an American lawyer used AI to prepare a case,” says Vivek Suneja, dean, FMS Delhi. “When the case went to court, it had a lot of incorrect information. AI manufactured information; basically it falsified data.”

Moreover, there are limitations to the use of AI in human behavioural processes and decisions such as people engagement, succession planning, leadership and values and culture. Human behaviour is not easy to predict. AI will keep developing and become more sophisticated, but it may not be able to replace human traits, says Vishal Talwar, director, IMT Ghaziabad. “Nowadays, the students are more evolved in using such technologies and how management institutions are able to harness and ride that particular wave is something that we have to decide,” he says.

Business leaders will also have to prioritise technology so that investments are made in the areas where the impact is on the quality of decision-making. “We have to look at robots and human beings working together,” says Ranjan Banerjee, dean, BITSoM, Mumbai. “Robots handle programmable aspects, leaving judgment, empathy, insight and relational aspects to humans. Management education will view technology not as a business function but as a horizontal, embedding technology in function.”