Hankamer Brings AI to MBAs

March 14, 2024
Hankamer Brings AI to MBAs

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, educational programs have increasingly recognized the need to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into their curriculum. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business (HSB) is working to ensure future business leaders are equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate the modern era.

HSB's MBA programs have incorporated AI into their curriculum through different projects, specific tools, research and guest speakers. With more than 15 courses integrating AI—from Marketing Strategy to Accounting and Economics—students benefit from exposure to cutting-edge technology continuously throughout their studies, Pedro Reyes, associate professor of Supply Chain Management at the Business School, said. 

In his class, Reyes challenges his MBA students to leverage the power of AI through consulting projects and opinion-based (op-ed) assignments.

For op-ed assignments, students choose one major topic from each chapter as their main topic for their op-ed. Students then must use ChatGPT to assist with their research and fact-check whatever they find, demonstrating that while AI is helpful, verification is essential.

"When ChatGPT was first discussed in academia, the initial thought was that students would use this AI for cheating," Reyes said. "However, I commented that students will always look for shortcuts. ChatGPT should be treated as another tool that our students need to know how to use as they enter the workforce. In my opinion, this is no different from using Grammarly – which is also an AI writing assistant that I use."

Along with the use of AI tools, Reyes has incorporated the research he has gathered on the use of RFID, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, additive manufacturing and Blockchain, into a chapter of his textbook for his global Supply Chain Management course. In assigned consulting projects, students explore frontier technologies aimed at enhancing operational planning and execution within global supply chains.

In addition to the efforts of faculty like Reyes, guest speakers further enrich the learning experience of Baylor MBA students. The Executive MBA program has hosted speakers from AI-based organizations, such as AWS and Lucid.AI. Michael Stewart, CEO of Lucid.AI, talked through multiple perspectives on the responsible and ethical issues present in AI technologies across the world.

"AI is already permeating almost every meaningful task across various industries, marking it as the most disruptive technology in history. It's rapidly becoming the largest, fastest, most comprehensive change agent in all human activities, but especially in business. It's incredibly important for MBA students to know what AI is capable of doing, where and how it's being applied, the benefits and risks, ethical ambiguities it is creating, and how best to interoperate with the powerful change-causing characteristics," Stewart said.

MBA students have seen the benefit of incorporating AI into course objectives, Reyes said. Stewart believes that students understand the importance AI plays moving forward.

"I truly enjoyed meeting many of the students afterward, talking through multiple perspectives of the responsible and ethical issues inherent in AI technologies across our world," Stewart said.

As AI continues to reshape industries and redefine business practices, it is crucial for MBA programs to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate this transformative landscape. By embracing AI integration, the Hankamer School of Business remains at the forefront of preparing future business leaders to thrive in an AI-driven world.

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