Aug 6, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Welcome to the Smart Machine Age (SMA) – technology led by artificial intelligence, robots, nanotech and some of the most cohesive global connectivity we’ve ever seen.

The SMA informs manufacturing, medicine, finance, accounting, consulting, law, and education across all sectors.

One of these education sectors? Business school. Welcome to the era of smart business schools. 

How do business schools use smart technology to teach? From courses in AI to Massive Open Online Courses, virtual and augmented reality, and customized learning platforms, business schools continue to innovate in the newest frontier. Let’s take a closer look.

1. AI courses

AI powers Amazon and Netflix, and plays significant roles in social media. It also helps power the world we know as marketing and has functionality in accounting and finance, too.

Every MBA student should take an AI course. Why? Artificial intelligence can mimic the analytical abilities of human brains.

If you want to learn about the creation of new markets through disruptive innovation—and you should if you’re in business school—then you need to know how AI works.

Did we mention AI itself is also a roaring business? It’s a must. While you don’t need to become a technical expert, you need to understand how to run a company that uses AI.

2. Virtual and augmented reality

Business schools are pouring tons of resources into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). AR, which layers interactive images over physical reality, a la Pokémon GO, will be one of the biggest tech disruptors this generation. VR allows for interactive experiences between the user and technology.

The most obvious? Engineering and medicine use VR and AR extensively.

Business schools, increasingly, are using more AR and VR too. Students work on soft skills like. Negotiation, engagement, networking, and on-campus digital experiences.

France’s NEOMA Business School uses AR and VR in its management courses.  

In a recent article in Business Because, Helena González Gómez, HR professor and head of the People and Organizations Department said, “in this fast, rapidly-changing business environment, you need innovation to compete at different levels. And the first step for innovation in creativity.”

She uses digital tools for simulation programs so that students gain experience using them.

3. Online learning platforms

Business schools have a history of being on the cutting edge of innovation. In the 1980s, some MBA students got this thing called a laptop computer.

Business schools still use laptops—and new online learning platforms. From student portals to online courses (see #4), business schools are all about teaching in the online space.

Why? The way people learn is changing—and so is the way they do business.

Increasingly, business schools offer flexible, customized learning platforms for students.

EU Business School offers 11 customizable MBA specialties on their online platform. At Copenhagen Business School, students can take online electives like innovation management, big data, and analytics.

4. Development of MOOCs

If you’re looking for a way to save some money and earn those credits towards your MBA, consider a MOOC.

The University of Illinois Business School launched the first MMOC-based MBA with Coursera, the California-based online learning company.  

They restructured their full-time MBA program so students can start courses any time—and save money.

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School also launched 18 MOOCs, focusing on critical skills and deeper explorations of business topics.

To work on developing qualified business leaders in the social sector, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business innovated a series of MOOCs in non-profit strategy and philanthropy.

What do students think of all this technology informing their business school experience? They love the perspective. They love the flexibility—and they’re looking forward to future technological innovations in business.

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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