Artificial intelligence and robotics are steadily making their way into every industry. From retail companies like Amazon (which uses robotic automation to create cashier-less stores) to healthcare practices that use AI-driven robots for medical processes, the applications are proving to be endless. It’s no wonder why 85% of companies plan to incorporate AI and machine learning by 2026, and commercial robots are experiencing record adoption rates.
While AI and robotics concepts were once isolated into STEM courses at colleges and universities, modern educational institutions are increasingly incorporating them into business courses, too. Educators must prepare future business graduates for a future career that’s affected by automation each day.
As business education evolves, companies will have rising access to professionals who can make better decisions — from investments to sales strategies — for the modern business landscape. Learning AI and robotics can also help students improve their data analyses before they actually enter the workforce. Data practitioners have the opportunity to influence the rise of robotics and AI concepts in business courses, so modern businesses can thrive for years to come.
As much as 50% of jobs may be automated by 2030. This largely includes manufacturing careers and menial work, but automation is increasingly affecting careers that once required a college education, too. Teaching AI and robotics concepts in business courses can help upskill future graduates before they enter the workforce, so they can contribute more to their workplaces and enter more sustainable careers.
Rather than simply teaching students how to manually predict supply and demand, for instance, students may learn how to use AI to predict supply and demand trends in their industries. They can then use this AI-supplied information to improve pricing strategies. Business students become irreplaceable, knowledgeable workers when they expand upon the capabilities of AI and robotics.
In one real-world example, Temple University offers a course that blends AI and business analytics via coding exercises and opportunities to solve real business problems in one semester.
Gaining more in-depth business knowledge with an MBA can already increase your starting salary by over $20,000. Students who dip their toes in new verticals that are highly applicable to the business management field can further improve their earning opportunities. Schools like Villanova University even offer entire MBA programs specialized in applied artificial intelligence.
Technology leaders can support the rise in interdisciplinary education by offering hands-on internships to business students, rather than limiting opportunities to STEM students.
Teaching AI and robotics isn’t just an opportunity to secure business students’ futures. It can also help them improve their decision-making processes, so they’re fully prepared to put their skills into practice once they’re in the field. Visual teaching strategies improve learning by up to 400%, in part by making complex subjects more concrete and easy to remember — and few subjects are more visual and hands-on than robotics and AI.
Even using AI software in the classroom can be more immersive than purely learning business theories with an internship. For instance, professors can teach resource management by having students work as a team to choose whether to complete certain assignments or tasks themselves or “invest” in automation software to do the work for them, given a set budget and costs. Students may need to consider both HR and automation ethics by ensuring each member of their team always has a task (and therefore remains “employed”).
Interdisciplinary education doesn’t have to be complex. Business students don’t necessarily need to learn how to code or build machines, but they can benefit from learning how AI and robotics work and how they can incorporate these new technologies into their careers. For instance, the Harvard Business School teaches students to use AI in project management and to create data visualizations.
STEM professionals and data analysts can contribute to this extension of traditional business education by volunteering as guest speakers in classrooms. By providing insights about AI, robotics, and automation from the perspective of someone who’s actively watching businesses transform, you can make business courses more realistic and actionable for students.
Collecting data is often the easy part of business analyses. Getting insights from all those numbers is the difficult part — and the most important. With actionable insights, you can predict sales volumes and even turn your company’s data into a monetizable asset. In the business field, experts expect the usage of AI and machine learning for cash flow forecasting to increase by 450% in just two years.
When students can understand basic AI and robotics concepts, they can understand how to decipher data and use it to their advantage. One business school in India teaches students how to build IoT devices and store data, which they can use to analyze and monitor the devices via the cloud.
Data mining for analysis is key to business solutions, and this can be done by AI-driven models. Students can then create their own data visualizations and use AI-driven software to predict potential business outcomes. Business students can practice using transactional data collected by AI software to identify customers’ interests, then practice their selling skills by using those interests within their pitches.
Modern business courses can no longer neglect the rise of AI and robotics across industries. No matter what company business students work with (or start) in the future, they must understand these new technologies to make efficient, ethical, and smarter business decisions in the future. Supporting these programs — for example, by volunteering as a guest speaker, offering internships, or even donating to colleges and universities — can support the growth of a more proficient workforce and more capable graduates.