From Milan To London: Global Institutions Embrace Tech For Future-Ready Education

From Milan To London: Global Institutions Embrace Tech For Future-Ready Education

With the advent of AI and ML, international business schools and universities are adopting new technologies to ensure their students learn the necessary skills in their chosen career path.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 11:49 AM IST
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NEOMA's 100% virtual campus | Special Arrangement

According to MyStudia, 2023 saw a 35% increase in the number of Indian students pursuing higher education abroad, compared to 2022. While courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have always been a popular choice for Indian students studying abroad, the rapid advancements in technology have also increased their interests in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

Business schools and universities around the world are adapting programmes and launching new ones to teach students the necessary skills in these domains to thrive in the future workplace. 

Nyenrode Business University, Netherlands module on AI

One such example is the MBA module Management of AI and Cyber Security at Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen, the Netherlands, which helps participants develop practical tools to manage and protect their organisations.

A similar example is the Data, Analytics, and AI for Professionals (DAAP) programme offered by Aalto University Executive Education in Helsinki, Finland, which enables participants to understand and solve business opportunities and challenges related to AI as well as to utilise and develop AI services.

Norwegian School of Economics blends business and technology

NHH Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway, has also launched a brand-new bachelor’s degree in Business, Economics and Data Science, specifically for those interested in business and technology. With the first class starting in autumn 2024, the course will provide economics students the opportunity to specialise in technology. 

“The special skills appropriated in this programme are in high demand in business life today, and our purpose is to give students a solid platform of competence to solve the challenges of today and in the future,” explained Øystein Thøgersen, Rector at NHH.

Some schools are implementing new technology, not just into the curriculum, but in the way they teach and operate. 

NEOMA Business School, France has 100% digital campus

NEOMA Business School in Mont-Saint-Aignan, France, became the first school in Europe to open a 100% digital campus during the COVID-19 pandemic to create the interactions and atmosphere of a virtual real campus.

Using a personalised avatar, students study and move in this virtual space like a real campus. “The avatar reworks the concept of telepresence by avoiding the tiring aspects of videoconferences. You can open a door, raise your hand, sit down, applaud or even play football on the football pitch. There are many different features that are based on daily, physical gestures and movements, which make the experience natural and enjoyable,” said Alain Goudey, the associate dean for Digital at NEOMA.

POLIMI, Italy's AI platform, FLEXA

POLIMI Graduate School of Management in Milan, Italy, has been using AI to educate and communicate with students through a platform called FLEXA, developed in partnership with Microsoft.

Starting with an assessment phase which evaluates where individuals need to improve their skills, FLEXA uses AI to create and suggest personalised training courses. Participants then have access to an ecosystem of about 800,000 pieces of learning material, including digital courses, webinars, podcasts, articles and case studies.

Rotterdam School of Management asks students to use ChatGPT

When it comes to using AI in education, Dimitrios Tsekouras, a senior lecturer in Business Information Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, advocates for the use of ChatGPT for the students of the Bachelor in Digital Business programme. Tsekouras teaches students how to use the technology, tailor prompts, and sets a specific essay question to answer. Students must write the essay with the support of ChatGPT and submit their work with a log of all ChatGPT interactions.

“The integration of ChatGPT into higher education is going to happen anyway, so the question is not whether but how to integrate it. Not all students are tech-savvy, or willing to learn this tool,” explained Tsekouras. 

“Therefore, educators are responsible for bringing all students to an adequate level of knowledge, since all graduates will heavily use it in their professional careers," he added.

He further added, “In my course, the mandatory use of ChatGPT has received very positive feedback. Students appreciated that formal training was offered and that they were allowed to use the tool in a safe environment. Many mentioned that they found it a great tool to complement their studying and appreciated the flexibility and support it offers for their learning.”

Imperial College London's AI business education

Also pioneering the integration of AI into business education is Imperial College Business School in London, the UK, looking to create a more engaging, personalised, and future-ready learning experience.

Monica Arés, the executive director of the Imperial Innovation, Digital Education & Analytics (IDEA Lab), said, “Our approach aims to seamlessly integrate technology into daily learning routines to create adaptive experiences. For example, we are creating verified knowledge systems with Large Language Models (LLMs) to provide data sources that can be used to create AI-driven assistants and tutors. These LLMs can also provide specialised guidance for educators to help create courses, assignments, and assessments. In addition, conversational and generative AI can be used as tools that help people practice essential human skills such as empathy, negotiation, and adaptability.” 

DEEP institute's deep tech value chain

Moving on from AI, the Institute for Deep Tech Innovation (DEEP), was launched in September 2022 by ESMT Berlin in Germany. It focuses on the deep tech value chain and intends to overhaul it by educating and enabling those involved. This includes working closely with entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and leaders in scientific organisations, offering entrepreneurship education and supporting start-ups to commercialise and build deep tech companies.

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Germany's VR education

Looking to the future, Manuela Zehe, the head of Learning Innovation at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in Germany, believes a key advantage of using virtual reality (VR) glasses in education is the creation of immersive learning environments. 

“Students can immerse themselves in historical events, explore distant places, or even travel through the human body, all from the comfort of their desk or lecture room. This immersion not only captivates the participants but also helps them better process and retain the information in long-term memory through experiential learning,” Zehe said. 

These examples show how international educational institutions are leveraging technological advancement and ensuring students learn the necessary skills to thrive in their chosen career path.

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