Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest and most debated topics today. In response to a growing demand for complex and efficient problem solving, the new Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence at the Schulich School of Business was born. Read on to hear from the Program Director and two current students – get their insights about the program and get excited about all things AI!
Meet Dr. Kristal, a founding director of Masters programs at the Schulich School of Business. After teaching at Schulich for 15 years as an Assistant and then an Associate Professor, Dr. Kristal realized that there was a need for professionals who can solve business problems using artificial intelligence. “The program aims to bridge that gap and train students in management and AI at the same time,” he says.
AI is completely different from any other business management field. In order to manage an AI project, you really need to get your hands dirty, get involved and understand business needs. That’s exactly what Schulich allows you to do.
To succeed, you need to have a quantitative mindset, be motivated and hard-working. But you also need to have an open, inquisitive mind that can investigate and understand how the business environment is changing.
Artificial Intelligence Consulting Project
On top of the analytical skills that come with the AI territory, you can also learn essential soft skills. One of those skills is arguably the most important for aspiring managers – leadership. The eight-month Artificial Intelligence Consulting Project (AICP) provides students with hands-on experience solving real-world business problems using AI and meaningful connections within the industry.
The program also offers a variety of other business-related subjects: organizational change, strategy, marketing, finance and negotiation. The goal is to make graduates well-rounded managers in AI and analytics with a solid foundation in business studies. If that’s not enough, you can also take advantage of the Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab. There you can work closely with data scientists to get a bit more of that real-world experience.
According to Dr. Kristal, most students find a job in the industry even before they graduate. Schulich helps by inviting industry leaders to their professional nights, assisting with the job search, resume writing and interview preparation.
After the MMAI program, you can expect to find a job as a consultant, analyst, manager or senior manager, depending on your prior experience.
Now that you’ve heard a bit about the background of the program and what to expect, here’s what two current students have to say about their experiences.
Lucas Shi came to Canada from China to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He worked as an engineer in the oil and gas sector for two years, then obtained an MBA and later became interested in AI, specifically “how AI can help in the future decision-making process of business and investing”. Lucas attended an MMAI launch event, met a program recruiter and found himself applying to the program shortly after!
This deep understanding of the business landscape and the changes in the industry are just some of the things that help Lucas stand out and excel in the program. But how did he get there? Prior to applying, he made an effort to learn as much as he could about Python and areas of math that are related to AI (calculus, linear algebra, and statistics). That’s right, he studied before studying and that’s what it takes! “I believe the more you are prepared, the more you can learn from this program, especially through the consulting project where all those skills will come together,” he says.
Is AI for you?
Lucas was initially interested in AI due to his curiosity about the future of decision-making. “I believe future generations of asset managers need in-depth knowledge not only in business fundamentals which will change as new technology such as AI, IoT, and 5G are likely to transform every industry, as well as how to leverage machine learning to generate new insights from the vast amount of data,” says Lucas.
Lucas also highlights that, besides technical skills, he also learned so many soft skills that will help him become a better manager. Presentation, networking, interviewing, and leadership skills are just some of the invaluable skills he is working on during his projects and with the help of numerous workshops.
If you’re still unsure if AI is the right fit for you, Lucas suggests the following: “Ask yourself if you are really interested in the topics and willing to devote 12 months of hard work for this career transformation into AI. If you believe AI has the potential to transform almost all industries and redefine professional roles in the near future, then everyone can benefit from the program. You should be deeply interested in AI and willing to work really hard to get the most value from this program.”
Mahwish Khalid studied Bachelors in Engineering in Pakistan prior to coming to Canada. A student of the program now, Mahwish has a strong desire to learn and great ambitions for her future: “My short-term goal is to work as a Data Scientist. My long-term goal is to start my own company in AI that offers solutions to better [the] everyday lives of common Canadians”.
She chose this program not just because AI is one of the most innovative and researched topics today, but also because she happens to be genuinely fascinated with the subject and the potential to change the world for the better. Mahwish is mostly interested in image classification, voice recognition and early disease diagnosis using AI.
Although Mahwish has just started her journey in the program, she’s very experienced in the field. She has over 10 years of combined experience in technology networks and AI. Presently, Mahwish is studying Ethics and Societal Implications of AI, AI Fundamentals, Database Fundamentals, Algorithms for Business Analysis and Case Analysis and Presentation Skills. She’s looking forward to learning all about Neural Networks through Python and SQL, Tableau, NLP and other AI tools.
You don’t have to have over 10 years of experience like Mahwish to excel in the program. She believes that students from Mathematics, Management, Engineering, and Computer Science backgrounds will benefit from this program the most.
Her favourite part of her Schulich experience so far is the teaching methods used the quality of the faculty. Mahwish also appreciates that the program is responding to critical business needs, allowing her to develop a strong foundation for an exciting career.
Do you feel excited about the possibilities AI holds? Learn more and apply to the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence (MMAI) Program at the Schulich School of Business here.