MBAi Program: Courses Enable Fluency in Both Business Strategy & Tech

By Eric Anderson, Faculty Director for the Kellogg-McCormick MBAi Program

As you’re considering a Kellogg MBA, you may be wondering more about MBAi, our joint-degree program through which you’ll earn an MBA conferred by both Kellogg and McCormick School of Engineering. I’m excited to share the curriculum we’ll be offering our first MBAi cohort this fall which, I believe, will give you more insight into this program.

MBAi responds to market demand

Kellogg students have long since benefitted from the school’s tech offerings: our popular Data Analytics and Technology Management pathways, for example.

But with the recent and rapid advancements in technology (including machine learning and artificial intelligence) businesses have struggled to transform with it. Executives I’ve spoken to from around the globe — whether they’re CEOs, CMOs, CFOs — tell me they need people who can help connect their businesses with emerging technologies. That’s where MBAi comes in.

The MBAi Program not only builds upon our innovative technology portfolio but is custom-tailored for students with a strong technology background, offering an accelerated track to deepen your understanding of how technology and leadership intersect.

Pairing the best of the Kellogg MBA experience with an education in science and tech, MBAi is the only top-tier, accelerated program of its kind to equip future leaders to apply technology effectively within their business.

Here is the MBAi curriculum for next fall:

Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter will include a computational thinking course to anchor the subsequent technical curriculum and core MBA course sequence — specifically designed for the MBAi cohort — to create the framework for you to develop strategies for AI-driven technologies through a leadership lens. Fall Quarter courses will include:

  • MBAi Business Analytics: Organizations find themselves collecting more data than ever before; yet most executives lack the skills to “interrogate” them in ways that go beyond simple spreadsheet analyses. This course is designed to prepare you to combine business expertise and data science skills to make data-driven decisions.
  • MBAi Marketing: You’ll define the strategic role of marketing in the firm and provide a toolkit for analyzing marketing problems. Course material will cover: case studies about AI, a framework for how to implement and manage AI in marketing and discussions of AI-based marketing analytics as part of marketing strategy and tactics.
  • Computational Thinking for Business Leaders: AI is driven by the idea of mapping complex reasoning onto computation. The crucial first step in learning AI is learning how to look at the world, business, and the problems you will confront through the lens of computation. Computational Thinking for Business Leaders is designed to provide you with exactly this foundation.

Winter & Spring Quarters

During Winter and Spring Quarters, the MBA core course sequence will continue. You will also enroll in technology-focused and integrative courses, which begin to put business strategies to work. Courses during these quarters include:

  • Applied Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Unpack and explore the different techniques that make up AI from both a functional and theoretical perspective. This course will provide you with in-depth experience in symbolic approaches that are at the core of reasoning engines and the deep neural networks that drive so much of machine learning (ML) today and give you the expertise needed to intelligently guide the design and development of innovative AI systems based on a genuine understanding of the technologies, what they do, and what they can do for your use cases.
  • Data Science in Practice: Learn to deal with various sources of data, detect and correct anomalous data, use the SQL database query language, generate clear and compelling data visualizations, and recognize the all-too-common cases when datasets are incomplete or misleading. You will architect data pipelines and explore communicating your results to both technical and nontechnical audiences to influence business decisions.
  • Technical Product Management: More than anyone else in the business, the Technical Product Manager owns the product. This course explores the processes associated with this role as it relates specifically to AI and the challenges that businesses encounter in building intelligent machines embedded in real human workflows.
  • Practicum in Software Engineering: Companies desperately need people who know how to coordinate the gathering of needs, requirements, and resources in a way that drives progress even amidst uncertainty. Here, you’ll develop these skills and learn how to discern client needs even when they are not articulated, map those needs to technical plans, and manage development resources to make those plans a reality.

Summer Quarter

In Summer Quarter, you and your classmates will participate in a full-time summer internship. There will also be an academic component that will be taught during the evening or on the weekend out of the Northwestern San Francisco campus. Where your Internship is based will determine your in-person or remote participation within classes. One course to highlight in particular is:

  • Human Computer Interaction: This course will provide you with knowledge and expertise from many different disciplines and domains (e.g. computer science, engineering, the social sciences and humanities, and more) to design and build interactions with new technologies that solve problems and enable new possibilities.

Fall (Final) Quarter

The fifth and final Fall Quarter will ensure you are ready for the next phase of your professional career:

  • You’ll participate in Crisis Management, where you will prepare to handle rapidly changing environments and anticipate potential threats. To confront you with these challenges in a realistic fashion, the class is structured around a rich set of challenging case studies and crisis simulation exercises.
  • Finally, MBAi Capstone is your final client-facing course designed as an opportunity for you to exercise everything you have learned by creating significant value for your client.

I encourage you to visit our website, explore the full MBAi curriculum in more detail and request more information to continue the dialogue.

To those interested in a career at the forefront of business and technology: we can’t wait to get to know you.