MBA Aspirants Can Rely on AI to Find the Right School

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Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is technology that enables a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans. As the technology becomes more advanced, it is becoming a bigger part of our lives, reshaping a range of activities, from the way we shop to how we select MBA programmes.

In order to understand how technology helps applicants in the school selection process, it may be useful to go back several decades to trace the emergence of AI.

Can machines think?

The term “artificial intelligence” was first used in 1956 by John McCarthy, but the concept of smart machines existed well before that. In fact, the concept is probably as old as the human imagination. In 1950, at the dawn of computing, pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing was among those trying to figure out ways to make machines “think”. Turing believed that it was possible for machines to use available information and reason in order to solve problems, just as humans do. He faced many obstacles, including the prohibitive price of computers at that time and their still very limited capabilities.

MBA Aspirants Can Rely on AI to Find the Right SchoolFollowing some big breakthroughs in the 1950s and 60s, people realised that creating a machine possessing human-level intelligence will be more difficult than originally thought. This period is known as the AI winter and was characterised by waning interest in AI. By the 1990s, the approach in the AI field changed from logic-based to statistical. Computers were no longer asked to follow rules but to solve problems using large pools of data.

AI is everywhere

Fast forward to today, AI underpins most of the services we use thanks to the deep troves of data that tech companies have been able to build since the turn of the millennium. Phones, video games, ecommerce – AI is everywhere and we use it every day without even realising. It is the reason why Netflix can suggest movies that correspond to your interest or Amazon customises its web page in accordance with your browsing history on the website. AI has even penetrated Wall Street, with computer programmes placing trades at a speed and frequency that is impossible for human traders.

AI systems now routinely beat humans at various tasks. Google’s artificial-intelligence unit DeepMind in 2017 created a chess programme capable of studying the game without human intervention. When grand master Garry Kasparov saw it play, he described it as shaking the game “to its roots”. In 2020, MIT researchers instructed AI to create a novel antibiotic, halicin, a powerful new drug that can kill many species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The programme completed the task by screening more than a hundred million chemical compounds in a matter of days.

And yet, for all the progress, AI has fallen short of many of the promises made by some of its most vocal supporters. IBM’s Watson unit, which was designed to remedy inefficiencies in healthcare, is a disappointment in part because physicians are hesitant to adopt AI. Self-driving vehicles, another field where AI holds big promise, seem to be a long way away. In 2015, Elon Musk said self-driving cars would be here within two or three years. Seven years after this prediction, experts aren’t sure when, if ever, self-driving cars will be available. Today’s prototypes are far from perfect and are struggling with basic tasks like recognising a stop sign when half of it is covered by a tree branch.

AI-powered MBA selection

While AI is still of little use to those eagerly awaiting self-driving vehicles, MBA candidates can rejoice because programme selection services like Unimy are making their lives much easier.

Let’s suppose that you are looking for an MBA programme, but you still don’t know which one to choose or where. With Unimy’s Match tool, which is based on an AI-enabled technology, you can get your personalised list of top 10 MBA programmes in minutes. The keyword here is “personalised”, because the search does not produce the same list for everyone. The tool works with all the information you provided beforehand, breaks it down to more than 400 features and pinpoints the programmes that best correspond to your criteria. Similar to DeepMind’s chess programme, the Unimy Match tool uses machine learning technology. But unlike DeepMind, which does not need human help to learn, the Match tool learns from people as they use it, to improve and evolve constantly.

Just imagine the hassle of checking each and every MBA programme one by one and comparing all the different features. Thanks to Unimy, this is now history.

Assessing business school culture

Brace yourself, because things are about to go more sci-fi. Would you believe it if someone told you that Unimy can tell you which school is best for you in terms of shared values and world view? You had better believe it, because it’s true.

Culture is becoming an important factor in the school selection process. The campus environment can make or break your MBA experience. A culture in which you feel good will allow you to thrive. Conversely, a poor fit can lead to stress and sub-par results.

Unimy’s Cultural Fit Map offers an easy and precise way of mapping business school culture. It describes the life inside a school’s community in terms of its beliefs and behaviours along six basic dimensions. The Map uses a rigorous method of comparing school cultures based on original quantitative data and a framework of analysis from organisational studies. This method allows candidates to choose a school where they will have a fulfilling experience.

Unimy has compiled data on more than 850 top-ranked and accredited business schools around the world. You can compare them on the basis of six metrics:

  • Structured versus flexible organisation
  • Liberal versus classical style
  • Explicit versus intuitive communication
  • Personal versus collective accomplishment
  • Long-term versus ad-hoc orientation
  • Formal versus informal relationships

These dimensions help you get answers to some fundamental questions when looking for the right school. Do you prefer that people at your business school understand each other intuitively, or rather, that expectations are laid out in written rules and handbooks? Would you rather have a formal or a friendly relationship with the faculty? You can consider which of these measures matter to you and factor them into your decision-making process. Conveniently, Unimy allows you to take a personality test and see which schools most closely correspond to your preferences. This information will tell you whether you are heading for a campus where you would fit in, or rather, where you will need to adapt to an entirely new environment.

Technology, and AI in particular, are affecting more aspects of our lives, including business school selection. For prospective MBA students who can narrow their search and make it more precise, that’s good news.

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