Generative AI in business schools: Embrace or avoid?
ChatGPT is an application of the latest version of GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3), a state-of-the-art large language processing model. Unlike traditional chatbots, the GPT-3 uses deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to user prompts. Millions of users tested its ability and limitations. Some found that it can write poetry, answer questions on a wide range of topics, provide detailed explanations, suggest ways to solve problems, respond to optimisation queries and write code (Naidu, 2022). Others learned that it could achieve a B grade on a Warton School MBA exam (Terwiesch, 2023). Many academics frenzied to adapt exams and assessments while business schools avidly started investigating the use AI and unreliable generated content detection tools.
Business schools around the world are constantly looking for new ways to provide high-quality education and develop industry-relevant skills in their graduates. While the university is responsible for designing and delivering a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for the workforce, as well as work placement opportunities, career guidance and support services, developing employable industry-ready ready graduates is a joint responsibility that heavily depends on faculty. As business educators, we design and deliver curricula and assessments aligned with the learning outcomes of the program and industry needs.
While traditional assessments like multiple-choice exams and essays still hold some promise, many business educators agree that they may not accurately reflect students' abilities to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. Embracing generative AI can facilitate us in creating authentic assessments that emphasize meaningful tasks, problems, or projects, which require students to apply knowledge, skills, and understanding in contexts that resemble the demands of the real world. The technology can also be used to simulate real-life tasks and expose students to latest industry practices. Numerous news reports and blog posts show just how widely generative AI is being used for tasks like writing copy, analysing data, summarizing information, and deriving key insights for reports. While some jobs will be replaced by machines, the industry-ready graduates will be those with skills and mindset to operate effectively alongside AI.
Business schools could use ChatGPT as a tool to enhance pedagogy and transform the learning experience. Generative AI could be used to create simulations that mimic real-world business interactions, such as negotiations and sales pitches. Allowing students to use AI as a study buddy and sparring partner provides a safe environment for them to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills and valuable experience that they can use when they enter the workforce. The conversational nature of ChatGPT responses means students can get immediate personalised feedback which many business schools are insufficiently resourced and lack the necessary digital infrastructure to match.
Embracing AI can help bridge the gap between academia and industry and ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace. Therefore, the priority of business schools should be to identify module and programme leaders who embrace generative AI and support them to use it to its full advantage.
There is no denying that the use of generative AI in business education brings with it concerns around academic integrity. The use of generative AI raises questions about the authenticity of student work, as the technology can be used to generate content that resembles human-generated content. Due to the ease with which AI-generated work can be copied or manipulated, there is a risk that students may use this technology to cheat on assessments. This could compromise the integrity of the assessment process and undermine the value of the degree. Clearly, however, the solution, is not as simple as drawing up guidelines and policies to ban the use of generative AI where it poses a threat to academic integrity. Not least because of the impracticalities we face in policing it.
Rather, we might think about how we might identify faculty who want to mitigate against its use and support them in re-imagining the curriculum and assessment to foster truly scaffolded learning, iterative development, and higher levels of cognitive thinking. Simultaneously, we must educate students on the ethical use of AI, while honestly and openly acknowledging the role and impact these technologies will have on their careers. This way, business schools ensure that the technology is used in a transparent and responsible manner, and that there is sufficient oversight to prevent misuse.
Whether we embrace or avoid AI, the reality is the skills we develop and assess in our students must change. To varying degrees, access to generative AI might move from assessing content retention to the multifaceted dimensions of knowledge, practical and interpersonal skills required of the next generation of business leaders. While a student could use ChatGPT to draft creative copy, a Marketing professional would also need self-awareness, empathy, understanding of the target audience and communication skills to defend their choice. Tools like ChatGPT push us to consider how exactly we educate and prepare the next generation of business leaders.
Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize business pedagogy and assessment, enhancing the learning experience and developing industry-ready graduates. However, the technology also presents challenges for academic integrity, which need to be addressed to ensure that the value of the degree is not compromised. By establishing clear guidelines and policies and educating students on the responsible use of AI, business schools can leverage this technology to enhance the learning experience and develop the next generation of business leaders.
Dr Chahna Gonsalves CMBE, SFHEA, AFSEDA, is Lecturer in Marketing (Education), at King’s Business School, King's College London.
Terwiesch, C. (2023). Would Chat GPT3 Get a Wharton MBA? A Prediction Based on Its Performance in the Operations Management Course. Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from: https://mackinstitute.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Christian-Terwiesch-Chat-GTP-1.24.pdf
Naidu, K. 2022. Chatgpt is a new ai chatbot that can find errors in your code and write you a story. Available at: https://crazyengineer.in/chatgpt-is-a-new-ai-chatbot/
Want to continue the conversation on artificial intelligence? Then join us at LTSE 2023!
Roundtable discussions include:
- In a world of 21st century employability skills and AI – are authentic assessments the answer?
- Authentic Assessment, AI and the Elephant in the Room
- The Impact of AI writers on Higher Education Assessments
- ChatGPT? Implications of Artificial General Intelligence for Higher Education and how this technology can be used to enhance student outcomes.