Artificial Intelligence comes to the Smith School of Business

School launches new 12-month program, the first of its kind in North America

The reveal of the Smith School of Business in October 2015.
Credit: 
Journal file photo

On Feb. 28, the Queen’s Smith School of Business launched a new graduate program that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) into business studies — making it the first of its kind in North America.

According to the program’s website, the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence (MMAI) is “[d]esigned specifically for studying the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the context of modern business decision-making.” The school hopes to enroll 40 students in the inaugural class; the first course will run in September 2018.

The program is open to individuals with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, business, computer science, economics, engineering or science. It further requires applicants to obtain a Graduate Management Admission Test score of at least 650, as well as have at least two years of relevant work experience under their belt.  

“Our hope with the introduction of the MMAI program is that it positions our students at the forefront of the growing AI job market,” Academic Director for the MMAI program Stephen Thomas told The Journal over email. “In turn, [it] helps to fill the talent gap and increase organizations’ chances for success in today’s rapidly changing business world.”

The MMAI will incorporate three modules that span the Smith School’s Kingston and Toronto campuses. Students will begin their introduction week at Goodes, followed by the first module in Toronto named “Machine Learning and AI Technology Analytical Decision Making.”

Module two will delve into “Natural Language Processing,” which concerns project management, ethics, as well as policy and innovation. It will also incorporate a weeklong residency at the Smith campus in Toronto. The third and final module will discuss AI’s role within finance and marketing. 

With evening classes and only two residence-based activities, the program is designed to allow students to attend classes while pursuing their careers outside of school.

For Thomas, the creation of the program was necessary because it reflected a demand within the job market to equip prospective employees with the capacity to understand, utilize and manage AI. 

The program was first suggested in a December meeting of the Master of Management Analytics advisory board. 

“Further investigation revealed a growing need for business managers that can understand AI and effectively apply its strategies to generate real business outcomes, so we got to work on creating a program to meet that market demand,” Thomas told The Journal. 

Following completion of the program, students will be well-versed in the technical principles and social implications of AI, along with its relevant effectiveness in the business world and the training experience of high-performance teams. 

“Companies and organizations representing industries from finance to agriculture, and everywhere in between, are exploring potential benefits of AI on their business,” Thomas said.

“This wide-spread interest, combined with AI’s broad applications at all levels within an organization — IT, marketing, human resources, etc. — has created a huge and growing shortage of qualified people who can not only understand AI, but also apply it in context.” 

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