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This content was originally published in Crain's Chicago Business; written by Professor Eric Anderson.

"For today's business, technology means data, and for business leaders in both traditional and new industries, it means knowing how to interpret and use data," says Nancy Qian, James J. O'Connor Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.

Whether bringing to market the latest self-driving-car technology or Cloud-based offerings, or leading a large Google business unit or 15-person startup, my colleague offers a concise take on the challenge leaders of technology businesses face today.  Understanding how technology and analytics can solve problems, drive innovation, and advance business objectives is now an imperative for business leaders across sectors.

That's the kind of knowledge and capability students gain at Kellogg. Kellogg Leaders combine strong analytical skills with empathy and the ability to connect with customers as well as employees to be a high-impact leader of today and tomorrow.

"Kellogg infuses traditional management education with high-powered data analytics to create seamless training for business leaders in a high-tech economy," Qian says. At Kellogg, students acquire deep acumen across business, technology, and analytics, along with the ability to use their wide-ranging expertise to lead teams and organizations to create business and social value in the near and longer term.

Bringing together technology and traditional MBA rigor is a priority for Kellogg, and an example is the fast-growing MBAi degree program, which I have the honor of spear-heading, as well as new curriculum across the business school and other dynamic resources in the broader Northwestern campus.


Kellogg's MBAi program, launched in 2020, exemplifies the school's domain-spanning learning opportunities.

A joint degree between Kellogg and Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, the MBAi—which stands for "MBA, Artificial Intelligence"—features a new catalog of coursework designed for those operating at the cutting edge of business and AI-driven technology. MBAi students generally have academic and/or professional backgrounds in STEM, such as product management, data science, or software engineering.

Over the accelerated, five-quarter program, faculty from both schools guide students through a blended curriculum including business strategy and analytic technologies and covering traditional core courses along with courses such as Applied AI and Machine Learning and Technical Product Management.

MBAi graduates emerge from the program equipped to drive strategic innovation with deep understanding of the technologies powering it. This is a critical capability as, despite the availability of promising AI-driven technologies, most firms still struggle to use these resources to deliver and scale successful business outcomes.

The MBAi prepares students for careers not only in existing technical roles, but in leadership positions in consulting, operations and strategy, as well as in the emerging positions of the future in which you lead with systems and technologies that right now, may not even exist.
It's important to note that technology is already well-represented at Kellogg beyond the MBAi, such as through the popular Data Analytics and Technology Management pathways. But as faculty, we are working hard to weave AI and analytics even more thoroughly into the curriculum.

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