Elon Musk has long considered an MBA [mestrado em administração de empresas] irrelevant or harmful, but now a company backed by the extroverted tech entrepreneur is threatening to directly undermine the value of the top business degree: the ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot.
Christian Terwiesch, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the oldest and most prestigious business schools in the United States, decided to put growing concerns about the power of ChatGPT to the test and found, to his surprise, that it outperformed some students from his course in operations management, a core subject of the MBA.
In his paper “Would GPT3 Chat Get an MBA from Wharton?”, published this week, he concluded, “GPT3 Chat would have scored a B to B- on the exam. This has important implications for education in business schools,” citing the need to review examination policies, curriculum design, and teaching.
The chatbot, which has been temporarily overwhelmed by the surge in queries in recent weeks, has sparked concern from many academics, including those at business schools, that students would use it to cheat on their essays and exams.
“I’m one of the alarmists,” said Professor Jerry Davis of the Ross School of Management at the University of Michigan, who called a faculty meeting on Monday to discuss its implications. “Our entire enterprise in education is being challenged for this, and it’s only going to get more challenging. It’s time to rethink from the top down.”
Francisco Veloso, Dean of the School of Management at Imperial College London, said: “We are having serious discussions and a working group is looking at the implications of ChatGPT and similar tools that we know our resourceful and creative students are using, and we will be formulating policies around that soon”.
While emphasizing that the increased use of AI technology is inevitable and even widely desirable, he called for clear classroom disclosure policies about whether students had used ChatGPT and provided for mitigation measures, including “returning to handwritten work, as well as more oral and classroom discussions – or at least synchronized”.
Microsoft, the software giant co-founded by Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard University without even finishing his degree, is considering a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, in addition to the $1 billion invested in 2019.
Many predict that technology will radically disrupt a wider range of activities beyond education, including internet research and the world of work.
Musk himself, founder of Tesla and one of the original funders of OpenAI, has argued that MBA graduates lack sufficient critical thinking skills and are too focused on board meetings and financial performance, to the detriment of getting close to the product and walking around the world. factory floor.
Ironically, Terwiesch concluded that while ChatGPT was extremely efficient and analytical in writing answers to the questions he asked about operations management and process analysis, his numerical skills were much more limited. He didn’t test it against the full MBA curriculum, which includes marketing, finance, accounting, and other disciplines.
“I was blown away by the beauty of the text – the conciseness, the choice of words, the structure. It was absolutely brilliant,” he told the Financial Times. “But the math sucks. The language and intuition are right, but even relatively simple high school math came out really wrong.”
He emphasized, however, that the program will be able to quickly improve its responses when given tips, and more broadly, technology offers considerable scope in the future, including in writing and grading tests, freeing up teachers to provide more valuable support to students. .
He also suggested a ChatGPT application that could threaten the many business school alumni who make careers as consultants producing reports and recommendations.
Current students could sharpen their judgment against the chatbot’s strong performance by “playing the role of that smart advisor (who always has an elegant answer but is often wrong),” Terwiesch’s report said.
Kara McWilliams, head of ETS Product Innovation Labs, which applies AI to learning and assessment and has developed tools to identify AI-generated responses, said: “We really need to embrace advanced technologies in education. a great fear of using it? I am of the opinion that AI will not replace people, but people using AI will replace people”.
She argued that ChatGPT could help faculty with lesson planning, creating syllabi, and developing lecture notes. “They’ll be able to take a lot of higher education secondary tasks away from them so they can focus on learning. There’s a real opportunity for improved personalization.”
Andrew Karolyi, dean of the SC Johnson School of Business at Cornell University, said that while many academics have been caught off guard by ChatGPT and that codes of conduct and statements of academic integrity need to be updated, “my hope is that faculty actively bring up the topic in their classes to engage students in seeing AI as a valuable learning tool.”
“One thing we all know for sure is that ChatGPT is not going away,” he said. “At the very least, these AI techniques will get better and better. Faculty and university administrators need to invest in educating themselves.”
ChatGPT responded to the FT that killing MBA was “unlikely”.
“While AI and machine learning can automate certain tasks and make them more efficient, they still lack the ability to fully replicate the complex decision-making and critical thinking techniques developed through MBA programs,” he said. “Additionally, MBA programs provide networking opportunities and access to industry professionals that cannot be replicated by technology.”
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