Just last year, Politecnico di Milano, in partnership with Microsoft, launched FLEXA and ushered in a new wave of digital learning.
The artificial intelligence (AI) platform hosts a large repository of content, including Politecnico di Milano courses, content from external vendors, and other online providers. It also offers skills assessments, personalized learning pathways, professional networking, and exposure to corporate recruiters.
FLEXA represents the start of a learning revolution powered by technology, and EMBA alumnus Paolo Mazzo for one welcomed FLEXA with open arms.
“We are living in an era of deep complexity and unprecedented speed,” said Mazza. “Effective continuous learning is not easy. There are too many topics, an overwhelming amount of information, and no time for selecting and processing. FLEXA is the perfect platform – a tailored stream of high-quality contents, based on my needs and timing. It is simply the best way to keep up with the pace of change, while being in touch with an amazing community of peers and experts on many subjects.”
FLEXA fits with the school’s emphasis on customizing learning, offering exactly the knowledge students need to meet their career and professional goals.
“FLEXA is a very important element in the evolution of our digitalization strategy,” says Andrea Sianesi, dean, MIP Politecnico di Milano.
“This new project combines excellence in management education with digital innovation and, in accordance with the guidelines pursued by Politecnico di Milano, represents a further step forward in the achievement of our mission which is ‘to impact on society by creating and sharing knowledge.’ ”
A 2019 joint research initiative highlights FLEXA as one example of the impact of AI on business schools and executive education. Sponsored by EMBAC, AASCB International, and UNICON, the study looked at how schools throughout the world are responding to the opportunities and challenges that AI brings.
The qualitative study involved interviews with 29 deans, faculty, and other academic leaders throughout the world, six corporate leaders from regional and global companies in different industries, and representatives from eight AI-facilitated business education platform providers and vendors. The Academic Leadership Group conducted the study for the three organizations.
AI is definitely on the mind of business schools, the study concluded.
“Business schools are thinking deeply about AI, its effect on the business of business, and the challenge it posed to their existing curricula,” the study’s authors concluded, and many of those in the study already were looking to rework and enhance their curriculum. Other considerations include analyzing new skills that students will need, offering hands-on experiences with AI, adding online modules and program, increasing interdisciplinary work, and involving faculty from outside of academia.
As AI begins to emerge as a greater force in business, it also offers perhaps unexpected advantages to business schools and EMBA Programs. One involves a focus on the human side of business.
“A clear opportunity for business schools in an AI-enabled world is to teach the uniquely human skills that in-person MBA and executive education programs excel at providing,” the authors said, specifically mentioning courses in ethics, data protection and security, distributed leadership, innovation management, and AI governance.
Students also may find business schools and MBA and EMBA Programs one of the best sources of emerging knowledge and of skill development for the future. “Business schools are well-situated to provide research-based knowledge to MBA candidates and executives building new capabilities.”