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HomeData Analytics and VisualizationAnnouncement: Wharton AI & Analytics for Business

Announcement: Wharton AI & Analytics for Business

Wharton AI & Analytics for Business

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Wharton AI & Analytics for Business

January, 2023

With the combination of two Wharton research entities, AI for Business (AIB) and Wharton Customer Analytics (WCA), the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is proud to announce the newly expanded Wharton AI and Analytics for Business (AIAB) program.

The genesis for the expanded AI program took shape in response to the fast-moving changes in the tech world and the changing needs of businesses as they move toward more data-driven decisions and algorithmic decision-making. AIAB will help students and enterprise leaders prepare for the demands of society and business as they adapt and apply artificial intelligence solutions to today’s business challenges.

As more and more companies move toward data-driven decisions, flexibility and reach are important components of the newly expanded center, AIAB which is co-led by three esteemed faculty members and leaders in the field – Kartik Hosanagar, Prasanna (Sonny) Tambe, and Raghu Iyengar – and executive director, Mary Purk.

“We now have a center that combines the latest thinking and business applications of both AI and analytics by providing research and practicum opportunities for students, business leaders, and faculty. Our three faculty members bring unique human-AI collaboration perspectives to the diverse topics of AI ethics and management, machine learning (ML), and business intelligence which will allow us to make a huge impact in the marketplace,” Purk said.

The academic focus of the center is to understand the human-AI collaboration component within the four research pillars:

Artificial Intelligence for Ethics and Governance
Artificial Intelligence for Management
Artificial Intelligence for Business Applications
Artificial Intelligence for Entrepreneurship

The newly expanded AIAB program presents a more holistic unit by combining AI courses and academic research of AI for Business and the global datasets available for academic research plus the hands-on corporate analytics student experience programming of Wharton Customer Analytics into one entity.  One of the main goals of AIAB is to prepare students entering the workplace with the AI and analytics tools they need to succeed and to connect companies with solutions they need for today’s AI and analytic challenges.

“We are responding to the marketplace with the expansion of WCA and AIB,” Purk said. “This will provide tomorrow’s business leaders with the understanding of where and how to apply AI and analytics to transform and innovate business enterprises.”

AIAB will continue to work with and revolve around rich datasets, instruct how to integrate AI and machine learning into decision-making, promote AI and data literacy for managers, and research human and AI collaboration. The overall mission is to expand the applications for AI and analytics, specifically in business and society, Purk said.

“I think working with real-world datasets and business questions for students and company leaders will be hugely beneficial,” said Gina Bahremand, SVP of Strategic Data Insights & Analytics at Fox Entertainment. “Education about AI and how it could be applied is the work we’ve already been doing with Wharton. I am excited to learn where and how AI and analytics are applied across different industries, beyond entertainment.”

Advantages for both academic and industry researchers include access to robust, real-world datasets, academic research opportunities, and funding.   Industry mentorship is a big draw for Penn/Wharton students with AIAB’s access to corporate leaders and business challenges, such as the biannual Analytics Accelerator. A sample AIAB corporate partner list includes Fox Entertainment, Ikea, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nielsen, Petco, and Zillow. Looking forward, AIAB-sponsored events include the 2023 Women in Data Science @Penn Conference hosted on campus on February 3.

As AI moves beyond being the new shiny object in the room, the marketplace demands more of it. “The AI investments may have previously seemed very narrowly focused, but now they are really mainstream,” said Julie Roehm, former CMO of Party City and WCA industry advisory council member. “If you’re not thinking about AI and analytics, you’re behind.”

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