The D'Amore-McKim School of Business (DMSB) recently hosted the “Beyond Boundaries: Business Lessons in Leadership Technology” event. Many Northeastern faculty, staff, esteemed alumni, and guests attended to explore how AI and technology can be useful tools with the help of human creativity and ingenuity.

Deputy Dean Rajesh Aggarwal

“The business landscape is changing at an unprecedented pace, and DMSB is leading the charge in preparing the next generation of responsible business leaders. Our renewed mission is to equip students with the agility, ethics, and vision to harness the power of AI and other emerging technologies,” said Deputy Dean Rajesh Aggarwal as part of his introduction. “Today marks the beginning of a transformative journey, exploring the critical themes of technology and leadership.”

Exploring AI and leadership

Nada Sanders
Distinguished Professor Nada Sanders

Nada Sanders, renowned for her groundbreaking work “Humachine,” which describes the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines in the workplace, shared her perspective on why our mission is now so important to our students and global business. She's been researching how companies use AI for years, trying to identify what makes it all work.

“The launch of generative AI marked a Promethean moment. Everything is different, from how we socialize and play to how we work. Even the very nature of work has changed,” said Sanders.

Her extensive research highlights a critical realization: people are the key to making AI work effectively. The humachine represents the enterprise of the future, where human creativity and compassion blend seamlessly with machine efficiency and big data processing. She says the key ingredient is leadership.

A New Vision for Business Leadership

Dunton Family Dean David De Cremer then elaborated on DMSB's evolved mission and the importance of business leadership taking charge of their company's digital transformation. At the core is the concept of humanics: integrating data literacy, technology literacy, and human behavior literacy, which is at the core of a Northeastern education.

David De Cremer
Dean David De Cremer

“Adopting AI is not just a technological challenge; it's a leadership challenge. Business leaders must align AI comprehension with organizational purpose to create value,” said De Cremer.

To put this into a business context, we must cross the border where technology and human skills meet. His new book covers this topic: “The AI Savvy Leader: 9 Ways to Take Back Control and Make AI Work.”

He emphasizes that AI is a tool to enhance human intelligence. Effective leadership involves understanding AI, integrating it with the organizational purpose, and fostering a culture of collaboration and trust.

“The best way we can help our students prepare for this future is to (show them) how to use AI to leverage and enhance our human workforce – this is true for our teaching and research.”

The event also featured a fireside chat between De Cremer and distinguished guest Garry Kasparov, one of history's greatest chess players and the first human to face the professional impact of AI against IBM's Deep Blue. His unique perspective on human-machine interaction provided invaluable insights into the future of work. It concluded with an engaging panel discussion featuring esteemed faculty, alumni, and corporate partners who explored the critical issues surrounding AI and business leadership, followed by a networking reception.