Professor Amy Igou prepares students for the future of business with emerging technologies
Amy Igou remembers the first time she worked on a personal computer. She was in high school, and back then, computers looked like packing boxes, let alone fit into your pocket like they do today. She took a computer programming course and was hooked. Soon enough, she helped her parents keep track of farm records on their own computer.
Igou has channeled that passion into teaching students as an assistant professor of accounting at the UNI College of Business. She teaches about emerging technologies to both undergraduate and graduate students, helping them become well-prepared to enter the workforce and use those technologies to their advantage.
Her recently published book, titled “Emerging Technologies for Business Professionals,” which covers cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain and more, attests to her deep knowledge and passion for explaining complex topics.
“I actually love students and technology, and those go hand-in-hand in my current job,” Igou said. “It’s so fun for me to learn and try to figure out stuff. It’s really been a part of my life since technology was readily available in the home.”
As a part of her teaching, Igou said she provides students with the tools they need to adapt and keep up with changing technology. Because technology is changing so rapidly – for instance, artificial intelligence and ChatGPT and how much that has changed business in the past several months – it can be hard to pick a specific tool to teach. So Igou looks more at the application of these technologies. For example, being able to assess a problem, think through the right technology for that situation, then learning how to interpret the results or outcome.
“Students are going to need to know how to learn on the fly and adapt on the job,” Igou said. “Let’s make sure they can keep up, but also be aware of some of the cautions that they need to know about. Things around ethics, making sure information is accurate or even over-relying on technology instead of trusting some human intuition.”
Igou’s former students laud her teaching and applications in the real world. She occasionally hears from students about times they taught their peers or supervisors how to use certain technologies, ranging from advanced Excel techniques to artificial intelligence. For Igou, that makes the combination of her love for technology and teaching even more rewarding.
“A quote I heard in the past is that artificial intelligence won’t replace accountants – accountants who use AI will replace those who don’t,” Igou said. “It’s the same for analytics and any other technology. So if students know a little bit going into their careers, they are at least equal to their peers, if not above. The more they know about it, the more they can learn and pick up new technologies on their own without fear. That’s a valuable skill.”