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The Demise of the Business School MBA Program

It wasn’t too long ago that having a Masters of Business Administration was a surefire way to success. Earning the degree almost guaranteed employment in an investment bank or big corporation, and if you already worked in such a place, an MBA was your ticket to the top. According to a 2015 survey by Global Management Admission Council, MBA recipients strongly felt their education improved their competitive advantage in the market. But times have changed. Now, some of the most prominent business school MBA programs in the U.S. have started closing down. Others have gradually migrated their classes to the strictly digital realm. Clearly, the bubble has burst.

Welcome to the demise of the business school MBA program.

Business School MBA Programs Pull Their Curtains Down

The Gies College of Business University of Illinois has recently announced that it is closing down its full-time, on-campus program. Gies believes it is the best business decision for the school after it started experiencing a downturn in the applicants for both its full-time and part-time programs. Applications slid from 386 in 2016 to 290 this year. Between 2016 and 2019, only 50 full-time students enrolled in the program.

business school mba programs, jeffrey brown quoted
Gies College of Business made the difficult decision to cut their losses.

Gies, however, is not the only one. Other business school MBA programs–at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University, Simmons College and others–have also closed their doors.

The list of business school MBA programs that are closing down continues to get longer. University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business saw it last full-time MBA students graduate in May this year.

The trend has also reached the U.K. with Henley Business School initially placing its MBA program under review. The school then canceled its full-time program in March.

Analysts Shed Light on Why Business Schools are Shutting Down their MBA Programs

Business school MBA programs are among the oldest in the history of education, which had their beginnings at Harvard in 1916. Their decline in the last few years significantly reshapes the educational landscape. No other business program can benefit students the way an MBA can. After all, it isn’t so much what you learn in a full-time program, but the networking opportunities that open for you in those two years that really matter.

There are several reasons why business school MBA programs are dying. Their high cost is one of them. Recent data have revealed that millennials are shifting to master’s degree in entrepreneurship and data analytics. These shorter and cheaper alternatives that give quicker returns appeal to the younger generation who are mindful of their college debt and are reluctant to get into more financial troubles.

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Why business schools are shutting down their MBA programs is also the effect of the significant change in the hiring demands of employers. According to Henley, its decision to halt its MBA degree was based on the preference of companies to hire pre-MBA applicants. The same is happening for U.S companies where they find it cost-effective to hire candidates without MBA as MBA graduates demand very high salaries.

Business School MBA Programs Going Online

While we are witnessing the eventual demise of full-time MBA programs, there is an assurance that business school MBA programs will not disappear altogether. Business schools are now shifting to online MBA programs. They are not only attuned to the shift in global technology, students also find it to be more practical. Some have expressed their concern that it may not offer the face-to-face networking in a full-time MBA program, but iMBA students are quick to debunk this.

 A Forbes report says that there are currently 32,000 online MBA students among the biggest programs in the U.S. Gies has also reported that its iMBA has experienced tremendous growth since its launching in 2015. While a full-time MBA costs more than $58,000 in tuition and fees, an online MBA costs only $22,000. It is clearly a more viable choice for students aiming to complete an MBA degree.

business schools mba programs, tim westerbeck qouted
The choice is clear.

 These shifts in educational platforms are happening across different fields. Bold Business will continue to monitor changes in the field of education. We recently reported on economics and education reform that require schools to have computer science curricula. These changes are showing us that the technological shift is changing not only global businesses but education as well.

Facial Recognition Technology and Why It Should Not Be Taken at Face Value

Airports, building security, health monitoring, and marketing and retail use facial recognition technology. Law enforcement agencies are also beginning to incorporate the technology in looking for investigative leads. Yet, despite its benefits and potentials, a host of problems with it are surfacing. For instance, concerns abound around data privacy, data protection, racial profiling, and human rights abuses. Recently, lawmakers have been responding to calls to issue a moratorium on the use of the technology. And they should be, because with the current level of technology, facial recognition technology is more of a problem than it’s worth.

a cartoon of facial recognition technology having trouble in recognizing some races
A technology born in the 60’s, the facial recognition technology is still very far from being a perfect technology.

Popular culture often depicts facial recognition technology as a sinister scheme to track and monitor the population. In the Ridley Scott classic “Blade Runner”, a retina scan machine is used to detect rogue Replicants. But perhaps with the developments in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and facial recognition technology, the movie “Minority Report” stands as a more apt portrayal of the world we are currently living in (with holographic ads keyed toward consumer data stored in eyes!). Certainly, facial recognition technology will change the way we live in the coming years. Thus, strengthens the need to understand and create mechanisms to regulate powerful surveillance and identification technology.

Applications of Facial Recognition Technology

Developed in the 1960s, the first face recognition algorithm used semi-automated technology.  Facial ratios and calculated distances based on eyes, nose, mouth, and ears were used as reference points. For decades, military and law enforcement used facial recognition technology as a tool. However, with the emergence of new software, data capture systems, and a growing database of photos, it has found its way in a variety of applications.

Currently, usage of the technology includes unlocking phones and accessing e-wallets for digital payments. There is also facial recognition technology to enhance tenants’ security in buildings. The hospitality industry has also joined the foray. Some hotels have begun using facial recognition technology to greet guests and facilitate check-in. In health care, facial recognition technology has been used to monitor high-risk and ICU patients.

facial technology recognition, claire garvie quoted
Ironically, a facial recognition technology has a problem recognizing some races.

Gaps in Facial Recognition Technology

While it is true that the technology has been beneficial across industries, there are areas in the facial recognition technology that can be improved. As the application of the technology increases, gaps, and problems in the facial recognition technology need to be tackled immediately. Otherwise, the potential for misuse is high.

  • The reliability of the technology is still under scrutiny. Currently, the technology has challenges identifying individuals of color. This flaw raises the concern around racial bias and neutrality.
  • When asked for a match, systems return with several facial matches. Combining the inconsistent algorithm of facial recognition technology with human intervention, there is an increase in the risk of bias and subjective interpretation.
  • Problems in facial recognition technology include the accuracy and quality of the database. There is no minimum photo quality. This means altered and edited photos can be added in the database, subsequently distorting the matches and results.
  • The pace of technology assimilation give legislators and regulating bodies a hard time catching up. Without laws and regulations within the space keeping the actors in check, opportunities for misapplication of the technology abound.
problems with facial recognition technology, jim jordan quoted
Problems with facial recognition technology include not having the proper authority to use it.

False Positives and False Negatives: A Drill Down on Problems with Facial Recognition Technology

The last ten to fifteen years witnessed remarkable developments in facial recognition technology. Approaches and algorithms such as Principal Components Analysis (PCA), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), and Elastic Bunch Graph Matching (EBGM) have been developed. The growing interest towards the commercial application of the facial recognition technology has paved for innovations around image capture, scanning, indexing, and data retrieval. Despite this progress, the reliability and accuracy of the technology are still uncertain.

False positives – the incorrect flagging of subjects – have been occurring. The wrongful arrest of eighteen-year-old Ousmane Bah from New York led him to launching a legal battle against Apple. He was flagged for robbery and theft. On the other hand, false negative happens when the system fails to find a match for a subject despite existing records in the database. Experts in the field are aware that the system has challenges recognizing women of color.

Efforts to address these problems are underway. However, these gaps can have a damaging and irreversible impact on peoples’ lives. Until the problems with facial recognition technology have been tackled, and regulations have been set, facial recognition technology in any shape or structure should be approached with caution.

Gaps in Facial Recognition Technology

a cartoon of facial recognition technology having trouble in recognizing some races
A technology born in the 60’s, the facial recognition technology is still very far from being a perfect technology.

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