It’s Official: The MBA Degree Is In Crisis

Graduating MBA students this year have had no trouble landing very good jobs. In most cases, starting pay has hit record levels and placement rates for schools are at or near records as well.

Yet, for the second consecutive year, even the highest ranked business schools in the U.S. are beginning to report significant declines in MBA applications and the worse is yet to come, with many MBA programs experiencing double-digit declines. Last year, the top ten business schools combined saw a drop of about 3,400 MBA applicants, a 5.9% falloff to 53,907 candidates versus 57,311 a year earlier (see Acceptance Rates At The Top 50 Business Schools). The University of Michigan Ross School of Business experienced the worst drop, an 8.5% decline from 3,485 to 3,188 apps. Harvard fell 4.5%, UC-Berkeley Haas 7.5%, Wharton 6.7%, Stanford 4.6%, and Booth 8.2%.

“For the second consecutive year, the top ten schools all saw significant declines in applications,” says William Boulding, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “I have been hearing that some schools in the top ten are in double-digit territory so I think it is going to be worse than last year when all is said and done.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School just announced that applicants for its fall 2019 intake numbered 5,905, down 5.4% from 2018 and 11.8% from the school’s all-time high of 6,692 in 2017. It was the first time in at least eight years that apps dipped below 6,000 at Wharton, and it corresponded with the lowest international student intake — 30% — in at least that span.

NYU’s Stern School of Business applications for its latest incoming class declined by more than 5% to 3,518 from 3,718 the prior year (see Average GMATs Up Five Points At Stern). Along with the previous year’s 3.7% drop in apps, the fall pushed the school’s acceptance rate to 26%, a three percentage point increase from 23% a year earlier. It also had an impact on the school’s entering class size of 359, down slightly from the 370 enrolled the previous year.

“The MBA market is in dire straits right now,” concedes Andrew Ainslie, dean of Rochester University’s Simon School of Business. “The joke among deans is that ‘flat is the new up.’ If we can just hold our numbers, that is an incredible achievement.” Ainslie says that when he meets with fellow deans, “half of our discussion is, ‘What are you doing about your MBA program?'”

Ainslie recently participated in an accreditation review at a leading business school and was shocked to find that its full-time MBA program now gets only three applicants for every enrolled student. “Most of us feel we need to make three offers to get one student” says Ainslie. “So once you get there that means you are making offers to just about everyone. And this is at a school that is an internationally known brand.”

Ainslie predicts that 10% to 20% of the top 100 MBA programs in the U.S. will likely close in the next few years, with even greater fallout among second- and third-tier schools. Just three months ago, University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business became the latest school to announce that it is getting out of the full-time, on-campus MBA market.

Simon saw its application volume remain stable this past year, largely because last year it become the first U.S. business school to gain full STEM designation for its full-time MBA program.  The change allows international students to apply for an additional 24 months optional practical training (OPT), which helps to bridge the gap between a student visa and a work visa. “We thought we would be in an incredible position with STEM. Given the news I’m hearing from everyone else, I am very happy being flat,” sighs Ainslie.

Deans attribute the decline to a confluence of factors that include a strong U.S. economy, which is keeping more people in their jobs, as well as uncertainly over work visas by international students who also have been scared off of coming to the U.S. due to anti-immigration rhetoric. Also playing a role is the rising cost of the degree and cannibalization of the full-time MBA market by the success of undergraduate business degrees, online MBA programs, and specialized master’s programs in such business disciplines as finance, accounting, analytics, marketing, and supply chain management.

MBA application volume, of course, goes up and down in different economic cycles. Typically, recessions bring a rebound as career opportunities diminish and more professionals seek to ride out a downturn in graduate school. In fact, says Ainslie, he hears fellow deans also joke that ‘All we need is a nice little recession.’ We are about the only people in the world who like a recession,” he says. “We think it will still be good enough for us.”

But when the next recession comes, he expects only a temporary and more mild bounce back in applications than history would suggest. Ted Snyder, who just left the deanship of Yale University’s School of Management, agrees with him, citing the high cost of the MBA degree as a reason why a recession won’t lead to double-digit jumps in application volume.

“Having followed along with annual increases in tuition rates at two percent above inflation for more than 25 years,” adds Snyder, “many schools have found themselves in a tuition trap in which they cannot find a market for their programs. I think the number one thing (holding back a rebound) is the high price so I don’t see how a recession is going to have a great effect. Schools have to stop raising the price.”

It’s not all bad news, of course. “The positive side of the news is that this is causing us to do some really interesting new product development,” adds Ainslie. “The online market is really maturing and there are some excellent offerings out there. Master’s programs in business are slowly moving from a product solely for international students to domestic students. We are seeing the demise of the MBA but we are still getting a lot of students in different degree programs.”

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I’m the editor-in-chief of Poets and Quants, the most read and most popular provider of information on business programs in the world. Our main website,, has been visited by nearly 100 million people and is updated daily with a wealth of admission and career statistics, school profiles, breaking news and long-form features on programs, students, faculty and alumni. Earlier in my career, I was editor-in-chief of Fast Company and executive editor of Business Week.

Source: It’s Official: The MBA Degree Is In Crisis

#Sunstone #Eduversity is an academic institution that aims at creating industry ready professionals with our unique pedagogy and technology enabled education delivery. We partner with existing colleges who have a well-equipped infrastructure to run and manage an AICTE approved, PGDM program by leveraging the use of modern – day technology and thus ensuring that the students are provided with the highest level of education quality across all our campuses. All our students are imparted with the desired skill sets that are in sync with the corporate environment and given practical training on various corporate domains that exist in an organization


5 Lessons On Virtual Reality In eLearning

5 Lessons On Virtual Reality In eLearning

Virtual Reality In eLearning: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

Over the last few years we have been creating Virtual Reality in eLearning. This work has yielded some valuable lessons that I’d like to share in the hope that it will make you an eLearning hero rather than the herder of white elephants.

Lesson 1: Virtual Reality Is Brilliant… When The Planets Align

Firstly I’d like to say that given the right learning scenario and receptive learner, VR eLearning is shockingly effective. This platform for presenting information will fill a gap in the learning spectrum for users who would benefit more from experiencing situations and surroundings.

Kinaesthetic learning scenarios, where the learning is concerned with physically carrying out a task, can be replicated and practiced ideally in Virtual Reality. Furthermore, scenarios where the surrounding environment is a crucial part of the learning experience are ideally suited for VR. For instance, VR can give new hires experience of an international company’s locations without the need to fly all over the world or map fire escape routes as part of fire safety training.

The Virtual Reality experience itself is something that no user should forget, the uniqueness and salience of the experience will stand out in the mind of the learner and aid recall. This effect will recede as Virtual Reality becomes more mainstream so my advice would be to make your first VR eLearning course soon for maximum effect.

Lesson 2: Apply Virtual Reality Sparingly

Despite some vendors claiming VR to be the panacea for all learning, the truth is that very few learning courses have sufficient kinaesthetic learning needs to suit Virtual Reality. Most learning remains predominantly knowledge-based; people need to learn “what” more than “how” in the world of eLearning. Our experience suggests that only 5% of all learning should go down the Virtual Reality route.

Lesson 3: Don’t Go To The Party Without The Right Kit

The good news is that the Virtual Reality kit can be inexpensive – really inexpensive. A headset can be purchased for £5 from Amazon, attach it to your Smartphone and start learning. The quality of the experience is minimally limited by the equipment – it is essentially just a set of lenses in a mask, just make sure it fits the face and does not let in any ambient light.

The main limitations of the experience are caused by bandwidth and Smartphone/VR system. Generally if you are using a Smartphone to run the Virtual Reality, if it has been made in the last three years then it will be adequate. The more recent phones (Google’s Pixel, LG 6 etc.) give even better refresh rates and visual acuity which makes using the phone a more “real-life” experience and will increase the length of time they can be used in one session. Generally newer phones can be used comfortably for up to 45 minutes, training for older phones should last for no longer than 25 minutes. Specialist VR systems such as Oculus Prime and Playstation are considerably more expensive but will give a better overall experience – at the moment we would not advise going down this route since it greatly restricts the rollout of the system with relatively little gain.

Although the headsets are cheap and Smartphones are commonplace, not every audience will have the right equipment – even if headsets are distributed. Take this into consideration during any rollout, that you may need an alternative distribution platform for the learning.

Lesson 4: Virtual Reality Is eLearning Marmite

Any readers unfamiliar with the UK’s obsession with Marmite should know that Marmite is a spread made out of yeast extract (yes, I don’t know what that is either) that you apply to toast. The taste experience is greatly loved or hated in equal measure; there is no middle ground. Virtual Reality is the same.

90% of users will love the VR experience, it is met with a childlike sense of awe. There is no learning curve, users immediately know how to get around the environment and learn from the experience.

10% of users will absolutely hate the experience, they will tear off the goggles within 10 seconds of putting them. Such users find the experience disconcerting and no matter how much encouragement you can give, they will refuse to even look at the training again.

If your training needs to train all the target population – you must not put all your eggs in the Virtual Reality basket.

Lesson 5: The Take-Away From Virtual Reality

If there is one thing I’d like you to learn from our experience it’s that Virtual Reality – if suitable for the project in hand – should not be the only solution. VR needs a back up delivery method because:

  • Not every learning scenario suits Virtual Reality.
  • It will be difficult to ensure a suitable Smartphone/VR headset is available for all.
  • 10% of your population will refuse to use Virtual Reality.

The best solution is to make sure your VR project can export into other formats. One solution is to use Jackdaw Cloud to export the same VR project at the touch of a button to run on a PC or App without needing VR glasses. It creates great looking Virtual Reality, but comes with a built in backup plan.

So good luck with your first VR project; when done well, it is a great learning medium that will turn you into an eLearning hero. Just don’t forget those who cannot or will not use Virtual Reality, don’t say I have not warned you!

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