M.B.A. Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age

28. December 2014

Date: 26-12-2014
Source: The New York Times

Greg Pass, the former chief technology officer of Twitter, put the matter succinctly. The M.B.A., he observed, is “a challenged brand.”

That’s because the degree suggests a person steeped in finance and corporate strategy rather than in the digital-age arts of speed and constant experimentation — and in skills like A/B testing, rapid prototyping and data-driven decision making, the bread and butter of Silicon Valley.

Those skills are not just for high-tech start-ups. They are required now in every industry. And leading business schools are struggling to keep pace.

Mr. Pass is on the faculty at Cornell Tech in New York, where an innovative new program brings M.B.A. candidates and graduate students in computer science together. Meanwhile, across the country, colleges are adding new courses in statistics, data science and A/B testing, which often involves testing different web page designs to see which attracts more traffic. Read the rest of this entry »

B-school remorse: When the degree is just not worth it

9. November 2013

Date: 09-11-2013
Source: Fortune

Mariana Zanetti had been working as a product manager for Shell (RDSA) in Buenos Aires when her husband got a promotion to a new job in Madrid. One of her colleagues, a Harvard Business School graduate, suggested that the Argentina native go to business school for her MBA while in Spain.

She took his advice, enrolling in the one-year MBA program at Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business School In Madrid. Zanetti borrowed money from her family to pay for the degree. And when she graduated in 2003, it took her a full year to land a job as a product manager at a Spanish version of Home Depot, at exactly the same salary she was earning three years earlier, without the MBA.

For years, Zanetti says, she wanted to write a book on her experience but didn’t out of fear that it would hurt her career, which included stints as a product manager for Saint-Gobain and ResMed, a medical supplier. Now that she has left the corporate world, Zanetti says, she can tell the truth about the MBA degree.

Her take, in a self-published book called The MBA Bubble: It’s just not worth the investment. “There is an education bubble around these kind of degrees,” she says. “I don’t think they have much impact on people’s careers. There are exceptions, of course, in management consulting and investment banking, where the MBA is always valued. But for the rest, it’s a nice-to-have degree. It’s not that it is harmful to you, but every market expert I interviewed for the book says that what is needed today is specialized knowledge and skills, and an MBA is generalist training.” Read the rest of this entry »

MBAs: Schools answer call for big data experts

17. July 2013

Date: 17-07-2013
Source: The Financial Times

Clive Holtham: ‘Value of big data less than being claimed’

Consumer industries are amassing huge data sets, highlighting the importance of choosing the right analytical models to help make commercial decisions.
Analysing data is a straightforward matter for statisticians or engineers, but not for many executives. As a result there is demand for more commercially savvy IT professionals, known as data scientists, and business schools are responding to this call.

Imperial College London recently announced a research partnership with Chinese telecoms company Huawei in July. Backed by the UK government, academic and business experts will work together to develop technologies that utilise “big data” – the term used to describe masses of information harvested from commercial activities, social media and other sources.

Another sign of the times can be seen at University of Oxford Saïd Business School, which has added a big data module to its MBA programme. This is taught through an online platform called “Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford”, and aims to help students learn how to ask questions of the data that will help an organisation to prosper. Read the rest of this entry »

A costly lesson

28. August 2010

Date: 28-08-2010
 Source: The Economist

If “executive” MBA programmes are not much different from their full-time counterparts, how do business schools justify charging twice the price? 

IT STARTED with a little-reported court judgement in an American backwater. In 2007 Ruth Creps, a resident of Idaho, was made redundant by her employer. She applied for funds from the Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance programme, a scheme designed to help retrain workers who lost their jobs due to international trade competition. Ms Creps wanted to take an MBA at nearby Boise University, but decided that she would rather do the $41,000 part-time “executive” MBA (EMBA)—which is usually paid for by employers who are looking to train up their high potentials—instead of the full-time programme which cost just $14,000. When her request was turned down Ms Creps fought them all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court, only to lose because the court decided the more expensive programme was not significantly different from its traditional alternative. Read the rest of this entry »