Business schools are shuttering full-time MBA programs, citing low enrollment, millennials

MBA programs are the origin node of a lot of ugly, exploitative business trends over recent decades (see this excellent documentary for more), and their star is in decline, with MBAs commanding a much lower wage premium after graduation, leading to declining enrollment in full-time MBA programs.

As full-time MBA programs become money-losers for their universities, they're being shut down, with the universities blaming millennials' unwillingness to incur unsustainable levels of student debt (nice going, millennials!). To add to their woes, Trump's anti-immigration policies have scared off many of the foreign students who'd fill out the enrollment numbers otherwise.

On Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith reflects on their own MBA and the positives and negatives of the MBA phenomena. On the plus column, MBAs brought a lot of engineers into management, and they were a counterweight against the outsourcing trend ("Engineers understand that there are physical constraints, that tradeoffs matter and need to be evaluated, and that while production in theory can be made more efficient, there is often a difference between theory and practice, particularly if you keep losing people who have accumulated knowledge").

Financialization and the rise of PCs synergized in a pernicious way, also fueling self-serving managerial and executive behavior. Remember how the product that put the PC on the map was VisiCal? If you’ve ever done a financial forecast on green ledger paper with a calculator, it’s torture, because if you make one mistake, everything to the right is wrong. Spreadsheets made it possible to do much more modeling of M&A deals, facilitating the use of more complex financial structures, and it also made it easier to create new products like non-government-guaranteed mortgage securities. But more subtly, the proliferation of spreadsheets led to users treating the spreadsheet as reality, simply fooling with assumptions to make the model produce a needed outcome, and becoming desensitized to the fact that the model wasn’t reality.1

The growth in MBA programs led MBAs to colonize non-business fields, like higher education, health care, and not-for-profits, to their detriment. The result has been adminisphere bloat and a focus on fundraising at the expense of delivery on organizational goals (for instance, more and more universities have become hedge funds with educational institutions attached).

Some Schools Shutting MBA Programs....But Don't Cheer Yet [Yves Smith/Naked Capitalism]

Why Business Schools Are Shutting Down Their MBA Programs [John Byrne/Forbes]