Glass & the Music Industry

The music industry was already a disrupted industry by smartphones and online music streaming services (OMSS) such as Spotify, Pandora, Beats Music, Slacker and Rdio. Streaming made up one-fifth of U.S. Music revenues in 2013 and the current trend suggests this number will grow in the future.


What will happen to OMSS with the introduction of Glass?  Common sense dictates that OMSS will create their own application for Glass. The default scenario will most likely result in OMSS losing reach of the Glass segment. It is no surprise to see that Spotify users have requested developers to create an app. I have no doubt that such an app is already in development.

However, Google has its own plans. There will be customized, high-quality earbuds selling for an additional $85. In addition, Google Play Music – All Access is Google’s attack on the music streaming industry. Tim Quirk, a Google Play executive, states: “I don’t think any of the other services have mastered the integration of your own collection with that wider super-set of all the music that was ever recorded in the history of the world and how to mix and match those two things”. 

Thus, OMSS should be concerned. Their previous innovative advantage will be nullified on the Glass explorer. OMSS will have to bundle additional new non-tech features in their freemium business model that cannot be easily replicated. This move could be considered as going further in a differentiation strategy. OMSS could create personalized features before Glass is released and therefore, increase the switch-up costs. A very similar move was made by Facebook on the introduction of Google+, Google’s social networking service.

If this tactic was proved effective in the past, what will Google do in response this time? Google will probably perform some of the following set of actions: reduce the learning curve for new users, adapt all existing features of competitors, and keep this service separate from other Google products, like Gmail.

The Most Decent MBA Rankings

In the last decade or so, business publications such as Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, U.S. News and The Economist have had a penchant to create business school rankings for MBA programs. Their rankings are based on different methodologies. I will comment on them and thereby qualify which ranking is the most “decent”.

I won’t cover Eduniversal ranking because it ranks schools as a whole rather than solely the MBA.  They only measure one criterion. They do so fairly well, nevertheless. The business schools rank other business schools. I believe this ranking is an excellent indicator that suggests the quality of the faculty. Who can better assess and evaluate the publications and quality of a business school faculty? Graduated students?

The Economist and Forbes only publish the actual ranking. BusinessWeek publishes some of the data they use. U.S. News provides all information if you purchase their Business School Compass for $30 (why pay for something that others disclose for free?). Financial Times publishes all of the information it uses in to create the ranking. However, the calculation is extensively convoluted given that a big percentage of the ranking relies on previous rankings much like an AR-Process in time series.  I found some attempts to recreate their results but they are not perfect.


In the previous table, it shows four commonly used criteria for all rankings.  Financial Times has a 6% weight on Employers and Career Opportunities because they do not disclose what percentage of international mobility corresponds to working on different countries after graduation. Similarly, BusinessWeek does not specify what constitutes 56% of its ranking. They merely mention students rate “teaching quality, career services, and other aspects of the B-school experience”.

I do not think there is a perfect ranking (hence why this post is called The Most DECENT MBA Rankings), with that being said let me comment on the most relevant problems.

U.S News: Salary Increase and ROI should be the most important criteria. U.S. News has little weight in it. I believe this criterion should warrant at least 20% of the ranking. It has been criticized as an unstable ranking along with BusinessWeek.

Forbes:  I do not concur that salary increase should be the sole criterion to consider. Forbes by simplicity (or maybe laziness?) only considers salary variables.

BusinessWeek: The ambiguity in BusinessWeek methodology casts doubt as to what it is actually measured. Furthermore, as previously mentioned BusinessWeek and U.S. News are less stable rankings. It also gives a rather small emphasis (5%) to faculty quality.

The Economist: It gives a very small weight to faculty quality, which is in my opinion a very important variable as it would suggest the quality of the concepts learned. The Economist also does not take into account cost or fees of the program.

Financial Times: Their ranking gives only a 5% weight to career opportunities. This variable suggests the efficacy of the career service’s department of a business school, thus it is of utmost relevance. If a graduate doesn’t find a job fast, I consider it a small failure on behalf of this department.

All together I would qualify the Financial Times and The Economist (tied) as the most decent rankings as they possess the least objectionable criteria.

Specialized Masters vs. MBAs

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is evidence that suggests specialists earn more than generalists.  On another note there is also evidence that specialized masters have experienced an accretion in the number of applications per year. If you want to specialize then, should you do an MBA or a specialized master?

Specialized masters have thrived because of manifold reasons. The most prominent reason could be attributed to impediments in pursuing an MBA degree. The biggest encumbrance to MBA programs besides tuition fees is time. Firstly, most MBA programs require two year investment in a candidate’s complete time. This is important since you will have to wait more time to get a return on your investment. Secondly, the candidate must also accumulate some years of work experience. In any AMBA certified business school students require 3 years. It is not surprise that most schools in the US disregard this certification.


An MBA does provide certain advantages. Firstly, it is more pervasive so employers know the expected value of a candidate, and this increases a candidate’s chances to be employed after graduation. Secondly, in the long-run an MBA provides a very high increase in salary. Content-wise, an MBA provides general knowledge in most of all business related fields.  Also an unspecialized MBA is a better ground for entrepreneurship than a specialized one.

In juxtaposition, the comparison becomes a little harder to evaluate since they offer rewards at different points in time and the knowledge and skills received are different. In an ambivalent scenario, if you have more than the required years of work experience the safest path might be to opt for an MBA. However, even if you have the required amount of work experience, you should not discard a specialized master if the following scenarios apply to you:

1) You already posses general knowledge in the core areas of a business: If you have an existing degree in economics or business administration. You will experience a great deal of redundancy in core courses. The core courses take place in the first year of an MBA. Usually MBA programs include the following core courses: Economics, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Statistics, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management and Organizational Behavior. In my opinion if an MBA candidate wishes to specialize then core courses are important to know at general level. How much of a general level is required? I would say sufficient enough know the major vernacular of each field. Candidates coming from a business administration degree will probably already possess a general knowledge in most if not all of these subjects. Candidates coming from an economics background will be very strong in half or most of these subjects.  On the other hand, engineering and humanities major might require this general knowledge. For this subgroup, an MBA is strongly preferred based on this criterion. For a business administration degree the MBA is strongly discouraged. Anything else is debatable.

2) You need specialized knowledge within a particular specialization: Some specialized programs offer even deeper knowledge in a particular area or industry beyond an MBA.


There are jobs requiring deep maybe even esoteric knowledge in a particular area of expertise. That is why some programs allow you to delve deeper into your favorite area of expertise. If you are specializing in Marketing you could specialize in services and customer experience. If you are specializing in Strategy, you could specialize in mergers and acquisitions. Evidently, in order to be significant a sub-specialization would require directing all your electives at a particular field of study or industry. While I am not suggesting that MBAs are deprived of these options, they might be less prevalent.

3) You need to get your money back fast: If you compare top MBAs with top business specialized masters, you will find that the ROI (Return on Investment) of specialized masters is not only larger, but also faster. Why? Going back to my previous point, the answer is time. In a specialized master, you get your money back faster because you finish your studies faster. Thus, if you are in dire need of getting your money back for whatever reason a specialized master might be better for you.

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