In Brief: Tech Trends for 2023; MBA Programs Struggle

November-December 2022
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Sustainability, the Metaverse and Superapps Among Tech Trends for 2023

Environmental and social changes now rank just after profit as top priorities for investors, CEOs told Gartner in a recent survey.

According to the management-consulting firm’s “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2023” report, organizations should invest in sustainable information technology that uses more efficient energy and materials. Sustainable frameworks include technologies such as traceability, analytics, renewable energy and artificial intelligence, Gartner says.

The report foresees an expanding metaverse, which Gartner defines as a collective, virtual 3D space that converges virtually enhanced physical reality and “digital reality.” Gartner expects the metaverse will have its own virtual economy, enabled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Meanwhile, so-called superapps will “consolidate and replace multiple apps for customer or employee use,” said Frances Karamouzis, a Gartner analyst.

Gartner’s report also forecasts increased use of “applied observability,” which allows organizations to make faster decisions and gain competitive advantages based on “digitized artifacts” of stakeholder actions recorded in logs, traces, downloads and file transfers.

Employee TikTok Videos Can Mislead or Reveal Too Much

In TikTok’s “tech girlie” genre, young employees of technology companies post videos of their lavish job perks: free breakfasts and lattes in spacious, light-filled offices, multihour lunch breaks, dog visits, nap rooms. 

As The Verge reports, lifestyle-vlogging has become a cottage industry for tech employees looking to build their own personal brands. Viewer comments often mock the video-creators for appearing to hardly work in their jobs. Still, many ask: “Are you hiring?”

Companies might benefit from employees filming TikTok videos at work, but the trend has also led to HR warnings and even firings from tech firms that creators say are ill-prepared to handle influencer employees. The videos might reveal things that companies wish to keep private.

Chloe Shih, a YouTuber with more than 51,000 followers, says creators must work within the limits that employers set on what they can share. As a result, the TikTok videos don’t reflect a real workday, because showing actual work isn’t allowed.

MBA Programs See Sharp Decline in Applications

Top MBA programs including Harvard Business School and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania are seeing steep drops in student applications, The Wall Street Journal reports

With the labor market hot, salaries rising and MBA programs costly, many professionals are choosing to stay on the job rather than leave to attend a two-year business school. 

At Harvard, widely considered the top business school in the country, MBA applications fell by more than 15% for the class of 2024. The Wharton School recorded a drop of more than 13%. Yale University’s School of Management drew 16% fewer MBA applicants than for its prior class. At other elite programs — including business schools at the University of Chicago and New York University — applications fell by 10% or more.

Highly ranked business schools can cost $200,000 or higher for a two-year program, once living expenses are added. In surveys by student-advisory firm Clear Admit, cost was the largest factor dissuading MBA applications. 

Are Text-Only Searches Becoming Obsolete? 

Brands that rely on Google text searches to market products online are doing themselves a disservice as people increasingly use visual searches, Marketing Dive reports. TikTok is Gen Z’s preferred search platform, says Noam Dorros, a digital-marketing analyst at Gartner. 

“A focus on strictly text-based strategies is going to eventually cause marketers to lose visibility and, as a result, consumers, to those brands standing on the forefront and optimizing toward those multimedia strategic initiatives,” he says.

At its “Search On” annual event in September, Google said it will offer richer search options based on images, languages and multimedia. The search giant hopes to create a “natural and intuitive” experience for how young people think in the age of TikTok.

Google says it can now predict a searcher’s interests based on general queries. When planning a trip to Mexico, for example, your search queries might bring more specific autofill suggestions and user-generated content posted on social media.  — Greg Beaubien

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