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MBA Predictions: Will Facebook, Google, Goldman, Starbucks Be In Business In 2050?

Future biz leaders see bleak future for social media sites

Wed Feb 10 2016

Despite social media’s increasing presence in all aspects of our lives, MBAs have predicted that Facebook and Instagram will soon cease to exist.

A BusinessBecause survey of 124 mostly MBA respondents found that 72% anticipate Instagram will be shut down by 2050; almost 50% believe that Facebook will follow suit.

The survey also revealed dampening expectations for Goldman Sachs’ future, but positive forecasts for McKinsey, Uber, Apple and Google.

The survey findings come in spite of solid evidence pointing to the continued growth of Facebook and the Facebook-owned mobile photo sharing platform Instagram.

Facebook boasts 1.6 billion monthly active users — half the world’s online users.

The brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook has surpassed US corporate giants Walmart and General Electric in terms of market value, growing to more than $300 billion.

In the last quarter of 2015, Facebook exceeded all expectations: revenue soared to $5.8 billion and profits more than doubled to over $1.5 billion.

Understandably not everyone is convinced. “It’s difficult for me to conceive Facebook going out of business,” says Abhishek Garodia, who works for leading sharing economy company Airbnb, and who has an MBA from London Business School.

“The way they are moving into the virtual reality space with Oculus Rift, they are actually going into people’s minds,” he continues. “It’s quite scary what they can do.”


Jasmin Schawalder, a former Grenoble École de Management MBA, now marketing director at big data start-up OpenSignal, agrees.

“Although it might not exist in the form that we know it today, Facebook as a company will still exist,” she says.

This year, the percentage of MBAs who predicted that Facebook will no longer exist in 2050 is down 5% from the 77% who answered the same question in BusinessBecause’s 2015 survey.

Despite the 72% of MBAs fearing for its future, Instagram looks in picture perfect shape, having attracted 400 million monthly active users.

There is little room for scepticism in regards to global tech giants Google and Apple.

A comprehensive 80% of MBAs expect Google to still exist in 2050, up 4% from last year’s survey. MBA’s confidence in Apple’s prospects has increased by about 20% year-over-year, with 69% forecasting the company’s long term prospects to be positive.

Apple and Google — now existing under newly formed parent company Alphabet — are worth around $535 billion and $568 billion respectively.

“Google is like the entry door to the internet: it’s so strongly embedded in everyone’s lives,” says Jasmin. “Plus, Apple products are still expensive and only reach a particular segment,” she adds. “With Android, Google has such a strong platform in emerging markets.”

The future looks equally bright for the sharing economy, as 63% of the MBAs surveyed predicted that Uber — founded less than seven years ago — will still be in business in 2050.

From London to Lima and from Boston to Beijing, the divisive taxi hailing service — valued at more than $60 billion — is available in hundreds of cities in 68 countries worldwide.

“Our goal is to make transportation as reliable and affordable for as many people as we can,” says Elspeth Rollert, marketing manager for Uber in New York, and NYU Stern MBA graduate.

“We’ll still be working on that goal in 2050,” she says, “finding new and innovative ways to transport people and goods around the globe.”

Management consulting giant McKinsey — some 80 years Uber’s senior — is also a firm MBA favorite, with 74% predicting it will still exist in 2050.

MBAs are less decided on the future of investment banking heavyweight Goldman Sachs and the global coffee-house chain Starbucks.

At a time when Goldman Sachs continues to record falling profits linked to a $5 billion legal settlement, only 52% of survey respondents forecast that the 147-year-old bank will still exist in 2050.

Confidence in Starbucks’ future is marginally up by 4% on last year’s survey, with 52% of MBAs anticipating that the coffee colossus will still be a big name on the high-street in the years to come.