BusWeek’s Dubious Statistic Award

Posted in Rant at 7:19 am by Jason G.

Here’s a great graphic from Business Week’s just-out b-school rankings:

Note that the chart on the left is the “Percentage of full-time MBA programs reporting application growth”. What, the actual number of applications, the number of students, etc. weren’t straight-forward enough, you had to go with something as indirect as the number of programs reporting application growth?

This is an unfortunate example of using statistics to mislead… of course Business Week sells more copy and more ads when the b-school market is hot, so it’s in their best interest to find whatever metric they can to make it look hot. And they certainly grasped a bit to get this one…

I’m pretty sure demand this year is up in normal terms, so why use a questionable stat to show a big gain when you could show an honest, smaller gain?