Misleading Article, Misleading Data, Exactly the same Problem
There is a growing gap between facts and what we make of it.
We live in a society filled with countless young people and graduates wasting away in dead-end jobs. The numbers are increasing more than a viral meme on Facebook.
Our press is being tainted with false data or articles that portray nonexistent progress. It was only the other night that came to my email a very interesting newsletter about business school students. It was a pretty little article from a national paper on the incredible realisation they became aware of.
The message was clear: 70%+ of all business school graduates (eg. finance, accounting, MBA, business management etc.) have registered an increase in their income after completing the course.
It was nothing in this article about the study itself or how the data was collected (the methodology). There was nothing about which universities were considered (selection bias), nothing about the overall satisfaction of students (rankings correlation), the average age of people surveyed or an understanding of previous earnings for those surveyed. No breakdown of data whatsoever, only a statement.
The article was about 500 words of nothing. After a few minutes and a blank face, the coin dropped … I had realised how manipulative this article really was. I remember myself a few years back before I went to university, I had almost no income. Like me, the large majority of business school students have never been employed, or junior roles.
Now after graduating and going into postgraduate/professional studies, graduating from those and getting promoted to different jobs it seems that almost everyone that I know has a stable income from somewhere.
Most of my university colleagues have gone through the grinder, from modest jobs, gap fillers, in search of our individual pathways to life and work satisfaction (not balance).
The article claimed that 70% of all students experience an increase in their income as a result of going to a business school, thus encouraging more young adults and professionals to load on expensive student debt products. The promise of a career and of success, of being smiley every day, like the people in the article picture.
In the UK, interest rates for student loans are set to rise again to 6.3%, which the governmental committee says should be no higher than the rate at which the government borrows, at present 1.5%, with a national figure heading towards a £1tn of debt owed by young generations, excluding the commercial loans many students take to bridge their journey to a high paying job, which in some cases never comes.
Returning to the article, it is clear that we live in a world where the people are deceived, most students have no income before university, logically, when they graduate they will take a job. Whether that job pays them £1 more than they earned before, which is £0, it really doesn’t matter. The result will be an overall increase.
Similarly, it will matter very little whether you have an income that meets the living allowance, conveniently not included in the study. In the same line of argument, it doesn’t really matter whether you can do anything with your income besides paying your Almighty Bills.
To conclude, we have a large majority of students with no income who naturally go into the work market after graduating, their income goes from 0 to something. This results in an even more natural increase.
This is a good thing and people should go to those business schools because they will earn more… that is an erroneous message for those who failed to read between the lines.
For those inquisitive minds who simply refuse to be fed false information, this article will pose a problem. Should people, university or corporations be allowed to buy their way into our national press? Or should we simply demand newsworthy news?
It underlined the risk business students actually take by investing tens of thousands in their education. Most put their families and life on hold for years, expose themselves to the risk of not finding a better job or a job. For what, one might ask?