Mustafa Abbas




United Kingdom




Sep 2018 - May 2020

By Mustafa Abbas


I had not thought about the true power of statistics until our second module at SBS.

I had heard of the Prosecutor’s Fallacy (erroneous interpretations of some valid statistics) and legal injustices – but hadn’t considered a mathematical framework to understand this.

I had always hoped that, even if my doctor were to offer me bad news about my health based upon some positive test result, this was not the same as him knowing that I did in fact have the illness – but I didn’t know how to calculate the odds.

I knew that saying: “If he is having an affair, then he’s probably coming home late regularly”, is not the same as: “If he is coming home late regularly, then he’s probably having an affair” – but I hadn’t yet examined Bayesian posteriors.

Our humble tutor had the daunting task of teaching us analytics at breakneck speed. A few concepts were intuitive but several ideas required a mental leap and we were asked on occasion to pay close attention in order to achieve an enlightened state.

How lucky we are. We are now better able to perform Monte Carlo simulations and create models for prediction. We finally have a framework to evaluate if the drinks party should be held indoors or on the lawn, given the chances of rain in glorious England. We are even equipped to put a price on perfect knowledge, if ever we find it.

It dawned on me on the train home that, more than all these trivial matters, what we were taught so elegantly was critical thinking about data and statistics. This is the strength of the Oxford MBA.

Post analytics, this cohort of EMBA-S18 will not be fooled by bankers, journalists or randomness.

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