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John Hanke and Pam Weigand, 1994, What are business schools doing to educate forecasters, Journal of Business Forecasting, Fall, 10 – 12.


Those who are teaching forecasting should find something interesting in Hanke and Weigand’s survey of forecasting courses. This is the third time that this survey has been done (Hanke, 1984, 1989). (Incidentally, Hanke, 1989 is incorrectly cited as Hanke, 1988 in their paper.) This survey was sent to the 743 business schools in the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of business, and there were 317 responding institutions (43%).

Hanke and Weigand compare some of their results with the survey done 10 years earlier (Hanke, 1984). For example, in 1983, 58% of the schools said that they offered a forecasting course at either the undergraduate or graduate level. This figure had increased to 62% in the 1987 survey (although this might have been attributed to a sharp decrease in the response rate, from 52% to 34%). In this latest survey, conducted in 1993, only 47% of the schools offered a course in forecasting. As to why they do not offer such courses, the answer were quite diverse. The most frequently mentioned (at 16%) was "lack of interest or enrollment," followed closely by "no room in the curriculum," and "included in other courses." In 1983, 37% of the schools said that they did not teach forecasting because they lacked faculty; this figure dropped to 6% in the latest survey.

The survey lists 11 forecasting techniques and asks the respondents how important is it for the students to understand them. Regression analysis is still the most important technique, which is not surprising. Exponential smoothing has gained in importance. What is surprising is that the survey says nothing about judgmental forecasting methods. It is not clear whether this is because judgment is unimportant in the courses (e.g. perhaps many courses are taught by statisticians who have little knowledge of the judgmental area) or whether it does not occur to respondents to mention it on the questionnaire. While there is some merit in administering a consistent set of questions over time, the next administration of the survey would benefit by addressing judgmental methods explicitly.

References

Hanke, J., 1984, Forecasting in business schools: A survey, Journal of Forecasting, 3, 229-234. Hanke, J., 1989, Forecasting in business schools: A follow-up survey, International Journal of Forecasting, 3, 229-234.

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