Methodology: QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15

Since the beginning, the objective of the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report has been to provide an indication of the employability of an MBA upon graduation. Unlike traditional business school rankings, which measure programs on multiple criteria, QS for many years published a rating that provides a reliable measure of one thing only: the employability of MBA graduates.

For the 2014/15 report, QS has adopted a new methodology. The employability measure, based on our global survey of MBA employers, will now count for 85% of the final ranking. A second measure – academic reputation – based on a global faculty survey, will contribute 15% to the final ranking.

Employer Survey

The QS Global 200 Business Schools Report survey (hereafter referred to as the ‘survey’) captures the preferred set of business schools each responding employer wishes to recruit from; either now, in the recent past or in the near future.

QS asks international employers to select the schools from which they consider hiring MBA graduates. Employers that focus on domestic hiring are not included in the survey. However, QS recognizes that many excellent schools that cater predominantly to the local recruitment market may not appear in the tables.

We include only business schools offering full-time MBA programs and as such well-known business schools like ESCP Europe and HEC Lausanne (which only offer executive MBA, part-time MBA and/or masters programs) are excluded.

In order to produce the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, QS focuses on experienced HR and line managers at organizations that actively recruit MBAs. Respondents from each company are asked a series of questions about MBA recruiting in the previous and the forthcoming year.

Employer responses to these questions provide information on the following:

• MBA recruitment trends
• MBA salaries and compensation trends
• Global business school ratings by region
• Global business school ratings by specialization

Each employer is asked to list, unprompted, the international schools from which they have recently attempted to recruit MBAs. Each time a school is selected by an employer, it receives one vote and the total number of votes for each school is referred to as the ‘total unprompted votes.’

From a list of 500 business schools that have been categorized by region, employers are then asked to identify the schools they regard as attractive for the purpose of hiring MBA graduates. In order to be included on the list, a school must have been recommended by an employer in the previous year of the research. Each time a school is selected, it is given one vote, and the total for each school is referred to as the ‘total prompted votes.’

The prompted and unprompted votes are added together to create the ‘total employer votes.’ In order to ensure balanced results that are not subject to influence from the economic cycle, an average of the ‘total employer votes’ is taken from the current year’s research and the two previous surveys.

The best performing school(s) are given an index score of 100 and the average total employer votes for the remaining schools are indexed against the best performing school(s). This score is known as the school’s ‘index of employer votes.’

Academic Reputation

Separate from the employer survey, the QS Intelligence Unit surveys academics from all over the world each year, a survey that forms the centerpiece of the QS World University Rankings. In 2014, 63,676 faculty and other academics responded to the survey.

Respondents are first asked to identify their areas of expertise – countries, regions, and up to five faculty areas with which they are most familiar. For each of the five faculty areas, they are then asked to list up to 10 domestic and 30 international institutions that they consider excellent for research in that area. They are not permitted to choose their own institutions. For the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, only responses related to business and management were used.

To increase the size of the sample, responses from one year are combined with those from two previous years, and duplicate responses from the same individuals over the three-year period are removed. In 2014, QS received 3,128 usable responses. Combining the 2014 responses with those from two previous years gave us a total of 7,187 responses.

As with the employer survey, the best performing school(s) in the academic survey are given an index score of 100 and the remaining schools are indexed against the best performing school(s).

Final Ranking

To assemble the final ranking, we assign a weight of 85% to the employer survey results and of 15% to the academic reputation results. This combined score determines the relative position of each school on each table.

This research does not intend to infer an overall global ranking of schools. Instead, the schools in five global regions are ranked separately. Breakdowns for elite global, emerging global, elite regional, and emerging regional business schools that appeared in previous reports are no longer provided.

Sample of Employers 

MBA employers

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