Rationale: QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014

The objective of the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report is to provide an indication of the employability of an MBA upon graduation. As such, QS believes a ratings system as opposed to the traditional business school rankings provides a reliable measure of the employability outcome of an MBA program.

Traditional rankings assess on average 15 to 20 criteria in order to provide an overarching indication of student satisfaction. These vary but are mostly based on general aspects: academic peer review, citations per faculty, faculty-student ratio, and international students, for example.

The QS Global 200 Business Schools Report only measures one indicator – the employability outcome of an MBA program by region and specialization. Focusing solely on employers’ views provide a reliable insight as to which business schools produce MBA graduates and alumni that are favored by recruiters. This is derived from employers’ votes as to which schools they prefer to recruit MBA graduates.

Employers and HR decision makers worldwide are at the forefront of witnessing the worth of an MBA. QS believes that they are in the best position to judge the value of a business school’s graduates, and have among the most objective and informed opinions as to which are the ‘best’ business schools. When an HR department selects a business school to recruit MBAs from, the decision will often be the result of an intensive research exercise: evaluating the strength of faculty, the facilities and the relevance of the course to the employee and the company’s needs.

Similarly, when HR managers choose which business schools to recruit from, they will draw from a wide range of information sources. They assess the quality and efficiency of the schools’ career services and the reputation of the school, for example. HR decision makers look beyond rankings and examine the facilities, the course content and the quality of students. Year-on-year, this survey reveals remarkable consistency in school selection. Allegiance to particular schools is not gained or lost by one good or bad student but by a sustained experience over several years.

Regional MBA ratings

Management education is globalizing. The past decade has seen an increase of accredited business schools open in emerging markets such as in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). While business schools in the US and Europe remain the most popular study destinations among MBA students, schools elsewhere in the world such as those in Asia-Pacific are growing in popularity. The proliferation of accredited programs around the globe has led to a wider choice for MBA applicants over the past few years. Recent trends indicate that there is greater onus on choosing the right country as well as the right business school. According to the TopMBA.com Applicant Survey 2013, over 50% of MBA students are choosing schools based on the country in which they wish to work.

Furthermore, international MBA recruiting is no longer the domain of a few prestigious US and European companies. A growing number of HR managers in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and the Middle East are informed about MBA education. Managers in these regions have been asked to share their views on the schools they would prioritize for MBA hiring.

There is a greater focus on regional MBA trends and in order to provide data to help students and recruiters choose which schools to apply to and recruit from, QS has categorized its business school ratings by region.

MBA specialization ratings

According to the QS TopMBA Applicant Survey, school specializations are the eighth most important criterion for school selection. According to the survey, which is the largest of its kind, school specializations are more important to applicants than MBA rankings, convenience of location, or recommendations from peers, colleagues and even employers.

The MBA curriculum is changing to respond to this in the offering of MBA specializations. For professionals who want to further their careers in the field that they are already working in, an MBA with a specialist focus would be a viable option. In developing ratings on MBA specializations, QS’ aim is to provide a useful resource for prospective students and employers’ alike to help aid decisions over which schools to apply to, or which to recruit from. MBA programs that do not offer specializations can still produce graduates that excel in specialist fields.

The results of the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report are based on MBA recruiters’ opinions and as such, employers also voted on general MBA programs that provide training and education in any one of 10 specialist fields, as well as programs that specialize in a particular field. There is now greater diversity in the many MBA specializations on offer, but QS rates the 10 core MBA specializations.

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