What makes a good business school? | TopMBA.com

What makes a good business school?

By Laura L

Updated October 25, 2022 Updated October 25, 2022

Choosing a top-quality business school will help you to get the most out of your business education and reach your career ambitions. There are thousands of business schools across the world, so what exactly makes a good one?  

The QS Global MBA Rankings assess over 300 institutions to determine the top-ranked business schools in the world. Institutions are measured using eight key indicators that demonstrate performance and impact when it comes to student experience and outcomes.  

We looked at the indicators that determine what makes a good business school and spoke to seven high-ranking institutions to understand what makes them stand out from the crowd.  

Learn more about the methodology used for ranking the top business schools.   

Employability 

Does the school have a strong reputation with global employers? Do leading companies look to the school to recruit graduates ready to take on today’s challenges? What is the employment rate for students after graduation?  

We know that students want to graduate with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in the employment market, so we assess how institutions prepare students for successful careers, and which institutions provide the most competent, innovative, and effective graduates.    

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford ranks 11th in the employability indicator in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2023. We spoke to Saïd’s director of career development, Joy Bussell, to ask how the school ensures students can take on the workplace with confidence and feel empowered to progress in their careers.  

Joy said: “From the outset, our focus is on supporting strategic career planning, so that [students] fully own and direct their career development. On [the MBA] programme, the team works closely with students in one-to-one coaching sessions to hone their cv, profile and career narrative.  

“We provide mock interviews, sessions with industry experts and opportunities to interact with key employers, building their confidence to know and effectively articulate their individual proposition. Our talent development programme encompasses the broad range of interpersonal skills employers today expect from future leaders.” 

Alumni outcomes and entrepreneurship  

Closely linked to employability, the Alumni Outcomes Index looks at over 50,000 CEOs, executives and board members at the biggest companies in the world including Amazon, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and PepsiCo, and the schools they graduated from.  

Quality alumni outcomes, whether in employment or entrepreneurship, mean that current students have a strong network of graduates to tap into for mentorship, industry insights and collaborating with experts in the field.  

Cape Town Global School of Business ranks 28th globally and first in the Middle East and Africa region for the entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes indicator. The school empowers its students to navigate their own career advancement with career development tools and direct contact with influential industry players and corporations keen to recruit from the school’s ranks.  

MBA director Mignon Reyneke feels that a good business school ensures that future business leaders and entrepreneurs are equipped with the right skills and attitudes to build successful and profitable businesses that move society forward.  

She said: “We believe it’s essential to form relevant partnerships to future-proof business and society. Businesses, governments and educational institutions need to work together to provide curricula that meet current and future needs.” 

Return on investment 

Will the time, energy and money you invest in your business education pay off in career opportunities and salary?  

One of the key indicators in the QS Global MBA Rankings is return on investment, which is used to map average MBA salaries after 10 years of graduating, against average salaries before enrolment. The measure considers salary loss while studying as well as tuition fees and cost of living.  

Return on investment can be difficult to see visibly when considering studying at a business school, but the QS Global MBA Rankings can help. When researching schools, looking for strong examples of employability and alumni outcomes can help determine whether return on investment is worthwhile for you.  

SDA Bocconi ranks joint first in the return-on-investment indicator with a highly customisable MBA programme to create a tailored experience to reach your own career goals. Stefano Pogutz is MBA director at SDA Bocconi.  

He said: “Our students receive targeted soft skills development with a three-month pre-arrival engagement toolkit and continuous support beyond graduation. We invest a considerable amount of time emphasising the importance of company cultural fit, through dedicated seminars and through sessions with alumni who visit us to meet current students and explain their career journeys post MBAs.” 

Thought leadership 

Much of the attraction to a top business school is the world-class expertise provided by the academic and research faculty. Thought leaders offer innovation, insights and influence across the business world, asking the big questions to create positive change.  

A good business school will feature a global roster of influential business leaders and thinkers as part of their teaching teams and research centres, meaning that students benefit directly from their experience and expertise. 

Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM)ranks 10th in the thought leadership indicator in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2023. Thought leadership is at the heart of the school’s mission, according to associate dean, Professor Xin Sean Xu. 

He said: “The mission for Tsinghua SEM is to advance knowledge, cultivate leaders, contribute to China and the world, and influence our students. A number of senior faculty members have played active roles in the nation, in policy making and leadership roles.  

“It’s important for us as a school to influence the business world, to help managers, learn from managers and advance knowledge together with managers, and to shape the future of business education.”  

Melbourne Business School ranks 11th in the thought leadership indicator and their associate dean, Professor Andrew John, says that thought leadership is intrinsically aligned to the teaching values at the school.  

“The best teaching involves the same process of curating, translating and applying research in order to provide evidence-based insights that students can apply to their organisations. The very best teaching also equips students to critically analyse research themselves so that they can become thought leaders too.”   

Diversity 

Diversity within a business school can enable students to learn from a broader range of backgrounds and perspectives, and to consider different challenges that may be faced outside of their own experiences. 

In the QS Global MBA Rankings, we assess the percentage of female students and faculty members, the percentage of international faculty in the school, and the international mix of students on the MBA programme.  

EU Business School ranks first in the diversity indicator with MBA programmes offered across their campuses in Barcelona, Geneva and Munich, as well as online. While the millennial generation is calling for greater diversity in the workplace, EU Business School takes “the commitment to diversity very seriously” and is why the school is “proud to be ranked as the worldwide education leader in diversity by the QS Global MBA Rankings.”  

“With a student body comprised on more than 100 nationalities and students speaking on average more than three languages, we are proud to be setting the benchmark for multicultural schooling environments globally and preparing our students for successful international business careers,” according to the school’s website.  

This article was originally published in October 2022 .

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Written by

As Senior Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Laura publishes articles for our student audience around the world, working with ambassadors and alumni to provide helpful content to those looking for study options. Laura has six years' experience in Higher Education marketing and writing for a student audience. 

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