Methodology: QS Business Masters Rankings 2018

Discover the methodology behind the QS Business Masters Rankings 2018

The QS Masters in Finance Rankings 2018, QS Masters in Management Rankings 2018 and the QS Masters in Business Analytics Rankings 2018 represent the first time QS have released rankings dedicated to business masters programs.

Data was collected in early 2017, using three surveys; the QS Global Employer Survey, the QS Global Academic Survey and a survey completed by the business schools themselves. For the purpose of these rankings QS did not ask schools to survey their alumni. Instead, schools provided career progression information on their alumni using MBACSEA standards.

Data received was based on 2016 graduating class (for career/employment statistics) and 2016 starting class for information on class makeup. When this data was not available we used the most recent available data provided by the schools.

It is also the first time that a major ranking has been conducted for Masters in Business Analytics programs.

To be included in the Masters in Finance Rankings 2018, Masters in Management Rankings 2018 or Masters in Business Analytics Rankings 2018 programs had to: 

  • Be taught mainly on-campus (i.e. not distance learning)
  • Have had at least one graduated class
  • A class size of at least 10 students to qualify 

The methodology is adapted to accept both full and part-time programs as well as pre and post-experience programs.

 

QS Masters in Management Rankings 2018 Breakdown

  • Employability – 35%
  • Alumni Outcomes – 15%
  • Value for Money – 20%
  • Thought Leadership – 20%
  • Class & Faculty Diversity – 10%

 

IndicatorSourceWeight
Employer Reputation (Employability)QS Employer Survey 2012-201730.0%
Employment Rate (Employability)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU5.0%
Alumni Outcomes Index (Alumni Outcomes)Various Lists of Successful and Diverse Companies 15.0%
10Y ROI (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU15.0%
Payback Month (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU5.0%
Academic Reputation (Thought Leadership)QS Academic Survey 2013-201715.0%
Research Impact (Thought Leadership)Scopus - 2011-2015 Period2.5%
PhD Faculty (Thought Leadership)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%

*238 programs analyzed

To be included in the Masters in Management Rankings 2018 the program has to be taught by the business faculty and mostly related to business management. Where doubts arose we consulted with the schools regarding the curriculum.

 

QS Masters in Finance Rankings 2018 Breakdown

  • Employability – 30%
  • Alumni Outcomes – 20%
  • Value for Money – 20%
  • Thought Leadership – 20%
  • Class & Faculty Diversity – 10%

 

IndicatorSourceWeight
Employer Reputation (Employability)QS Employer Survey 2012-201730.0%
Alumni Outcomes Index (Alumni Outcomes)Various Lists of Successful and Diverse Companies 20.0%
10Y ROI (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU15.0%
Payback Month (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU5.0%
Academic Reputation (Thought Leadership)QS Academic Survey 2013-201715.0%
Research Impact (Thought Leadership)Scopus - 2011-2015 Period2.5%
PhD Faculty (Thought Leadership)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%

*212 programs analyzed.

To be included in the Masters in Finance Rankings 2018 the program has to be taught in business faculty and related to finance. We also included Masters in Financial Engineering (MSFE) programs when looking at masters in finance. While it has been argued MSFE programs place too much of an emphasis on quantitative skills, we find that this is not always the case and as such, they are comparable.

 

QS Masters in Business Analytics Rankings 2018 Breakdown

  • Employability – 30%
  • Alumni Outcomes – 20%
  • Value for Money – 20%
  • Thought Leadership – 20%
  • Class & Faculty Diversity – 10%

 

IndicatorSourceWeight
Employer Reputation (Employability)QS Employer Survey 2012-201730.0%
Alumni Outcomes Index (Alumni Outcomes)Various Lists of Successful and Diverse Companies 20.0%
10Y ROI (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU15.0%
Payback Month (Value for Money)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU5.0%
Academic Reputation (Thought Leadership)QS Academic Survey 2013-201715.0%
Research Impact (Thought Leadership)Scopus - 2011-2015 Period2.5%
PhD Faculty (Thought Leadership)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
Gender Balance – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Students (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%
International Mix – Faculty (Class & Faculty Diversity)Reported by Business School, Validated by QSIU2.5%

 

The Indicators:

 

Employability

Between 2012-2017, we gathered over 158,000 responses to the QS Global Employer Survey, regarding which schools employers prefer to hire from. This large pool of information, gained from companies across all sectors and industries, has allowed us to put a significant weighting on employability in these rankings. Recent employers to take part in the survey include McKinsey & Company, Bank of America, Uber, Facebook, Google etc. Based on MBACSEA standards, this indicator includes a three-month, post-graduation employment rate weighting.

 

Alumni Outcomes

We looked at over 150 regional and global lists such as the FT Global 500, the Forbes 2000 etc., to form the basis of our Alumni Outcomes Index. This is used to track over 49,000 executives, board members and CEOs of the largest companies in the world, and the business school programs with which they are associated. Companies include JPMorgan Chase &Co., Wells Fargo, Apple, Microsoft and AXA Group.

 

Value for Money

We used a number of data points to determine return on investment, which can often be one of the hardest metrics to accurately predict, with many permutations and possibilities. We looked at a 10-year return on investment, mapping average post-masters salaries against average regional salaries for non-masters graduates, taking into account forgone salary as well as tuition and cost of living (using Mercer statistics). Salary increases are factored into both non-masters and masters salary, with the latter increasing at a higher rate, as you would expect. We also take into account payback period and the percentage of graduates accepting employment within three months of finishing their studies.

We feel 10 years gives a more representative and meaningful return on investment compared with some rankings that use a five-year approach. No loans or scholarships were included in this methodology. We recognize no ROI calculation is perfect but believe we have come up with the best approximate value for money calculation with the data available.

 

Thought Leadership

We take a number of things into consideration when determining thought leadership. First, we look at 172,107 responses from academics from 60 countries across the globe. The percentage of faculty with a doctoral degree is also taken into account, as is research impact. As per the QS World University Rankings by Subject methodology we measure citations per paper, rather than citations per faculty member.


 

Class & Faculty Diversity

To give a reflection of diversity within a program we look at a combination of both female students and faculty within a program (schools with an equal split receiving the highest possible score). In addition we also take into account the percentage of international students on the program and international faculty at the business school as a whole. 

 

FAQs

Q)  Why are the indicator weightings different for Masters in Management Rankings 2018 compared to Masters in Finance Rankings 2018 and Masters in Business Analytics Rankings 2018

A) The only difference in method pertains to the inclusion of employment rate in the Masters in Management Rankings 2018. We would like to have included that for Masters in Finance Rankings 2018 and Masters in Business Analytics Rankings 2018, and in the future hope to be able to, but were unable to gather enough data this year.

 

Q) What if more than one program per ranking was submitted by the business school?

A) Only the top-ranked program is included. That is not to say subsequent programs would not rank highly. They are not ranked for the sake of clarity. As one of our main indicators includes diversity, including or combining multiple programs from different locations could lead to inaccurate data.

 

Q) How are currency rates calculated?

A) Currency rates are accurate as of 1/1/2017 while salaries reported in reputational surveys were converted using an average of the years in question. Conversion rates do fluctuate and we take this into account in our calculations.

 

Q) How is the data validated?

A) All data received from schools was subject to verification checks, including, where possible, comparison with historical data, peer schools and other published sources. QS reserves the right to alter information if a more accurate source was found. Employer/academic questionnaires were also audited for multiple or false entries.

 

Q) What if a school didn’t provide all the data required?

A) When data was not supplied (by a minority of schools), QS surveys such as the QS Global Employer Survey, the QS Global Academic Survey were used in conjunction with QS research into public to make an accurate estimate. Examples of sources include schools’ employment reports and class profiles.

 

Q) If a school didn’t provide data how can you be sure the information used was accurate?

A) Information used in these cases was compared with a number of sources and verified as best as possible to produce the most accurate figure.

 

Q) How are weightings fairly applied to get an overall score?

A) We use z-scores to ensure the data is reliably combined to produce an accurate and fair overall ranking. You can read more about z-scores here.

 

Q) Why are there schools missing who you might expect to be present?

A) Schools are excluded if they did not fit the criteria necessary to be present in the ranking, if the program was too new, not enough data was provided etc. 

 

Q) We’re a business school and want to be involved in the next rankings. What do we need to do?

A) Contact rankings@qs.com to find out and for any other questions you might have regarding the rankings.

 

Q) Is there a more detailed explanation of the methodology used for these rankings anywhere?

A) Yes! If you would like to read about the methodology used in these rankings please visit our QS Intelligence Unit website where you can find more information.


 

phil_cottrell
Written by Phil Cottrell

Phil is the editor of TopMBA.com and has a breadth of editorial and digital marketing experience. He has worked across a variety of industries from e-commerce and commercial real estate to managing all content for a C-suite careers site aimed at UK and US professionals.

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