Global Business School Rankings: FAQs

We answer some of your questions about the new Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Global Business School Rankings

July 25, 2017
business, race, business ranking
Source: iStock

Times Higher Education has been consulting with business schools to develop a range of new rankings of MBA, master’s in management and master’s in finance programmes. From our discussions we have collated a series of frequently asked questions that we hope will prove useful in explaining our plans for rankings.

If you have further questions or feedback please contact us at businessrankings@timeshighereducation.com.

 

General

 

What is new in your ranking? What will it do that other rankings do not already do?

Overall, our aim is to gather a wide range of measures of teaching quality, and to do so in a fair way to enable us to compare a large pool of global schools.
We will use a balanced scorecard approach that will be similar in outline to our WSJ/THE College Ranking. We want to produce a ranking that is detailed and complete enough to become a globally used benchmark by students and institutions.
No ranking is currently ranking as many schools as we are planning to include, or accounting for as many aspects of quality.

One point that we feel is lacking in current rankings is a good approach to normalising financial data (salaries): we will normalise these data by sector as well as geographically, using detailed student reports of salary before and after the course, to better understand the school’s impact.
Another aspect of a degree’s impact that we want to measure is the actual extent and impact of the alumni network (rather than its ‘potential’).
Our student survey will focus on better understanding the teaching/learning experience rather than placing too much weight on ’satisfaction’.

Who will you be ranking?

The aim is to rank about 200 accredited schools globally that offer MBA, master’s in management or master’s in finance programmes

What is the timeframe?

Data will be collected from the end of August to the beginning of October; both directly from the universities and through the alumni survey.
The rankings will be published in Q1 2018.

How many rankings will you publish?

We will be publishing three rankings: one for MBAs, one for master’s of finance and one for master’s in management.

How will your three rankings differ?

Most of our metrics will apply to all three rankings. However, we might
(1) exclude some metrics for the two master’s rankings (eg, salary-related data), and
(2) ask slightly different questions for MBA v master’s alumni.

Do schools have to participate in all three rankings?

No; schools can participate in any of the three rankings.

When will the ranking be published?

We are working towards publication in spring 2018.

Will you publish detailed scores as well as the ranks?

Yes; we will publish the ranked schools’ ranks, overall score (enabling you to see more detail of their position) as well as pillar scores.
Metric scores will not be published publicly but will be available in our data product for even deeper analysis and benchmarking.

Where and how will the ranking be published?

The rankings will be published online and in print by both THE and WSJ.
In addition to the ranking results, both publications will present a number of analyses of the results from our editorial teams.

 

Inclusion criteria

 

What are the inclusion criteria?

Business schools are required to be accredited by AACSB, EFMD or AMBA and offer one of the following programmes: MBA, master’s in finance, master’s in management.

There is no specific requirement for size/number of students, but there will a minimum response requirement in terms of our alumni survey.

Will you only be considering residential programmes?

For the first year of the rankings full-time only courses will be included. In future years we may look to expand on the range of courses we include.

Will all participating schools be ranked?

Inclusion will depend on the quality of data available – for example, we might exclude schools if we do not receive responses from a sufficient sample of their alumni. We also reserve the right to use editorial judgement in exceptional cases. However, our intention is to provide a ranking of all qualifying institutions.

  

Methodology

 

Will you be using a GMAT measure?

We are currently planning to use GMAT as a global measure of students’ level but are considering GRE and GPA to see if there is a workable mapping available.

Will you be measuring career placement?

No, we will not be using career placement measures, as those show low variance across schools (almost all of them are around the 90 per cent mark) and as such this is not a very meaningful metric.

What weight will you apply to each metric?

The final weights will be decided after consultation, when all the data have been analysed and the metrics scored; the weights will be disclosed in the full methodology we will publish with the ranking.

Do you have a detailed description of all the metrics?

We have not yet finalised the methodology – for the moment, the metrics list is preliminary (see below for the latest version of metrics and weighting ranges), and all metrics are subject to being modified or excluded if we cannot gather data of sufficient scope or quality.
We are currently consulting with business schools on metrics, which will also feed into our decision.

Are you considering measuring the impact of schools’ research and teaching on business, organisational and policy practice?

The focus for these rankings will be teaching quality, rather than research excellence, asking alumni specific questions about their learning experience.
We are, however, open to adding external measures of teaching quality if the right data can be gathered: indicators that are universal (ie, comparable across all countries) and likely to be either (1) gathered by all schools or (2) found in reliable public datasets (such as OECD or World Bank indicators) would be good sources.
On the subject of research, measuring a school’s research production is possible, and we do so in one of our metrics; measuring this research’s impact is much more difficult to do, especially across many countries.

How will you compare financial (or financial-related) data across regions? (such as university cost, salary etc)

In our salary gain metric, we will use normalising indicators to account for regional differences, at the country level and when possible a more fine-grained geographical level too (RPP/PPP); we will also take into account the sector or industry.
The purpose behind the salary metric is to consider what in the salary change (which can be negative) is a result of the education the student received at the school rather than other factors (student changed country, changed industry, etc). We will therefore try to normalise for as many factors as possible to make both (1) all students’ salaries and (2) one student’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ salaries comparable.

Is your ranking process verified independently?

We intend to use PwC to provide a limited assurance audit of our MBA ranking, ie, validate that our data gathering and analysis are correct and do correspond to our methodology.


Draft pillars, metrics and weightings 

Download draft pillars, metrics and weightings


Webinar slides

Access the slides from the WSJ / THE Global Business School Rankings webinar


Data collection 

Data collection

 

 

General

What are your data sources?

Data will be sourced from the following:
1. direct submissions from schools through our portal for the majority of our Resources and Environment metrics
2. an alumni survey, asking students for feedback on a variety of Engagement questions
3. feedback from employers (TBD)
4. Elsevier for all bibliometric data
5. public sources (OECD, World Bank...) for reference data such as RPP

 

How do you validate data submitted by universities?

Data will be cross checked against external sources, at our discretion, and we reserve the right to investigate institutions where we believe inappropriate data collection or submission has taken place.

Alumni survey

Who will the alumni survey target?

We are still consulting on this point, as we are aware that some cohorts are already being surveyed for other rankings.
We plan to survey two groups of alumni: alumni who graduated recently and have fresh memories of their experience (years ago) and alumni who graduated longer ago and have had time to see the effects of the degree on their life and career (4/5 years ago).

Note that we might in the first year survey three cohorts instead of two to ensure we have a sufficient number of responses to start with; in subsequent years, we would use 2 years’ data to prevent volatility of the survey-based metrics.

 

Is there a minimum requirement in terms of response rates from alumni in the alumni survey?

There will be an absolute minimum number of responses required, as well as a possible additional threshold depending on the cohort size.

 

How will the alumni survey be administered?

The survey can be administered in two ways:
(1) Business schools and universities provide THE with alumni email addresses for THE to distribute the survey to;
(2) THE provides business schools and universities with the link to the survey to distribute to their alumni directly. Before being provided with the link to the survey the business school/university will be required to sign a declaration confirming the group they will send the survey to. This will be subject to verification.

 

What questions will you ask the alumni?

The final questions and wording have yet to be finalised, but we aim to ask a core set of questions to find out about students’ learning experience as well as more business-school-specific questions (real-world teaching relevance, impact on employment, use of alumni network, social good...).

 

Will you share the survey instrument with schools?

Yes; we will share the questions themselves with the school and will also publish the questions in our methodology.

Employer survey

How is the employer survey designed?

We are planning to source employers for the employer survey from both business schools and independently recruited panels.

 

How will the employer survey be administered?

Employers will be sent a link to the survey to be completed during September and October.

 

How do you select employers to survey?

Employers are selected based on industry and regional spread and numbers of MBA graduates recruited.

Access the slides from the WSJ / THE Global Business School Rankings webinar

 

What type of employers will you be surveying?

Employers who typically recruit MBA and master’s graduate students will be the target for the employer survey.

After the ranking...

Will participating schools be given access to their data?

Schools who participate will be sent an overview of their performance across pillars and metrics, giving them their score in each and the general distribution across all ranked universities.

 

Will participating schools be able to benchmark their data against peers?

We will be offering a product, similar to our DataPoints and US College Rankings Dashboard products, enabling universities to benchmark their performance against chosen peers and better understand their own scores.

Read next: overview of the THE Global Business School Rankings

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Reader's comments (1)

As an enthusiastic follower of the THE, I welcome this new initiative; however, I am a bit surprised to see that accreditation by at least one of the three professional accreditation bodies (i.e. AACSB, AMBA, EFMD) has been set as one of the eligibility criteria for this new ranking to come. This is because I think that this type of accreditation, which is a voluntary path for business schools to follow, and in that different from the institutional accreditation or official recognition (e.g. Regional/National accreditation of the unis in the US, HEFCE recognition based on successful QAA review in the UK, etc.), could be included as another KPI with a specific weight, rather than as a pre-condition. Given there are also "diversity and engagement" aspects mentioned above, I think this criterion (i.e. professional accreditation) might play an adverse role, leading some quality business schools with strong links to industry to be left out. Regards,

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