THE to launch new Global Business School Rankings

Times Higher Education to partner with The Wall Street Journal to produce business school rankings in spring 2018

June 29, 2017
A businessman viewing a world map with key cities connected by dots
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Times Higher Education is to launch a pioneering new set of global business school rankings in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, the biggest circulation newspaper in the US. Building on the success of the Wall Street Journal/THE College Rankings, which rank more than 1,000 US universities and colleges based on teaching excellence and graduate success, THE has confirmed that it will deepen its work with the WSJ to produce a set of business school rankings focusing on three key postgraduate programmes – MBAs, Master’s in Finance and Master’s in Management.

The new rankings are scheduled to be published in spring 2018, and the detailed methodology will be finalised after extensive consultation with master’s students, alumni and business schools across the world.

A core component of the ranking will be a unique worldwide survey of recent business school graduates, developed from the THE Student Survey used to power the WSJ/THE College Rankings. The survey probes how much students have been intellectually engaged and challenged by their teaching, and how they apply their learning, as well as examining key questions such as their interaction with staff, the real-world applications of their learning and whether they would recommend their course to others.

Other aspects of the rankings will look at the teaching resources available to students, the environment in which students work and, crucially, how successful graduates of each of the programmes are (the career success of graduates from each programme).

Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, at THE, said: “Our expertise and authority on university performance has been developed across the five decades since the first edition of Times Higher Education was published in 1971, and it has been fine-tuned over the past decade through our production of the globally renowned World University Rankings.

“We are delighted to be developing deeper and richer data insights at the subject level in this important and crowded global market, where consumer information, especially around value for money and return on investment, is crucial.”

Matt Symonds, Editorial Consultant for the Global Business School Rankings, said: “There has been tremendous growth in global demand for the Master’s in Management and Master’s in Finance, but very few opportunities for potential applicants to take a deeper dive into the strengths of each programme and to evaluate graduate outcomes. Our survey of hundreds of business school applicants from more than 35 countries highlights the need for better and more reliable information. We are also consulting with schools to ensure that the MBA and master’s rankings provide the same level of transparency and credibility as THE’s World University Rankings.”

To speak to one of our data experts about the methodology used in the rankings and to join our consultation – and to ensure that your business school’s programmes are included in our analysis – email businessrankings@timeshighereducation.com.

Global Business School Rankings: an overview

1. Who is Times Higher Education?

Times Higher Education has been a consistent and vocal supporter of excellence in higher education over five decades. The THE team has investigated and analysed the global higher education system week in and week out, covering everything from the business of education leaders to the education of business leaders.

We provide insight and analysis for universities and business schools through our journalism and data, act as a global platform for brand promotion and strategic hiring, and help to drive consensus and transparency in performance through university rankings. We also run an elite series of annual leadership gatherings around the world, which provide opportunities to network and share ideas on how to improve.

THE data give a view of performance that helps students choose schools, academics plan research collaborations, university leaders develop strategy and governments allocate funding. The THE World University Rankings were launched in 2004, making them one of the first global ranking systems in the world. We are amassing the world’s largest and most comprehensive set of higher education institutional and system-level data, currently covering more than 2,500 of the leading research and teaching institutions across the globe.

We are immensely proud of the work that we have done over the past decade to develop transparent and standard methods and metrics with which to measure and rank higher education institutions. We have worked with leaders from the top universities on every continent to make available reliable and valuable information and insights, via software. Our THE DataPoints tools assist university decision-makers to achieve their goals, whether that be attracting students, adapting to new policy frameworks or shaping perceptions in the crucial academic community.

Through the World University Rankings, THE evaluates more than 1,000 of the world’s leading research-intensive universities from 70 countries, against 13 performance indicators. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings evaluates more than 1,100 leading colleges and universities in the US, while the THE Japan University Rankings do the same for 400 Japanese institutions – and both exercises focus on teaching and student outcomes. THE has been at the forefront of developing new teaching and student-outcome focused methodologies and research methods, and it will apply the same approach in 2018 in a new ranking of universities across Europe.

Thirty-three per cent of prospective international students consult the THE World University Rankings when choosing their university (Hobsons, 2015), and the THE World University Rankings are built into national policy goals in Russia, Japan, China and many other countries.

This year, we are working with the global business education community to pioneer new performance metrics that capture institutional effectiveness in educating students, capturing a better balance between excellence and diversity within the global system.

2. Why another business school ranking?

Our research has shown that, although applicants to business school are well served by rankings, many are superficial projects that often fail to provide high-quality information and insights. Times Higher Education has identified an opportunity to produce an innovative new set of business school rankings, in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, focusing on three key postgraduate programmes – MBAs, Master’s in Finance and Master’s in Management.

We have embarked on a consultation spanning the world’s business schools and their students to better understand how a new ranking could be developed that better assists students seeking the best schools and courses to meet their ambitions, especially those individuals planning to study in another country. At the same time, we plan to use our experience of developing robust rankings methodologies to create a balanced set of indicators that better reflects the wealth of expertise, experience and specialisation available from business schools all over the world.

Excellence and diversity
Just as no two students have the same needs, so no two business schools offer the same solutions – and we aim to develop a methodology and a way of presenting our Global Business School Rankings that provides a more effective way for internationally mobile and domestic candidates alike to find their ideal MBA or master’s study destination.

We believe that a pursuit of this goal will, in time, produce a better business school rankings system, focusing on excellence and diversity.

At maximum, this will be the start of a performance measurement framework that allows educational effectiveness to be compared across business schools globally. At minimum, the new rankings will avoid falling into the trap of measuring a narrow set of schools on a narrow set of criteria. While our experience tells us that quality will win out every time, it also makes it clear that diversity will bring advantages to the entire sector, both in terms of attracting the best students to the right schools and in addressing the perception of business schools as being the preserve of a wealthy elite.

We will provide access to the data through powerful tools that are designed in close partnership with business schools, and we will take the rankings to an international audience, helping institutions reach overseas academics, build partnerships and reach internationally mobile students planning the next stage in their careers.

3. What kind of performance will you measure and how?

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education business programme ranking will measure performance through four pillars, similar to those we used in the WSJ/THE College Rankings: Resources, Outcomes, Engagement and Environment.

The Engagement pillar will focus on a worldwide survey of recent business school graduates, developed from the THE Student Survey used to power the WSJ/THE College Rankings. We will assess how much students have been intellectually engaged and challenged by their teaching, how they applied their learning to the real world, as well as examining key questions such as the quality of their interaction with staff and whether they would recommend their course to others.

The Environment pillar will measure the diversity and inclusiveness of the school’s environment, and the Resources pillar will focus on the resources available to the students at each school: staff numbers and quality, career support, and cohort level.

Finally, the Outcomes pillar will quantify often hard-to-measure concepts such as the value of the professional network students are introduced to, their employment opportunities and career success, and the school’s contribution to social good. A survey of employers will add a further dimension to give their view on how well business schools educate future business leaders.

Here are the metrics that we are considering at this stage:

Potential metrics for the THE Global Business School Rankings

4. Opportunities for business schools

There are three ways that your institution can take advantage of the Times Higher Education rankings process. You can:

  1. Benefit from a business school profile on the THE website
  2. Help us to understand the structure of your school or campus
  3. Help to shape the rankings for the future 

Business school profiles
Business schools will be invited to submit data about their institution, programmes, staff and students via the THE Data Collection Portal. These data will form the basis of the rankings. Once you have nominated the data provider for your institution, we will set up account access and provide detailed information about the data required and the process of data submission and validation. We have a dedicated team on hand to help answer any questions your team may have. Each business school that participates and submits data will have a profile on the rankings section of the THE website promoting their school.

Help clarify how to best to showcase your university campuses or system
We aim to rank some 200 global business schools, and we have developed our initial target list based on accredited members of AACSB, EFMD and AMBA. We realise that some business schools have multiple campuses that may or may not wish to be treated independently.

Help us to understand how your system or university network would like to be positioned by contacting us at businessrankings@timeshighereducation.com, and submitting a recommendation for us to consider.

Provide us with feedback
Let us know what challenges you foresee, and what recommendations you have, for us as we embark on this journey to build a new global business schools ranking system – one that rewards excellence among business schools but also promotes diversity across the whole sector.

5. Process and dates – what to expect

In spring 2017, Times Higher Education began the research phase of the development of the new business school ranking, collecting data and the views and suggestions of current and former business school students. This will lay the groundwork for the consultation that THE will engage in with the business schools community, running through to autumn 2017, when data-gathering will begin via the THE Data Collection Portal, which thousands of institutions already use to submit data and participate in our rankings. Data collection will run from late August to early October 2017.

Once the Data Collection Portal closes, we conduct our validation processes. These involve a risk-based series of automated and manual cross-checks of the data to detect anomalies and errors in both institutional figures and the results of our own primary or secondary research processes. Throughout this stage, we have a high degree of engagement with institutions whose data are to be checked or confirmed before rankings calculation can begin.

The rankings calculation process – which will be audited by PwC, in line with all THE’s major global rankings – will be undertaken towards the end of 2017. We aim to publish our business school rankings early in 2018.

We provide ranked institutions with a data sheet a short time in advance of publication to allow them to perform a last-minute verification and to see for the first time where they are ranked. This is also a crucial time to engage with marketing, communications and website teams within business schools, as they can use this window to prepare their own communications, publicising successes and providing further context where the rankings do not live up to expectations. We understand that this is a sensitive time for institutions, and we do our best to work with them so that results can be communicated accurately, consistently and objectively.

Key dates:

Activity Start date End date
Data collection 02 October 2017 30 November 2017
Alumni survey 02 October 2017 30 November 2017
Employer survey November 2017 December 2017
Data validation December 2017 January 2018
Rankings production Spring 2018  

6. Contact details

If you have any questions about the methodology, data collection or any aspect of the business rankings, please contact us at businessrankings@timeshighereducation.com


Read: Global Business School Rankings frequently asked questions


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Reader's comments (2)

The Financial Times have been producing credible global rankings for many years now. I'm surprised that this article doesn't mention that?
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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