QS Best Student Cities 2018: Highlights

London has been named as the top location in the world for students, after replacing Montreal at the top of the QS Best Student Cities ranking.

This edition of the ranking placed London top for the first time. It has more ranked institutions than any of the 100 cities in the exercise and performed well in QS’s survey of over 50,000 students.

Perhaps the most dramatic move in the 2018 ranking is Tokyo’s rise from sixth to second place, beating its previous high of 3rd place. It was the city that led our Employer Activity indicator, and, were it in possession of a more diverse student population, may have led the table.

There are six elements to the ranking: the performance of a city’s universities in QS rankings; the proportion of students and their international diversity; quality of life; employer activity; affordability; and the student view of the quality of their experience and willingness to remain in the city after graduating.

Melbourne has moved up to third place, from fifth in 2017, while Zurich has entered the top 10 in eighth place. No US city appears in the top 10, following declines in their scores for affordability, employer activity and student mix: the best American entrant is Boston (13th, down five places). Australia and Germany retain their status as particularly desirable nations, with two top-ten cities each.

Although dropping to fourth place – losing the global ascendancy it enjoyed last year – Montreal remains the students’ favourite, while Toronto is deemed the most desirable city from quality of life surveys and figures for crime and pollution. Budapest is ranked top for affordability, just ahead of Kuala Lumpur.

Other recent surveys have suggested that students’ perception of a university’s location is playing an increasingly important part in the process of choosing where to study. A favourable rating is also important to the cities concerned – a recent study from the Higher Education Policy Institute estimated that international students are worth £4.64 billion a year to London.

London has two universities in the top 10 of the QS World University Rankings and 18 in all. Ben Sowter, who heads the QS Intelligence Unit, which produces the ranking, said: “London benefits from outstanding employment prospects, more world-class universities than any other city, and enviable lifestyle opportunities. These factors mean that it remains a great place to study despite eye-watering costs, as our student survey made clear.”

To qualify for the ranking, cities must have a population of at least 250,000 and contain a minimum of two ranked universities. New entrants to the ranking this year include Stuttgart, Dubai, Cape Town, Graz, Nagoya, Brighton and Miami.





Onassis Prize winners announced

The winners of this year’s Onassis Prizes were announced at a ceremony held at London’s Mansion House on the 8th of May. The awards are given to academics who have done work in the fields of finance, international trade and shipping, whose work would not otherwise be given a platform for global recognition.

The Onassis Prize for Finance went to Professor Stephen Ross, from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Ross’ most famous work includes his ‘arbitrage pricing theory’ and the ‘theory of agency’. He also co-discovered ‘risk neutral pricing’ and the ‘binomial model’ for pricing derivatives (non-finance scholars might be advised to look these up). Ross commented that he was “humbled” to be given the award.

Harvard’s Professor Elhanan Helpman, best known for his ‘new trade’ and ‘new growth’ theories, was given the Onassis Prize for International Trade. He spoke about the growing importance of international trade, and hoped that recognition of this would lead to wider understanding of his field.

Finally, the Onassis Prize for Shipping was shared between Professors Ernst Frankel (MIT), Richard Goss (Cardiff University), and Arnljot Stromme Svendesn (the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration). All three of are in semi-retirement, and long been prominent in the field of shipping . Goss reflected that “I am naturally delighted at receiving the prize and glad to share it with my good friends and colleagues Stromme Svendsen and Ernst Frankel.”

Commenting on the winners, Professor Costas Grammenos, founder of Cass Business School’s International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the awards said:
“The Onassis Prizes recognise the lifetime contribution of some of the world’s most highly respected academics in finance, international trade and shipping.  I warmly congratulate the winners whose distinguished achievements have profoundly influenced their disciplines and continue to have an impact on academic thinking and business conduct worldwide.”

The Onassis awards are handed out triennially (once every three years) by London’s Cass Business School and the Onassis Foundation, founded by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in memory of his son Alexander, who died in a plane crash in 1973. Winners are chosen by a panel of academics, which includes two Nobel laureates. It is hoped that one day the awards will one day achieve the same status as the Nobel Prize in Economics. Each prize is worth US$200,000.