There are many different factors feeding into students’ university experience but one undeniable, universal and significant factor is the location of the university itself. More specifically, it is the city that the university is located in or next to. This is especially true for city-based universities that are not able to create the campus ‘bubble’.
Through our research with current and prospective students across the globe, they tell us time and time again that the location of their future institution is really important to them. It brings with it the environment, personal and professional opportunities, local culture and much more. In fact, for many, cultural interest and lifestyle associated with the location of the university is the number one reason they select that university.
As can be seen from the chart below, intentional students from all over the world mentioned location (highlighted in green) in their top five priorities when selecting an institution for a master’s degree:
The pilot edition of the Rankings applies QS’s new innovative approach, intending to take the discussions on employability rankings to the next level. Stanford leads this first edition; more than 20 new institutions place in the top 50.
Employability has been a hot topic for the Higher Education industry for years. With far easier access to a far broader selection of universities, it became an even more relevant aspect of students’ decision making. QS has been measuring employability in all of its rankings, with our Employer Reputation Survey running for over 20 years. But given the public’s special interest in this topic, it was time to expand the analysis, step out of the comfort zone, and create a new, specific ranking.
The primary aim of the QS Graduate Employability Rankings is to help students make informed choices for their educational futures based specifically on the ability of their chosen university to help them succeed in the employment market. Thorough research conducted over the course of 13 months saw consultation with, and input from, academics, university representatives, companies, students and alumni. This year’s experimental methodology was extensively refined throughout the year, and we are delighted to have introduced – for the first time ever in our rankings – unique metrics such as graduate employment rate and university partnerships with employers.
The first ranking of its kind, it was launched in a stunning city of Budapest nearing Christmas, on the 17th of December. We evaluated 368 universities from the region and published the Top 100, where 18 countries were represented.
The event was a success with over 90 delegates representing over 40 different organisations from 15 different countries. It was a very busy day filled with presentations from a variety of stakeholders, revelation of the rankings results, a panel discussion, a masterclass on rankings and even some Hungarian folk dancing!
We were hosted by one of the oldest and largest institutions in Hungary, Eotvos Lorand University. They proved to be a fantastic host with a beautiful university:
Our audience was well-prepared, inquisitive and engaged. We received a fantastic presentation from Bogazici University in Turkey sharing reasons behind their success in the rankings. There was a lot of interest and the questions asked were insightful and often challenging demonstrating that rankings are now much better understood and the demands from the audience are higher.
The first ranking of universities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is published this week by QS, drawing together institutions in a region that is focusing on higher education and research as never before.
Lomonosov Moscow State University emerges as the top university in the region, with a clear lead over Charles University, in Prague, and Novosibirsk State University, which are tied for second place. Warsaw University, in fourth place, has ground to make up on the top three.
For the past few years Universities in Southern Europe had deeply suffered the consequences of the world financial crisis. As most Spanish universities rely mainly on public funding, the Higher Education industry has been particularly affected by the consequences of the budget cuts.
However, the latest edition of the QS World University Ranking shows that Spanish universities are doing its best to overcome the adversities. In general terms, they are performing better for a second year in a row. In the top we find the Catalan flagship universities; the historical University of Barcelona (UB), which this year has progressed from 178 to 166, followed by the Autonomous University of Barcelona; which went up from the 177 position to 173.
Firstly, the event took place in a beautiful city of Prague. Secondly, it was the 10th anniversary of our university rankings! Finally, it was run alongside the EAIE conference – one of the biggest international education conferences in the world. Ben Sowter, the Head of the Intelligence Unit at QS, revealed the Top QS World Universities on the 16th of September during his annual presentation.
(full presentation can be found here: http://www.iu.qs.com/2014/09/global-release-presentation-qs-world-university-rankings-201415/ )
Sticking with the ethos of QS, we had a very diverse audience – over 200 delegates from 33 countries and over 130 different institutions and organisations. The audience was not only diverse but attentive and inquisitive too! This made for a fruitful Q&A session at the end and a lively interaction during the panel discussion.
So here are the highlights:
- The panel discussion: this is something new we tried this year to bring different viewpoints and consider new challenges to rankings and QS in particular. We had a representative from the European Union of Students – Karolina Pietkiewicz, the deputy editor of the PIE – Sara Custer, a representative from Charles University Prague – Václav Hampl, the Executive Director of Deakin University Australia – John Molony and Ben Sowter on the panel. This lent itself to a detailed and necessary discussion about students and how useful rankings are to them! This is especially crucial to QS as the primary purpose of our rankings is to be of use to perspective international students and so it’s important to ensure we are still doing that. We’ve recently released a new app so that reliable information is readily accessible to students and others interested.
The rankings trended on Facebook and Twitter, while nearly 2,000 media outlets around the world reported the results. There were 750,000 page views on the topuniversities.com website in three days.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, received a personal copy of the rankings. He was the latest national leader to receive a briefing on QS rankings. Both the Prime Minister and President of India, Narendra Modi and Pranab Mukherjee, have done so in recent months.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the ranking for the third year in a row, but UK universities presented the nearest challenge. Cambridge and Imperial College London tied for second place, with Harvard fourth.
The QS World University Rankings are global news in their own right, appearing in media across the world on and just after publication day. But they do have some especially distinguished readers.
Here we see Ashwin Fernandes of QS Asia handing a first-day copy of the 2014/15 Rankings to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Also present at the meeting was the deputy prime minister, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Dr Ali Al Noami , vice chancellor of the UAE University. The university is up 42 plaaces to 385 in the new Rankings. Ashwin also handed over a plaque detailing the Rankings results of all UAE universities.
With Oxford and University College London tying for fifth place, it was a vintage year for UK universities. Seven finished in the top 30, the most since the QS rankings were first published in 2004.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, tweeted his congratulations, while Greg Clark, the new Business Innovation and Skills Secretary said the ranking demonstrated that the UK was punching above its weight on research.
A total of 31 countries were represented in the top 200; where the US is the dominant nation, with 51 institutions, ahead of the UK (29), Germany (13), the Netherlands (11), Canada (10), Japan (10) and Australia (eight).
The leading places in the ranking underlined the success of technological universities in recent years. Three appeared in the first eight positions, including top-placed MIT.
Ben Sowter, the QS head of research, said: “In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding source are placing greater emphasis on high-impact STEM research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions. Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine.”
The top ten fastest risers since 2009 are: MIT, Sungkyunkwan University (Korea), EPFL (Switzerland), Stanford, LMU München, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Korea University, Zhejiang University (China), Queen Mary, University of London and ETH Zurich. Eight of these institutions feature key strengths in science and technology.
In the Academic Ranking of World Universities, published in August, MIT moved up to third in a year of more changes than usual in the top 20. Harvard was top for the twelfth time in a row, however, with Stanford second.