If you were asked which are the five best universities in the world, which five would you choose?
It seems like an odd question, many will respond and ask to be more specific? What type of university? What course? Best university for what subject or what area? These are valid questions, but imagine this question was asked before there was so much intelligence available about higher education institutions. As young as I like to think I am I come from a time where this data was not as readily available. The internet wasn’t in my pocket or handbag, rankings or other evaluations weren’t available or common. I selected my university by either word of mouth, or perhaps where the smartest people I knew went to, or the university I had heard of most i.e. Oxford or Cambridge.
There was also a time people would select a university based on the movies / sitcoms. Those charming characters on television that got into Princeton /Harvard/ Yale; who usually had a fantastic school record, captain of the American football team or head of the cheer-leading team or perhaps attended those universities and had a high flying career. Product placement still plays a strong part today, an example of this can be seen on the American sitcom suits where the company only employs Harvard Law school graduates.
I met an old friend the other day, who asked me what I do now, and as I explained to her what my unit does and the rankings, she was intrigued and her first question was what number do Princeton/ Harvard/ Oxford and Cambridge come in at? I found it interesting that she didn’t even ask about the university that she attended! As her first thoughts when she thought of a good university were these four…
This is why I wanted to hear feedback of our readers and who they would select as their 5 top institutions in the world if any and why they selected those particular institutions….