Every year, university rankings are published by Businessweek, the Economist and the Financial Times, including criteria such as schools’ admission figures, placement data and starting salaries for graduates, or overall student and alumni satisfaction. But what is the real value of these rankings?
Huub Meijers, associate professor of economics at the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, says rankings are an important factor, although not the only one. “Rankings are part of the whole portfolio of elements that are important for a school’s reputation. They are not the ultimate element, but they are an important part of a larger set of ways your reputation is formed.”
Meijers says rankings are a valuable branding tool for the university. “We use them indeed for recruiting,” he says. “Recently we asked perspective students how they learned about SBE and 15 percent referred to rankings.”
But beyond a recruitment tool, graduating from a highly ranked school helps students in their careers. “The quality of education is higher, which indicates the quality of the graduate. And it speaks to the quality of the recruitment and application process,” Meijers says. “If SBE is highly ranked, it will help students who are looking for jobs and wanting to advance in their careers.”
Rankings are also a way for an institution to see in which areas it is excelling and in which there could be some improvement. “For our part, we get feedback that is really valuable to help us improve, to see areas that can be better. That’s very useful for us as a university.”
Read more about Huub Meijers on the UM Expert Guide.