“Rankings are a mirror held in front of us”: Prof Isabella Grabner on the value of university rankings

Every year, university rankings are released by various publications, ranking schools on criteria such as schools’ admission figures, placement data and starting salaries for graduates, or overall student and alumni satisfaction. How important are these rankings?

telephoneVery, according to Isabella Grabner, associate professor in the Department of Accounting & Information Management at the Maastricht University School of Business.

“Rankings are very important, because they are really like having a mirror held in front of us,” she says. “I take them very seriously. They are an indicator of how we are doing, of where we are doing really well or where we need to improve. Also, they indicate to us in how far we are able to live up to our students’ expectations.”

Grabner says rankings are a valuable branding tool for the university. “They are of course very important for recruiting,” she says. “Particularly for students coming from outside of Europe who may not be familiar with all the universities, they give an indication of the quality of the programme.”

And for graduates, rankings speak to the value of their degree. “It is not so unusual to have a masters degree these days,” Grabner says. “So to make sure your degree stands out in the labour market, graduates want to have a degree from a top university.”

But although rankings are released annually, Grabner says educators can derive more from them if they don’t only look at each year’s results in isolation. “When you look at how you are ranked over a span of time,” she says, “that’s when you can really see where you are consistently doing well or where maybe there’s room for improvement. That’s what makes them most valuable.”

Curious about our rankings? Here’s the list.

Expert Guide

 

Read more about Associate Professor Isabella Grabner on the UM Expert Guide

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