QS MBA Rankings 2022

According to QS, these business schools offer the top 10 MBA programs in the world.

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  2. Harvard Business School
  3. Penn (Wharton)
  4. HEC Paris
  5. MIT (Sloan)
  6. London Business School
  7. IE University
  8. INSEAD
  9. Columbia Business School
  10. IESE Business School

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 and the criteria used to arrive at the final ranking. If you would prefer to read our analysis of the 2022 list and how to use it to find your ideal MBA, scroll to the bottom of the article.

What is the QS Global MBA Ranking?

The QS Global MBA Ranking measures the top MBA programs from around the world. It has been published every year since 2017, and the 2022 ranking features 286 programs. To be eligible for the ranking, the MBA must be taught mainly on-campus, be full-time, and have an average class size of at least 15. It must also be accredited by either the AACSB, AMBA, or EQUIS. 

Daniel Khan is a Senior Data Analyst at QS who works on their MBA ranking. He told us that by growing the ranking every year, they’re hoping to change the thinking of MBA applicants.

“There are 800 business schools accredited by AACSB at the moment, and more by the other accreditation bodies. We’re hoping to change the ideas of the business school applicant to realize there are more than 100 business schools out there,” he says. (11:52)

He went on to explain how the QS MBA Ranking 2022 differs from previous years:

“This year we will be ranking around 300 MBA programs. We’ve increased the ranking not just from your typical regions for MBA programs, such as Europe and North America, but we’re also now looking at more programs and, to specify, accredited programs in the Middle East, in Asia, in Latin America…I think this is the biggest change that has happened since the start of the rankings.” (02:11)

What are the criteria of the ranking?

Although QS already has a well-established methodology for its World University Ranking, Daniel tells us that the methodology of their MBA ranking differs slightly, to cater to the needs of MBA applicants.

“The methodology is really borrowing bits from the university level [ranking], which we have been doing since 2004, combined with factors which are important for the typical MBA or business school applicant,” he explains. (01:18)

“The criteria which the [MBA] applicants are telling us are most important are employability (which carries around 40% of the weighting), value for money, alumni outcomes, thought leadership, and diversity,” he adds. (03:06)

Let’s take a closer look at those criteria:

Employability (40%)
The employability criteria refer to the QS Global Employer Survey (35%) and the graduate employment rate (5%). As the name suggests, the global employer survey asks 40,000+ employers to name the business schools they prefer hiring from. The remaining 5% of this criteria measures the employment rate of students three months after graduation.

Return on Investment (20%)
The return on investment indicator is split into 10-Year ROI (15%) and Payback Period (5%). The payback period refers to the time it takes graduates to pay back the cost of their MBA. QS calculates their score for Return on Investment by factoring in pre- and post-graduation salaries, tuition fees, foregone salary, and living costs over a 10-year period. They don’t include loans or scholarships in the calculation. 

Entrepreneurship and Alumni Outcomes (15%)
QS gathers the data for alumni outcomes (10%) themselves from public sources, looking at which schools have the most senior employees in major companies. The entrepreneurship (5%) section looks at successful entrepreneurs listed on Crunchbase.

Thought Leadership (15%)
This is an attempt to measure the prestige and respectability of an MBA program. To do this, QS surveys almost 35,000 academics in their QS Academic Survey (10%), uses Elsevier’s Scopus database to measure the research impact of schools (2.5%), and looks at the percentage of a business school faculty that hold a doctorate (2.5%).

Class and Faculty Diversity (10%)
The final criteria of the QS MBA Rankings 2022 measures the diversity of a school’s students and faculty. It looks at both the percentage of women and the percentage of international students and faculty.

Analysis of the QS Global MBA 2022 ranking

This year’s top 10 is an equal split of European and American business schools. Stanford Graduate School of Business retains its number one spot from last year, while Spain’s IESE Business School enters the top 10 of the ranking for the first time. However, the top 25 is largely unchanged from last year. Daniel explains the reasons behind that:

“Around half of the [ranking] methodology is devoted to reputation – academic reputation and employer reputation. We find that reputation doesn’t change drastically year-on-year….with this in mind, the rankings do keep quite stable and you always find the same schools near the top.” (08:14)

Daniel also says that although the top of the rankings are steady, the situation is different further down. This is shown in the case of EMLyon Business School, which has risen from 97th in 2020 to 55th in 2022. Another notable rise came from UBC Sauder School of Business, which jumped almost 40 places to rank 84th in this year’s list.

Europe and the United States dominate the upper reaches of the ranking, occupying the top 25 spots. Despite fears that Brexit could affect the country’s higher education sector, the United Kingdom leads the way in Europe, with a total of 27 schools in the ranking and nine in the top 100. France has seven schools in the top 100 while Spain has four.

Outside of those regions, Melbourne Business School in Australia is the highest-ranked school (26th). The National University of Singapore is the top business school in Asia (28th) while EGADE Business School leads the way in Latin America (51st).

How to use the QS Global MBA rankings to find your perfect MBA

With almost 300 schools in the ranking, it can be a challenge to find the MBA that’s right for you. That’s why it’s important to not only look at the rankings, but also to learn how to use them to help with your search. Daniel suggests firstly looking beyond the ranking and instead at the indicators that are included in the list.

“My recommendation would be to filter by the country they’re looking to go, or the region they’re looking to go [to],” he suggests. “Then, look at the individual criteria such as the schools which are the most diverse or the schools which have the best value for money. It’s important to use those extra data points which we provide in the ranking.” (07:27)

Just because a business school is ranked number one in the world doesn’t mean it’s number one for you. Think about how an MBA could help you achieve your goals and draw up a list of criteria that it needs to meet. Dig deeper into the ranking and start to make a shortlist of the programs that top your own ranking.