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 The QS TopMBA Global 200 has been released for 2014-2015.  With its international focus and emphasis on employability and recruitability, this continues to be a useful tool in determining which business schools are worth the money.

Hot on the heels of Bloomberg, this year’s QS Topmba rankings have been released.  These rankings focus almost exclusively on surveys of global employers, and as such, should be seen in a very different light than any other ranking out there.  QS did add 15% for “academic reputation” this year, but it had little to no impact in the top six: Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg and Columbia are safe yet again.

In North America, certain trends jump out.  Yale climbed the QS ranking and the Bloomberg ranking this year — a coup for the school, it would seem.  Yale is ranked 11th, up from 17th, this year in QS.  Canada overall sank in the rankings, with its top school, Rotman Toronto, dropping to 14 from 8.  One shocking loser in this year’s QS rankings is Vanderbilt Owen, which plummeted from #37 to #86 — a testament to the volatility of ranking by survey.  Owen’s drop in the Bloomberg rankings was much less precipitous, from 25 down to 30.  USC Marshall and UT Austin McCombs also made substantial gains in this year’s rankings.

One of the most eyeball-grabbing figures in the 2014-2015 QS rankings is the precipitous drop in overall score after Rotman at #14.  It plummets from 90 to 78, a massive 12 point drop, and by rank #17, Desautels McGill, the overall score is down to 71 percent.  This suggests that somewhere around this point in the rankings, the limitations of the survey size probably began to make themselves felt, and fluctuations in the lower 70-80 percent of the rankings should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The international trends are equally fascinating.  While business schools in the US and Europe remain the most popular study destinations among MBA students, schools elsewhere in the world such as those in Asia are growing in popularity.  According to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey 2014, over 50% of MBA students are choosing schools based on the country in which they wish to work — a very sensible decision, if you ask us.

In Europe, IE, IESE and IMD (the magic Is) were slightly displaced by (relative) newcomers like HEC Paris and Judge school in Cambridge.  SDA Bocconi in Italy continues to do well in QS rankings.  Again, there are massive overall score dropoffs at #11 and #14.

In Asia, INSEAD Singapore borrows name and reputation recognition from its powerful European sibling, scoring more than 35 points higher than any other school in Asia overall (although still much lower than the top European and American business schools).  The highest ranked mainland Chinese school, Beijing BiMBA, has an overall score of 25.3, and there are only 30 schools in the Asia ranking. 

Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have 15 total schools to offer out of the top 200, none ranking higher than 23.5 points overall, mostly suffering by dint of professional name recognition.  As the economy continues to globalize, the reputations of these schools will undoubtedly continue to improve.

Overall, it's worth remembering not to place too much emphasis on this (or any) particular ranking, but rather to consider them holistically, as part of a spectrum of information about top schools.  That said, as the importance of global business school rankings continues to increase, we can only hope that the rigor of QS's methodology will increase along with it, making this a reliable ranking for years to come.