Quacquarelli Symonds
Quacquarelli Symonds is a company specializing in education and study abroad. The company was founded in 1990 by Wharton School MBA graduate Nunzio Quacquarelli. Today, QS has over 200 employees and operates globally from offices in London (head office in Hampstead, North London), New York, Paris, Singapore, Stuttgart, Boston, Washington DC, Sydney, Shanghai, Johannesburg and Alicante. QS provides services for undergraduates, graduates, Masters
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

, PhDs, MBA, and EMBA
EMBA may refer to:*Executive Master of Business Administration degree*Eastern Marching Band Association...

 candidates. It offers publications and events to broaden the scope of study abroad
Study abroad
Studying abroad is the act of a student pursuing educational opportunities in a country other than one's own. This can include primary, secondary and post-secondary students...

. QS runs events and produces guides for postgraduates across 35 countries.

QS World University Rankings

QS launched the World University Rankings in 2004, in cooperation with the Times Higher Education Supplement. QS and THE ceased their business relationship after the publication of the 2009 Rankings. QS assumed sole publication of the existing methodology when Times Higher Education split in order to create a new ranking methodology in 2010, which became the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Times Higher Education World University Rankings
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an international ranking of universities published by the British magazine Times Higher Education in partnership with Thomson Reuters, which provided citation database information...


In 2011, the QS World University Rankings were published online and by media partners around the world, including US News and World Report. The University of Cambridge was top for the second successive year. The 2011 Rankings will also be published in book form, the sixth year that this has happened. The book series – called Guide to the World’s Top Universities and Top Universities Guide - allows institution profiles, student guidance and other information to be published alongside the Rankings. From 2010, the Guide has been published in Chinese as well as in English.

The World University Rankings are controversial. Here are some comments and criticisms from experts and the media.


On Thursday 8 October 2009, Sean Flynn of the Irish Times said: “With more than 2,000 colleges surveyed, the QS World University Rankings are regarded as the most reliable guide to university performance.”

“The ranking, a collaboration between the THE[S] and higher education consultants Quacquarelli Symonds, is used around the world by consumers — parents and students — as well as academics looking for work and employers seeking recruits.” The Australian
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

, Australia, 2009

“The [THE] – QS table is the only international table that aspires to embrace the broader scope of a university’s mission rather than just its research quality or website effectiveness.”
Malay Mail, Malaysia 2009.

“This year's rankings attracted a record level of responses from the academic community and employers, with results suggesting that the dominance of the traditionally elite universities is increasingly being challenged.”
The Evening Times, UK, 2009

THE editor, Ann Mroz told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday 13 October 2008: "These rankings use an unprecedented amount of data to deliver the most accurate measure available of the world’s best universities, and of the strength of different nations’ university systems. They are important for governments wanting to gauge the progress of their education systems, and are used in planning by universities across the world."

However, commenting in 2009 on Times Higher Education’s decision to split from QS, THE editor Ann Mroz said: “universities deserve a rigorous, robust and transparent set of rankings - a serious tool for the sector, not just an annual curiosity." She went on to explain the reason behind the decision to continue to produce rankings without QS’ involvement, saying that: "The responsibility weighs heavy on our shoulders...we feel we have a duty to improve how we compile them.”


Writing in The Australian
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

, reporter Luke Slattery said: "The other international bellwether of university performance, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University or SJTU), sometimes referred to as Shanghai Jiaotong University , is a top public research university located in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China...

world university ranking, will be released next month. The SHJT ranking focuses more on research in the sciences and is regarded by most experts as a more rigorous measure than the THES league table, if more mono-dimensional."

Quacquarelli Symonds has been faulted for some data collection errors. For instance between 2006 and 2007 Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

 fell from 48th to 161st because QS mistakenly replaced it with the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 in Seattle. QS committed a similar error when collecting data for Fortune magazine, confusing the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler business school with one from North Carolina Central University.

On 15 October 2009, The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

, reported: "While Cambridge, UCL, Imperial and Oxford top both the QS and Sunday Times rankings (albeit in different orders), the world rankings are not always popular among our leading universities. “The world ranking is the league table we love to hate” said Niall Scott, Director of Corporate Communications at the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

, “because the methodology seems to punish smaller institutions. To us it’s an anomalous result. We are consistently top five domestically but suddenly find ourselves further down the world rankings and behind universities that are behind us domestically. There’s no logic, no science to that. It is a different methodology.”

The AllAboutUni.com assessment highlights a number of important differences between the two major rankings of the World’s Top-25 universities. THE-QS, which is a British publication, is a more international ranking but it appears to have a bias for British universities and a bias against public US universities. In addition, two highly ranked universities in ARWU – Stanford (ranked 2nd) and Berkeley (ranked 3rd) – are ranked significantly lower by THE-QS.

From a student perspective, Bridget Fitzsimons, a student journalist at University College Dublin
University College Dublin
University College Dublin ) - formally known as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin is the Republic of Ireland's largest, and Ireland's second largest, university, with over 1,300 faculty and 17,000 students...

(UCD), wrote ratings, such as the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings can never be fully relevant to students.

Asian Rankings

QS began publishing its Asian University Rankings http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/asian-university-rankings/2011 in 2009. They use some of the same data as the World University Rankings as well as new information on topics such as universities' inbound and outbound exchange students. Top Asian university in 2011 was Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, followed by the University of Hong Kong. The Asian rankings are generally published in the (northern hemisphere) spring. In 2011 the Asian rankings were published in numerical order from 1 to 150, then in bands of 10 to 200, and then in a single group of 201+ institutions.

Latin American Rankings

The QS Latin America University Rankings http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/latin-american-university-rankings/2011 were published for the first time in October 2011 and were widely noticed by the regional media. They showed that the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil is the top institution in Latin America. They use some criteria in common with the World University Rankings and others developed in consultation with experts in the area. The final ranking is derived from academic review (30 per cent), employer review (20 per cent), citations per paper, papers per faculty member, percentage of faculty with a PhD, faculty/student ratio and web visibility (10 per cent for each of these five). Web visibility is derived from Webometrics http://www.webometrics.info/ and the citations and papers data comes from Scopus, as with the main and Asian rankings. There is an explanation of the methodology here http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/latin-american-university-rankings/2011.

Rankings by subject

In 2011 QS began to publish the World University Rankings by subject for 26 disciplines from chemical engineering to music. These rankings http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings use academic review, employer review and citations data in combinations varied to match the culture of the different subjects.


The QS Intelligence Unit is a part of QS which provides strategic information to business schools, universities, and employers going beyond the information contained in the World University Rankings. Its products include:
  • The QS Global 200 Business Schools: The Employers' Choice, a list of the business schools that attract the most international recruiters.
  • TopMBA Recruitment and Salary Report, an annual survey of MBA employers worldwide to determine trends in international salaries and recruitment.
  • TopMBA Applicants Research Report, which analyses the status, attitudes, goals and ambitions of MBA applicants annually.
  • TopGradSchool Applicants Research Report, analogous to TopMBA but concentrating on a broader range of postgraduate applicants.


QS draws on the data collected for the QS World University Rankings and other information which it gathers to offer a benchmarking services to universities, comparing them with their peers.

QS Stars

QS Stars is a system used to evaluate universities on a range of performance indicators. These include research quality, graduate employability, careers service support, teaching quality, infrastructure such as sports facilities and medical care, student societies and accommodation, IT and libraries, international appeal, innovation and knowledge transfer, and community involvement.


QS delivers admissions and careers service solutions for universities, business schools, alumni networks and other relevant communities that require online; outreach, enquiry management, applications and networking solutions.

QS MBA Events

QS runs a number of MBA related events, notably the World MBA Tour and TopMBA Connect 121, in major cities around the world designed to provide a meeting place for business schools and prospective MBA candidates. Schools that regularly attend these events include University of Chicago Booth School of Business, USC Marshall, NYU Stern, the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management
S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is the graduate business school of Cornell University, a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. It was founded in 1946 and renamed in 1984 after Samuel Curtis Johnson, founder of S.C...

 at Cornell, INSEAD
INSEAD is an international graduate business school and research institution. It has campuses in Europe , Asia , and the Middle East , as well as a research center in Israel...

, IE Business School, ESADE
The Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas is a college associated with the Ramon Llull University located in Barcelona, Spain. ESADE is composed of three departments; the ESADE Business School, the ESADE Executive Language Center and the ESADE Law School...

, London Business School
London Business School
London Business School is an international business school and a constituent college of the federal University of London, located in central London, beside Regent's Park...

, HEC Paris, the Desautels Faculty of Management
Desautels Faculty of Management
The Desautels Faculty of Management is one of the constituent faculties of McGill University. The Faculty has been host to the McGill Management International Case Competition since 2001...

 at McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

- As a word :* IMD, Interchange Member Descriptors. * Imd, a family name* Imd, a giantess in Norse mythology, one of the nine Mothers of Heimdall- As an acronym :...

, and CEIBS.


QS Trust awards scholarships each year to six or more outstanding young professionals for their demonstration of socially responsible leadership. The QS Trust also runs a scholarship scheme in collaboration with business schools and universities around the world. In 2009, QS offered US$1,600,000 in scholarship funding to participants from around the world.


  • 1988-90: QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd was founded as a student initiative whilst Nunzio Quacquarelli was completing his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton was the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States...

  • 1990: TopMBA Career Guide and TopMBA International MBA Recruitment and Salary Research launched.
  • 1995: The first QS World MBA Tour was held in just two cities – London and Paris. Today, the tour travels to over 70 cities across five continents.
  • 1996: QS TopMBA Global Recruiters Top 100 Business Schools - an alternative to business school rankings, providing a list of business schools currently preferred by the most international MBA recruiters. In 2009, the name of this report changed to "QS Global 200 Business Schools 2009: The Employers' Choice".
  • 1998: QS TopMBA.com Applicants Research - a survey into the mindset and aspirations of MBA applicants.
  • 2001
    • QS World Grad School Tour was launched; today, the tour visits over 40 cities in more than 30 countries.
    • QS acquired Global Workplace, a network for professionals and employers looking to connect with alumni from international business schools.
  • 2002: QS Career Forums - a program of recruitment and career development events
  • 2004: THE-QS World University Rankings launched in collaboration with the Times Higher Education.
  • 2005
    • Scorecard - an online search and personal ranking tool of business schools worldwide
    • QS APPLE - The Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education annual conference and exhibition for international educators in Asia, Europe, America and Australasia.
    • QS Education Trust - a non-profit trust company providing scholarships for international study to candidates each year.
  • 2005-2006: QS TopApply - a specialized CRM
    Customer relationship management
    Customer relationship management is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing,...

     system was launched that integrates in with business schools' internal application and candidate management processes.
  • 2007: QS TopInternships – a community website for helping first degree and Masters students locate internships, with an initial focus on English speaking countries around the world.
  • 2008: QS Asian University Rankings launch announced in partnership with Chosun Ilbo in Korea.
  • 2009
    • TopUniversities & World of Study Tour launches in London serving high school students and young professionals looking to emigrate through an international degree or vocational qualification.
    • QS acquired German software company unisolution, a European supplier of software solutions and services for institutions of higher education
      Higher education
      Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

      in the area of internationalization.

External links

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