QS Execustie MBA Rankings Methodology
Discover the top executive MBA programmes around the world with the QS Executive MBA Rankings.
This comprehensive ranking provides unique global comparative and benchmarking tools for prospective EMBA candidates, with nearly 200 business schools from around the world included.
As well as viewing the results by region, it’s possible to sort schools by any of the five indicators used to compile the ranking.
The QS EMBA Rankings combine input from thought leaders in business & management alongside the perceptions of global employers who recruit from the world’s best EMBA programs, and is further enhanced by program-specific indicators. The results bring together over 200 schools & programs, each of which were surveyed. A total of 202 programs were ranked, 26 of which are joint EMBA programs.
In order for a school to be eligible, two preconditions must be met:
- Schools must have at least one graduating class
- Schools must have either AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS or EPAS accreditation
While these preconditions are essential, it can nonetheless be difficult to define exactly what should be classified as an Executive MBA. One guarantee of a program being an EMBA despite issues with naming or description, is the program being registered with the Executive MBA Council.
EMBAs that follow all preconditions can still feature technical aspects that make their classification potentially problematic. For example, one school may offer multiple EMBA classes across multiple campuses. In cases such as these, the classes are considered as being one entry for the purposes of the ranking. This includes schools such as Wharton.
Data is collected from two long-standing QS surveys; the QS Global Employer Survey & the QS Academic Survey. The responses from these surveys span a total of five years, with responses from more recent years having greater weighting. In addition to these surveys, schools were asked to submit data relating to their EMBA programmes covering a variety of topics.
The QS Employer Survey and Academic Surveys account for 30 percent and 25 percent of the ranking weight, respectively. Executive Profile, which includes average years’ work experience, managerial experience, and c-suite experience make up 15 percent of the ranking weight. Career Outcomes make up 20 percent of the ranking weight, which includes salary uplift within a year of graduation, as well as the percentage of students who were promoted within a year of graduation. The remaining 10 percent of the ranking weight is Diversity of class, which includes both the representation levels of women and number of nationalities among a program’s students.
Employer Index (30%)
Each employer is asked to list, unprompted, the international schools from which they have recently attempted to recruit MBAs. Each time a school is selected by an employer, it receives one vote. The total number of votes made this way for each school is referred to as the ‘total unprompted votes.’
From a list of over 500 business schools that have been categorized by region, employers are then asked to identify the schools which they consider attractive for hiring business school graduates. In order to be included on the list, a school must have been recommended by an employer in the previous year of the research. Each time a school is selected, it is given one vote, and the total for each school is referred to as the ‘total prompted votes.’
The total prompted and total unprompted votes are added together to create the ‘total employer votes.’ In order to ensure balanced results that are not subject to influence from the economic cycle, an average of the ‘total employer votes’ is taken from the current year’s research and the four previous surveys.
For joint programs, where the scores from a number of schools are considered, the highest performing school receives an inflationary adjustment to account for the strengths this institution brings to the partnership.
Thought Leadership (25%)
Respondents are first asked to identify their areas of expertise – specifically, the countries, regions, and up to five faculty areas with which they are most familiar. For each of the five faculty areas, they are then asked to list up to 10 domestic and 30 international institutions that they consider excellent for research in that area. They are not permitted to choose their own institutions and only responses related to business and management are used for this ranking.
QS combines responses from the last five years and, where any participant has responded more than once in the five-year period, their previous responses are discarded in favour of the most recent response alone. Responses from previous three years are weighted at full value while earlier responses are discounted somewhat.
QS used more than 5,000 responses from academics with expertise in the fields of business and management taken between the years of 2015 and 2020. For joint programs, where the scores from a number of schools are considered, the highest performing school receives an inflationary adjust to account for the strengths this institutions brings to the partnership.
Years of Work Experience (5%)
The class average for years of pre-EMBA work experience is taken from schools which provided data alongside publicly available sources.
Management Experience (5%)
The class average for years of pre-EMBA management experience at the managerial level is taken from schools which provided data alongside publicly available sources.
C-Suite Experience (5%)
The proportion of a class with c-suite experience is taken from schools which provided data alongside publicly available sources.
Number of Nationalities (5%)
The number of different nationalities among a school’s students is taken from data provided by schools and publicly available sources.
Female Representation (5%)
The proportion of women enrolled on an EMBA program is taken from schools who provided data alongside publicly available sources.
Salary Uplift (10%)
The average growth of student salaries 12 months after completion of the course is taken from data provided by schools and calculated from publicly available sources. If schools provide pre- and post-program salary levels, but not salary uplift, the increase is derived.
The proportion of students who received a promotion within 12 months of completing their EMBA program was collected from data provided by schools and publicly available sources.
All indicator scores are summed together to produce an overall score, which is ranked & then split into the following regions:
- Global Programs (excluding joint offerings)
- North America
- Latin America
- Middle East and Africa
- Joint Programs
This article was originally published in June 2020 . It was last updated in November 2023