General information on ranking

Name of the ranking QS Business Masters Rankings
Geographical scope Global
Name of person in charge of ranking Ben Sowter
E-mail of person in charge of ranking
Website of the ranking
Publication frequency annual
First year of publication 2018
Most recent year of publication 2020
Date of last update 2021-08-26
Ranking organization Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd (QS)
Website of the methodology

The Business Masters Rankings 2021 highlight the best graduate masters programs across the world. Over 500 programs were ranked in its most recent editio. Data was collected in early 2020, using three surveys: the QS Global Employer Survey, the QS Global Academic Survey and a survey completed by the business schools themselves. To be included in the Business Masters Rankings 2021, all schools must be accredited by either AACSB, AMBA, EFMD (EQUIS).  A total of 13 criteria form the basis of five key indicators that programs were ranked on:

EMPLOYABILITY – 35% (30% - Finance/Business Analytics)

QS Global Employer Survey

The backbone of the rankings is the QS Global Employer Survey, which asks employers to select the schools that they prefer to hire from. Employers across all sectors and industries take part in the survey, and include Facebook, Google, Uber, Wells Fargo, Bank of America etc. The survey helps QS have an accurate impression of the reputation of a school compared to its peers among relevant employers who are hiring business school graduates.

Employment Rate 

The total score for this indicator also considers the employment rate for students, six months post-graduation, based on MBACSEA standards. 

ALUMNI OUTCOMES – 15% (20% Finance/Business Analytics)

Alumni Outcomes 

The Alumni Outcomes Index looks at the schools associated with over 50,000 CEOs, executives and board members at the biggest companies in the world including Apple, Amazon, UBS, IBM, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobil, AT&T, PepsiCo. This year some of the most successful entrepreneurs were also included using the CrunchBase Database. QS collects information from publicly available sources and validates.


A number of data points was used to determine return on investment, which can often be one of the hardest metrics to accurately predict with many permutations and possibilities.

10 Year ROI (15%)

QS looks at a 10-year return on investment, mapping average post-graduation, taking into account forgone salary as well as tuition and cost of living (using Mercer Quality of City Living Ranking). The percentage of graduates accepting employment within six months of finishing their studiem i salso taken into account.

Payback Month (5%)

QS looks at the time it takes to pay back the cost.  The shorter the payback month the better score the school receives.


QS Academic Reputation  (10%)

This metric gives an accurate impression of the reputation of a program and is based on university and business school nominations of academics from around the world between 2016 and 2020. Academics name the institutions which they believe are the strongest in their subject area. This year nearly 35,000 academic responses were used in the analysis.  

Research Impact (2.5%)

Elsevier’s Scopus database was used to assess the research intensity of schools. QS look at the period between 2014-2019 and analyze thousands of papers.

Percentage of faculty with PhD (2.5%)

The percentage of the faculty within the Business School with a doctoral degree.


The percentage of female students and faculty members + The percentage of international faculty overall at the business school, and the international mix of students on the program.

Additional information

  • Type of publication: internet
  • Internet users access to ranking: open access
  • Language of publication: English
  • Main target groups: employers, higher education institutions, policymakers, governments and funding agencies, students and parents
  • Level of comparison: study programs
  • Major dimensions covered: employability, internationalization, reputation, research, teaching
  • Structure of presentation: multi-indicator ranking, ordinary presentation (league tables)
  • Data sources: data collected from HEIs by ranking organization, survey conducted exclusively by ranking organization, third-party database (data not provided by HEI)
  • Quality assurance of ranking: advisory board, periodic consultancy
  • Website of the ranking organization:
  • Types of the ranking organization: commercial/for-profit (incl. media)
  • Types of rankings: business