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The power of a BU diploma was recognized in October when the employability of University graduates was ranked 17th in the world and 7th among U.S. schools in a survey published in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. The 2012 Global Employability Survey, conducted by the French consulting firm Emerging and the German polling institute Trendence, asked hundreds of international companies which universities were most likely to produce the ideal employee; it also asked them to list the ideal qualities of a new graduate.

Harvard was ranked number one among U.S. schools, followed by Yale, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Princeton, and BU.

Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, says the administration is delighted that BU is so highly regarded on the global stage.

“The results are an excellent characterization of the quality of our students,” Morrison says. “BU is a global university in that our students have meaningful experiences that prepare them for the global marketplace. Given that the survey reflects the views of international CEOs, business managers, and recruiters at international companies, it’s really excellent recognition of the quality and versatility of our students.”

Part one of the two-part survey asked more than 2,500 recruiters in 20 countries (including Britain, China, and the United States) to describe the qualities they find important in a new hire. The online survey included questions such as to what extent should a new hire be immediately effective and productive in the company, which foreign languages (other than English) are needed to succeed in a company, and which qualities are important for the long-term employability of a graduate. It also asked about “soft skills,” such as adaptability, communications, and the ability to work in a team. Part two asked the same group, along with CEOs and company chairs, to name their countries’ top universities. Answers from both parts of the survey, as well as consideration of last year’s results (BU ranked 51st), were used to determine the 150 global institutions whose graduates were most employable.

Top 10 U.S. Universities 2012 Global Employability Survey

1 Harvard University
2 Yale University
3 Stanford University
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5 Columbia University
6 Princeton University
7 Boston University
8 California Institute of Technology
9 University of Chicago
10 Brown University

Kenneth Freeman, the Allen Questrom Professor and dean of the School of Management, formerly led Quest Diagnostics and was a partner at the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he is still a senior advisor. He says that global employers often look for the “four Cs”: cultural awareness, communication skills, collaboration, and creativity. “They aspire to hire individuals who are sensitive to the impact of cultural differences across countries in the ways business is conducted; write and speak clearly and persuasively; actively participate in and lead cross-functional teams; and think broadly, expanding the boundaries, and identifying new ways of doing things,” Freeman says. “Boston University prepares its students well in each of these areas.”