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BU Ranks Sixth Internationally in Employability of Graduates

With three Boston powerhouse schools, might Amazon take notice?

  • BU advances in rankings of schools graduating most desirable employees
  • Number 6 internationally, 5 nationally
  • One of 3 Boston area schools in top 10—might Amazon notice?

BU graduates, coveted for years by employers around the world, have become even more desirable.

Times Higher Education (THE) says the employability of BU alumni ranks 6th internationally and 5th in the United States, up from 11th internationally and 7th nationally last year. In breaking the top 10 globally, the University joins Harvard (2nd), Columbia (3rd), MIT (4th), Stanford (7th), Yale (10th), and the list-topping California Institute of Technology.

Robert A. Brown, president of BU, says the University’s new status is not an accident of fate. “The University has invested years of effort and millions of dollars identifying and embedding in our programs the critical skills needed to build the businesses of the future,” Brown says. “A deliberate focus on interdisciplinary research and education for our students, and the recruitment of the most ambitious students and promising faculty from around the world, have built a University that delivers, in turn, the most promising employees for companies around the world.”

He suggests that the inclusion of three local schools—BU, Harvard, and MIT—in the top 10 list could encourage Amazon to look more closely at Boston as the company considers locations for its planned second headquarters. The online retailer has received bids from 238 cities and regions.

Artists rendering of City of Boston for the Amazon HQ Bid

Boston submitted this artist’s rendition of what an Amazon headquarters at the defunct Suffolk Downs racetrack might look like. Credit: City of Boston

Brown says the skill sets that Boston University graduates gain from their rigorous academic experience line up nicely with the criteria employers cited to THE when choosing universities from which to recruit. Those include professional competency, communications skills, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, social and cultural awareness, and leadership. Other much-cited employer requirements of the graduates were “expertise in one field of competence” and “digital competency,” as well as the “quality of research facilities” of the university.

A potential employee’s alma mater matters with companies seeking reliable measures of quality, says THE data editor Simon Baker.

BU was one of 35 US universities cracking the global list, which includes 150 universities from 33 nations.

THE compiles its list with a two-step process designed by the French consulting firm Emerging. First, it surveys management-level recruiters in various countries. Each respondent is given a list of universities locally, is invited to add additional ones, and is then asked to rank up to 15 schools in order of the employability of their graduates. (Recruiters who’ve conducted global talent searches are also asked to select the best universities worldwide.)

The second step involves a survey of 3,000-plus directors of international companies, who are asked to winnow the first list down to 10 local and global schools or add universities of their own choosing. Both steps include respondents from 20 nations, including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The chart above shows the most important traits businesses seek in choosing universities whose graduates they’d like to employ. Credit: Times Higher Education, The Global University Employability Ranking 2017

The chart above shows the most important traits businesses seek in choosing universities whose graduates they’d like to employ. Credit: Times Higher Education, The Global University Employability Ranking 2017

“There is a clear view worldwide that US universities are leading the way in addressing the digital skills revolution,” THE’s editors write in their report on the rankings.

Jean Morrison, University provost, says she is gratified that BU continues to make progress in the THE global ranking. “We are extremely pleased to see confirmation of the strengths of our graduates as rising professionals,” she says. “It is a tribute to the work ethic and adaptability of these talented students and to the acuity of our faculty in helping them develop skills that are relevant to the evolving needs of the 21st-century marketplace.”

The employability rankings follow BU’s step-up this fall in the closely watched US News & World Report rankings, which graded Boston University 37th among top US universities. That was BU’s best-ever showing in those ratings and two notches above last year’s ranking.



3 Comments on BU Ranks Sixth Internationally in Employability of Graduates

  • Nervy on 11.30.2017 at 6:35 am

    The THE article has some nerve. They should issue an apology to BU. Perhaps what they should be pointing out is that the employability ranking underscores that BU’s other rankings are woefully understated when compared to real-world measures such as employability.

    “The top 10 includes many of the usual suspects – Harvard University, California Institute of Technology and Stanford University – but also Boston University, which is not always found right at the top of university rankings.”

    • Just another BU parent on 11.30.2017 at 9:37 am

      Is the above comment a result of BU’s foray into “big data”, or should it be considered a rhetorical comment for local consumption?

      • Nervy on 11.30.2017 at 10:20 am

        Not sure what you’re asking but the main takeaway from my comment is that the sentence quoted above from the THE article is absolutely inappropriate. “But also Boston University…” I would hope that at least one person from the administration would contact THE telling them that their article, which should be objectively presenting the results of the employer surveys, doesn’t exactly put BU in the best light by singling out BU among 35 US schools in such a questionable manner.

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