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A ranking for CEO producing universities

A new university ranking has been published by Times Higher Education (THE) earlier this month. No, it is not ‘the’ Times Higher Education World University Rankings which are usually published in October, but just another university ranking called THE Alma Mater Index.

The THE Alma Mater Index ranks universities according to the number of graduates who are chief executive officers (CEO) in one of the 500 worldwide most important corporations. It is based on the number of degrees awarded to CEOs, the total number of CEO alumni and the total revenue of the alumni CEOs’ companies. Luckily for THE, the work of determining those ‘special 500’ has already been done by someone else. The ranking of the ‘Fortune Global 500’ is compiled by Fortune magazine and lists the top 500 corporations according to their revenue. And indeed, the THE Alma Mater Index is a bit different from other rankings with ‘only’ four US universities in the top ten, followed by three French higher education institutions, two from Japan and one from Korea. In terms of countries the US are represented with 38 institutions, China with 15, Japan with nine, France with eight, and Germany with six universities. Interestingly, the UK, which normally scores exceptionally well, is only represented with four universities.

In particular the performance of French higher education institutions reflects the prestige of some of these business and administrative schools such as École nationale d’administration (ÉNA), Hautes Études Commerciales Paris (HEC), and Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) which do not appear in the regular THE World University Rankings or other ‘famous’ university rankings such as the QS University Rankings or the Shanghai Ranking. In total 40 higher education institutions among these top 100 are not among the top 400 of the regular THE World University Rankings. This demonstrates that in some national spheres certain academic or higher education institutions enjoy an excellent reputation which is not reflected in university rankings as such. More frequently these kind of higher education institutions stand out in specialised rankings focussing on management, finance and business schools. Needless to say, the rankings reflect a certain bias towards MBA awarding institutions.

In the end, the THE Alma Mater Index is simply another additional university ranking, adding to the confusion and proliferation of other university rankings (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2013) and is probably more of a foretaste of the upcoming ‘real’ THE University Rankings. 

THE Alma Mater Index 2013