New measure reveals business school impact

Macquarie University has quietly ended the year with a market analysis that could transform the pecking order of Business programs in Australia.

In an oblique contrast to the many monetized, opaque rankings systems with contorting biases that tend to dominate headlines, the new report on business school performance isn’t even billed as a ranking – but instead uses transparent methodology to generate insights into student performance by comparing publicly-available data scraped from graduate accounts on LinkedIn.

The ranking, commissioned by MQBS Executive Dean and strategy expert Professor Eric Knight, is an unpaid piece of work by economics research consultancy Mandala, using a database from Revelio Labs, which sources its’ information from LinkedIn.

The research provides new ways to examine graduate employability and equity with new datasets.

“We wanted a better understanding of the impact of our business school, using LinkedIn to understand where graduates actually ended up,” Professor Knight said.

“As the higher education conversation moves toward new ways of thinking about quality and reputation, I think it is clear that education and teaching quality needs to be part of the equation. At the same time, QILT and Graduate Outcomes Survey data often has only 35% participation rates and captures point in time responses – which is why a dataset like this is quite powerful.

 “It is also relevant as you think about the social mobility ambitions sitting behind policy because the focus will need to be not only on admission into university, but also the graduate outcomes exiting university.

 “We think about quality through the lens of university rankings with a heavy skew to research, there is an interest in education quality as well.”

James Ghusn from Mandala said the idea of using the dataset came when one of his colleagues stumbled across the material available from US-based Revelio Labs, which is typically used by search firms and workforce policy makers – but rarely in the HE space.

“There are a wealth of opportunities to explore interesting analysis with this dataset,” Mr Ghusn said.

The dataset indicated that while MQBS ranked well in traditional rankings, its impact was significantly better when outcomes were evaluated via LinkedIn. MQBS earned more favourable student ratings and better completion rates than some other universities relative to starting ATAR and had more students from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds than other universities did.

The approach makes use of a 9 year time series of data, providing insights into aggregate results of tens of thousands of student occupational journeys per year.

The report indicated MQBS had a number of areas to work on, Professor Knight said, but the team decided to release the report to encourage transparency and build a discussion around better rankings and performance indicators.

“We know all types of markets are aided and made more information by additional data, capital markets and land markets have a lot of data available but labour markets are a bit opaque,” Professor Knight said.

“This sort of report can help the student make an informed decision, it helps employers think about talent flow and aid the wider skills match.”

Read the full report from Mandala Partners here.



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