Business Schools

Frequently Asked Questions


In response to requests for more information about how we conduct our rankings, BusinessWeek is providing the following answers to frequently asked questions. Please refer to this document before calling or e-mailing BusinessWeek editors with methodology-related questions. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please send an e-mail to lindsey_gerdes@businessweek.com. We'll try to answer it directly or add it to this FAQ.

When is the "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking published?

How does BusinessWeek determine who is eligible for rankings?

If an employer has never been ranked before, how does it get considered for ranking?

What sources of data does BusinessWeek use to rank employers?

When does each survey get distributed? How long is it available for completion?

How is the survey of career-services directors conducted?

How is the student survey conducted by Universum Communications?

How is the employer survey conducted?

What happens if an employer does not answer a question?

How are the various factors weighted?

What do you do when there are no career-services survey data or student-survey data for a company in the ranking?

Do employers ever get dropped from the rankings?

Why do you rank only 50 employers in the magazine?

What role, if any, do companies and other organizations play in the surveys, beyond completing the employer survey?

Do the employers have any input into the content of the surveys?

Are copies of the career-services survey or the student survey conducted by Universum ever provided to the employers?

Do employers receive any additional information after the rankings are over?

Are the data collected from the employers for the online statistical profiles used in the ranking?

What happens if an employer doesn't fill out the survey for the statistical profile by the deadline?

How do you find employees to interview?

When is the "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking published?

BusinessWeek plans to publish the "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking annually in September.

How does BusinessWeek determine who is eligible for rankings?

BusinessWeek conducts a national survey of career services directors to determine which employers should be considered for the ranking.

If an employer has never been ranked before, how does it get considered for ranking?

Unlike our rankings of MBA programs and undergraduate business programs, which allow schools to nominate themselves, the "Best Places to Launch a Career" ranking does not permit self-nomination. To be considered, an employer must be identified by the career-services directors who respond to our national survey as one that is among the best organizations in the U.S. for entry-level employees.

What sources of data does BusinessWeek use to rank employers?

BusinessWeek uses three sources of data—a survey of career-services directors, a survey of employers, and a student survey conducted by Universum Communications, a market-research firm based in Philadelphia.

When do each of the surveys get distributed? How long are they available for completion?

The survey of career-services directors is distributed in February and is available for approximately one month. The employer survey is distributed in April and is available for approximately six weeks. The student survey is conducted by Universum over a three-month period starting in December.

How is the survey of career services directors conducted?

First, BusinessWeek identifies undergraduate career-services directors at approximately 100 large public and private schools in every region of the country—everything from liberal arts colleges to engineering schools. The survey, which is distributed by e-mail, asks each director to identify five top employers for entry-level workers in 17 industries. It also asks them to identify 10 top employers for entry-level workers overall. There is no minimum response rate for this survey. When it is complete, BusinessWeek scores the industry picks by awarding 5 points for every No. 1 ranking, 4 points for every No. 2 ranking, and so on. It scores the overall picks by awarding 10 points for every No. 1 ranking, 9 points for every No. 2 ranking, and so on. The five employers that fare the best in each of the 17 industries are eligible for final ranking. In addition, each employer's performance in the survey's overall ranking is converted into a score that is used as one of the three elements in the final ranking.

How is the student survey conducted by Universum?

Universum conducts an e-mail survey of more than 44,000 undergraduates in every academic discipline at more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities, asking them to list the five employers they'd most like to work for. The most popular employers are ranked by the percentage of students who listed that company or organization among their top five.

How is the employer survey conducted?

BusinessWeek distributes an email invitation to take part in the survey to nearly 150 employers that were eligible for the final ranking based on their showing in the survey of career-services directors. The employer survey, which is conducted online with the help of Cambria Consulting, asks for extensive information on recruiting, pay, benefits, training and mentorship programs, retention, and advancement. Some of the information requested in the survey—approximately 90 questions—is used for ranking purposes; those questions are equally weighted. All of the information provided in the survey (with the exception of names and personal e-mail addresses) will appear in the employer's online statistical profile at BusinessWeek.com.

For the ranking questions, each employer's responses are compared with those from other employers in the same industry. With few exceptions, the most desirable answer (highest pay, best retention rate, etc.) is awarded 10 points, the least desirable answer receives 0 points, and all other responses get 5 points. Employers that do not answer a question get zero points for that question, unless all employers in that industry fail to answer, in which case the question is eliminated.

When all the questions are scored, an employer survey score is determined for each organization by dividing the total number of points earned by that employer by the total number that it was possible for an employer in that industry to earn.

What happens if an employer does not answer a question?

If the question is one that is used for ranking purposes, the employer will be penalized in the ranking. For example, if three accounting companies complete the survey, but two of them decline to answer the question regarding pay, the one that does answer will get 10 points; the two others will receive none. The only exception to this is when all employers in an industry decline to answer a question. In that case, the question will be eliminated for that industry.

In some cases, BusinessWeek will make an exception to this scoring method. For example, if an employer does not answer the question regarding its five-year retention rate because it is less than five years old, that employer will not be penalized.

How are the various factors weighted?

The employer survey counts for 50% of the final ranking. The survey of career-services directors and the Universum student survey each count for 25% of the final ranking.

What do you do when there are no career-services survey data or student-survey data for a company in the ranking?

If there are no career services survey data for an employer because none of the career-services directors surveyed included them among their top 10 companies overall, the employer forfeits 25% of its final ranking and will be ranked on the remaining 75% only. The same is true when there is no Universum student-survey data. If, however, both sources of data are unavailable for a given employer, that employer will be placed at the bottom of the ranking, their place determined entirely by their employer survey. In 2007, 89 employers were ranked (1 through 89) using at least two of the three surveys, while six additional employers were ranked (90 through 95) on their employer surveys alone.

Do employers ever get dropped from the rankings?

An employer who does not submit the employer survey, or who fails to answer an adequate number of ranking questions, will be dropped from the ranking.

Why do you rank only 50 employers in the magazine?

We only rank 50 employers in the magazine because space is limited. However we provide a complete list of all ranked employers online.

What role, if any, do companies and other organizations play in the surveys, beyond completing the employer survey?

None.

Do the employers have any input into the content of the surveys?

The career-services survey and the employer survey are prepared by BusinessWeek. Employers and career-services directors, while they may provide input from time to time, do not decide which questions to ask or how to ask them. This is necessary to maintain the integrity and independence of the ranking process.

Are copies of the career-services survey or the student survey conducted by Universum ever provided to the employers?

No.

Do employers receive any additional information after the rankings are over?

No.

Are the data collected from the employers for the online statistical profiles used in the ranking?

Yes. Approximately 90 questions in the employer survey are used to rank the employers.

What happens if an employer doesn't fill out the survey for the statistical profile by the deadline?

It will not be ranked and it will not receive a statistical profile on the BusinessWeek Online Web site.

How do you find employees to interview?

In the employer survey we ask for the names and e-mail addresses of three entry-level hires from the year before. This data are neither used in the ranking nor included in the employer's statistical profile. In addition, BusinessWeek may from time to time seek out and interview other employees as our needs dictate.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus