Wednesday, October 1, 2014

OXFORD: Why Does Leeds Lead For Media Pros?

How the best companies to work for
are IDed by the LinkedIn study.
Oct. 1, 2014–Oxford is used to taking second place in rankings on occasion to Cambridge, or even on other institutions, especially when it comes to measures of teaching performance in certain subjects.

But on the subject of producing top media careerists, Oxford ranks #2 after Leeds, says a study conducted for LinkedIn using their data.

What is special about Leeds?

My view about rankings is that they usually provide interesting information–either about
  •  the subject of the rankings or about 
  • the blindness of the rankers. 
Today's students go to college with an eye to how what they study will lead to a good career. LinkedIn is geared to people who are pursuing their careers. It reports that after
  • Leeds and 
  • Oxford, the next five British universities (this is a British-based study) are:
  • Cardiff and Nottingham, tied for third place;
  • Durham, fifth;
  • Bristol, sixth; and
  • Cambridge, seventh.
Is the problem with the ranking method? It is described in a blogpost by Navneet Kapur this morning. It is based on analysis of jobs held by 300 million LinkedIn members world-wide. The researchers behind the study figured out what the desirable media jobs are, and the schools from which graduates get those desirable jobs. On this basis, LinkedIn ranks universities based on the career outcomes of their graduates.

The study authors start with identifying the most desirable companies, defined as companies in a profession that are the best at attracting and retaining talent in that profession. They define relevant graduates as those who end up working in that career, and have obtained their degrees within the past eight years. For each university and profession, they calculate the percentage of relevant graduates who have obtained desirable jobs. These percentages allow us to rank universities based on career outcomes across different professional areas.

It sounds reasonable. No obvious blindness. That gets us back to the question: Why does Leeds rank #1? Wouldn't Oxford's depth in languages, literature, communication put it in first place? Best answer I can offer is the Leeds media program web site. I was impressed. Everything in one place. Draws you in. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, Leeds has a good meal ready.

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