Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a higher education analyst and services provider headquartered in London with offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.[1]

It aims to provide higher education institutions with solutions for five key challenges: understanding and enhancing reputation, driving global engagement and partnerships, finding and enrolling students, improving employability outcomes and enhancing sustainability strategy.


The company was founded by Nunzio Quacquarelli in 1990 to provide information and advice to students looking to study abroad. It then expanded to include a wider range of higher education-focused products and services before partnering with THE in 2004 to create the THE-QS World University Rankings.[2]

In 2009, the company acquired GmbH Unisolutions, a leading supplier of software solutions to support higher education institutions in the area of internationalisation, especially with managing participation in Erasmus programmes.

On 5 October 2017, QS Quacquarelli Symonds acquired Hobsons Solutions, the international division of Hobsons, Inc. The acquisition allowed QS to increase the size of its global product offering, which now incorporates products like QS' International Student Survey (formerly Hobsons' International Student Survey), which is the world's largest survey of prospective international students.[3][4][5]

On 3 November 2021, QS acquired the web-based counselling and application platform StudentApply to help international students find and apply to suitable universities worldwide.[6]

In 2024, QS acquired the career navigation platform 1Mentor. The tool uses real-time data and AI to offer students personalised career planning to enhance their employability and supports universities in identifying ways to evolve their curricula to address the skills gap. [7]

QS now has a global presence with offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas and provides products and services related to student recruitment, events, and consulting services. In 2022, the firm's founder, Nunzio Quacquarelli, was appointed as the company's president. Jessica Turner serves as the company's chief executive officer, responsible for the firm's operations and strategy.[8]


Main article: QS World University Rankings

QS World University Rankings is a portfolio of comparative university rankings compiled by Quacquarelli Symonds. Its first and earliest edition was published in collaboration with Times Higher Education (THE) magazine as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings, inaugurated in 2004 to provide an independent source of comparative data about university performance. In 2009, the two organizations parted ways to produce independent university rankings, the QS World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings.

QS’ rankings portfolio has since been expanded to consist of the QS World University Ranking, the QS World University Rankings by Subject, four regional rankings tables including: Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Arab Region, several Graduate Management Education rankings and the QS Best Student Cities ranking. In 2022, QS launched the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability.[9]

The rankings are regarded as one of the most-widely read university rankings in the world, along with Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[10]


Quacquarelli Symonds organises a range of international student recruitment events throughout the year. These are generally oriented towards introducing prospective students to university admissions staff, while also facilitating access to admissions advice and scholarships. In 2018, over 300 events were hosted, attended by 220,000 candidates, in 100 cities across 50 countries. Separated into 'tours', QS' event offerings typically comprise a series of university and business school fairs.

The QS World MBA Tour is the world's largest series of international business school fairs, attended by more than 60,000 candidates in 100 cities across 50 countries.

The QS World MBA Premium also focuses on MBA student recruitment, but invites only business schools ranked in the top 200 internationally, according to the QS World University Rankings. The event aims to provide a more holistic overview of an MBA degree, with enhanced focus on pre- and post-study processes and insights.

The QS World Grad School Tour focuses on international postgraduate programs, particularly specialised master's degrees and PhDs in FAME (Finance, Accounting, Management and Economics) and STEM disciplines.

The QS World University Tour has an emphasis on undergraduate student recruitment, inviting undergraduate programs only.

The QS Connect MBA and QS Connect Masters differ from other event series' in that an open fair format is not followed. Instead, candidates take part in pre-arranged 1-to-1 interviews with admissions staff, based on pre-submitted CVs and academic profiles.


  1. ^ "About us". Quacquarelli Symonds.
  2. ^ "Malaysia's R&D Investment Paying off with Higher Research Productivity and Improved University Ranking". Bloomberg. 5 November 2019.
  3. ^ "QS Enrolment Solutions". Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  4. ^ Baker, Amy. "QS acquires Hobsons Solutions in major merger". The PIE News. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ "International Student Survey". qs.com.
  6. ^ "QS acquires StudentApply as it enters end-to-end enrolment space". thepienews.com. The Pie News. 11 March 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  7. ^ "QS acquires career navigation platform". thepienews.com. The Pie News. 1 January 2024. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  8. ^ "Introducing our new CEO". QS.com. QS. 27 September 2022.
  9. ^ "Asian University Rankings – QS Asian University Rankings vs. QS World University Rankings™". Archived from the original on 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-06-10. The methodology differs somewhat from that used for the QS World University Rankings...
  10. ^ "University rankings: which world university rankings should we trust?". The Telegraph. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-01-26. Retrieved 27 January 2015. It is a remarkably stable list, relying on long-term factors such as the number of Nobel Prize-winners a university has produced, and number of articles published in Nature and Science journals. But with this narrow focus comes drawbacks. China's priority was for its universities to "catch up" on hard scientific research. So if you're looking for raw research power, it's the list for you. If you're a humanities student, or more interested in teaching quality? Not so much.