It’s hardly a mystery that Argentines are better than Brazilians at, well, pretty much everything. Now here comes the ranking to prove it. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has published its annual University World Ranking and the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) has made it into the top 100 (in 85th place, tied with the University of California, Davis, UC Davis), and leaving Brazil’s famed São Paulo University (USP) in the dust. It’s the only Latin American university to have made it into the top 100 after rising 39 slots in the ranking compared to last year. Hardly a small feat considering only 18 countries are represented in the top 100.
To be fair to our neighbors, the USP also improved its ranking, but not quite enough: while it came in 143rd last year, it is now in 120th place. In fact, the margin between the two has widened from 19 slots last year (with UBA in 124th place) to 35. For whatever it’s worth, the global top five have been the same for years (with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in first place).
So take that, São Paulo! But we won’t let it get to our heads because when you look at the institution’s Latin American ranking, the UBA ranks in 11th place while Sao Paolo comes in first. Uhoh. How did this happen? Well, it’s just different methodology, proving why you shouldn’t let rankings get to your head (ehem). In the Latin America ranking there are more indicators than in the world ranking. Extra indicators that are taken into account include “web Impact” (five percent) and “Proportion of staff with a PhD” (10 per cent) while the world ranking depends much more on the university’s reputation.
So, UBA, get a web developer and tell your teachers to beef up their CVs because beating our Latin American rivals is what really matters.
“Although rankings don’t reflect the real impact that the university has in society, they have become an international way of visualizing a comparison of institutions and they are closely followed by everyone in [the education] system. We’re happy that the UBA is well renowned: we are at an elite level and we’re improving every year,” said Alberto Barbieri, director of the UBA.
He’s right: the UBA has soared in the ranking by 113 places since 2014 and it’s the second year in a row that it’s come in first place out of all Latin American universities. Barbieri also mentioned that “being in the top 100 is a great joy” and “pampers us to keep working.”
But pampering won’t get us ahead of the UC Davis, or the USP, for that matter. Let’s hope Barbieri is working on that PhD degree in acing university rankings.
Other Argentine universities in the ranking are both private and public, including the Austral University (308), the Argentine Catholic University (UCA, 310), Belgrano University (352), and the public Mar Del Plata National University (in the 551-600 bracket).