If you thought Switzerland was the land of cuckoo clocks and Toblerone, think again. For the second successive year, Switzerland has been named the “world’s best country” by the influential U.S.News organisation.
Of course, you would be right to think that what makes a country the “best” is a matter of personal preference. But what is it about certain countries that consistently propels them to the top of these lists? (Hint: half of the top 10 countries are in Europe).
Best Country In Which To Study
Disregarding for a moment factors like individual values, priorities and needs, let’s look at the criteria applied to making a list of “best countries”. And how do these criteria fit with your decision-making when you consider choosing a country in which to further your tertiary education?
It’s probably worth remembering that your choice of university – especially business school – may strongly influence your entry into the job market. So, you will be looking for a location that will provide the “leg-up” you need to launch your early career progression.
What Are The Criteria?
The “best country” survey analyses 87 countries across 73 factors, surveying over 17,000 people to determine a country’s score, including quality of life, power and entrepreneurship. The main factors scored are:
The chance to break away from the normal rhythms of daily life helps to reduce stress and improves overall well-being. With play as important in adult life just as it is during childhood, Brazil was voted #1 in the world, with Switzerland ranked #13.
For a country to be agile, it must adapt and respond to whatever obstacles it faces. To do this, a country needs to be efficient in its actions, adopt and accept modern solutions, and progress to meet changing circumstances. Such countries are seen as the most adaptable to change. The USA, Canada and Australia were ranked in the top three on this criterion, with Switzerland a somewhat disappointing #16.
- Cultural Influence
Countries that command cultural influence are often synonymous with fine food, fashion and easy living. They are trendsetters – their products have that certain “je ne sais quoi” that makes them fly a little faster off the shelves. Their music, television and movies are absorbed by other cultures, becoming part of a wider global conversation. These countries, like Italy at #1 and France at #2, are leading the way in areas like fashion and entertainment. Switzerland holds its own at #8.
For countries to spread prosperity to citizens, governments must find industries where they can compete globally in the digital age. These countries are seen as innovative with enterprising citizens. Switzerland is at #6 on entrepreneurship, behind countries like the US, Germany and Japan.
When assessing a country’s global contribution, it is often the nation’s distinctive traditions that come to mind, as opposed to its economic prowess or technological advances. These countries have shaped history with their culture. Switzerland is ranked #23 in Heritage, behind frontrunners Italy and Greece.
Related to agility, a country’s future growth depends on how prepared it is to weather challenges posed by the global economy. To be successful, nations need resiliency and momentum. Middle Eastern countries – UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – were ranked highest in this survey, with Switzerland at #23.
- Open For Business
In deciding where to bring their business, companies must define their priorities by weighing multiple operating and human costs. National governments face a similar cost-benefit analysis in setting corporate tax rates and policy. These market-oriented countries are considered a haven for capitalists and corporations. Significantly for anyone wanting to study business, Switzerland is ranked #1 in this important category, followed by European neighbours Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
The world’s most powerful countries are the ones that dominate news headlines, preoccupy policymakers and shape global economic patterns. Their foreign policies and military budgets are tracked religiously. When they make a pledge, at least some in the international community trust – or fear – they will keep it. These countries project their influence on the world stage. Unsurprisingly, the USA, China and Russia top this list, with Switzerland at #21.
- Quality Of Life
An increasingly attractive criterion for many post-COVID workers, QoL goes beyond the essential ideas of broad access to food, housing, quality education, health care and employment. It may also include intangibles such as job security, political stability, individual freedom and environmental quality. Through all phases of life, these countries are seen as treating their citizens well. Switzerland ranks high in this field at #6, along with other European countries such as Sweden (#1) and Norway (#2), with Canada (#3) being the only non-European country in the top six. Denmark (#4) and Finland (#5) complete the top five.
- Social Purpose
Public support for causes such as human rights, the environment and religious freedom, to name a few, can create a sense of cultural cohesion within countries, and help their people identify as having a shared sense of purpose. These countries are seen as being the most progressive, inclusive and committed to social justice. With their historically liberal traditions, European countries fill seven of the top ten slots in this criterion – the top three being Sweden, Norway and Finland – with Switzerland at #8.Rated #1 for class and faculty diversity worldwide, EU Business School Geneva offers a full range of business studies courses to suit your career aspirations – living and studying in the best country in the world!