Story Behind

For many families, the next generation’s education destination is the single most important investment choice they will make. Bank of Communications is dedicated to supporting its clients in making informed choices, no matter what the investment type, and this is how the idea for the Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index was born.  This unique concept was developed through objective, independent research and analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).


The Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index ranks 80 cities. These were chosen first by clustering the top 300 universities from the QS World University Rankings into major cities, allowing for richer data and greater regional diversity in results. EIU analysts then used OECD statistics on the percentage of international students going to each country to decide on the number of cities to feature per country.

The headline Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index is devised from 24 indicators, divided into five sub-indices (or ‘categories’) that rank cities by potential educational returns, financial returns, real-estate-related returns, work experience and social experience. The indicators are assessed based on data gathered by the EIU in February and March 2013, through both primary and secondary research. The indicator scores are then normalised and aggregated across sub-indices to enable comparison.


To compile the headline index, the EIU ascribed different weightings to the sub-indices representing each of the five factors. Educational returns received the highest weighting since this factor is likely to influence most people’s decisions more strongly than any other. Work experience was weighted second highest, followed by social experience and—weighted equally—financial returns and real estate returns.

On the ‘Your index’ page, available only to clients of Bank of Communications Private Banking Service, users are able to adjust weights according to their own priorities and create their own, customised city ranking.

For more details on the methodology and sources behind the Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index, please download the White Paper.