Purpose Realizing the role of signals in the evaluation of teaching quality as well as the advantage of a set-theoretic approach to education research, the purpose of this paper is to employ a signaling framework and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to configure the roles of signal quality, including signal consistency, signal clarity, signal credibility and teaching investment in the teaching quality of Master of Business Administration (MBA) faculty members. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 342 MBA students in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was surveyed to collect the data. fsQCA was employed to configure the conditions – signal consistency, signal clarity, signal credibility and teaching investment – for the occurrence of teaching quality, and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the net effects of these conditions on teaching quality. Findings fsQCA findings reveal that teaching investment combines with signal clarity, signal consistency and signal credibility to form sufficient conditions for the occurrence of teaching quality. SEM results confirm the net effects of these conditions on teaching quality. Practical implications This study suggests that MBA faculty members should invest in their teaching and send clear, consistent and credible signals to their students in order to enhance their teaching quality perceived by their students. Originality/value The application of signaling theory to evaluate teaching quality, which has largely been ignored in prior research, and the use of fsQCA to better understand the complexity of necessary and sufficient conditions for teaching quality are two contributions of this study to the literature.