A 8 minute read

What are M7 Business Schools and what makes them elite?

The term ‘M7 business schools’ is used to describe the seven most elite business schools in the world. The ‘M’ in M7 stands for ‘magnificent’, or ‘magic’, depending on whom you ask. Years ago, the deans of the seven most influential private business schools got together to create an informal network known as M7. The network convenes twice every year to share information and chat about some of the most pressing issues in graduate business education.

M7 Business Schools

The M7 Business Schools offer a plethora of opportunities to their graduates in terms of having an impact and changing industries as well as geographies.

In this article, we compare and contrast the M7 business schools by employment reports, rankings, and alumni base as well as answer a few important questions from an applicant’s perspective.

List of M7 business schools

Here is the list of M7 business schools:

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  4. Columbia Business School
  5. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
  6. University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business
  7. MIT Sloan School of Management

As mentioned earlier, at their biannual private sessions for which these M7 business schools rotate hosting duties, they trade gossip, best practices, and whatever topical issues end up on the agenda.

Watch how to make your MBA Application stand out while applying to these M7 business schools. Here is a playlist where candidates who got into M7 business schools share their application journey:

M7 Business Schools Rankings

M7 Business Schools - Rankings by specialisation

Here is how the M7 business schools fare in the latest Business School rankings published by leading business publications:

RankingHarvardWhartonColumbiaBoothKelloggStanfordMIT
U.S. News5273415
Forbes 4571327
QS Top Universities428111413

But as an MBA applicant, what is the significance of the M7? Moreover, do rankings matter while choosing a business school? Here is what Prashant from Admit Square Consulting has to say.

What is the significance of the M7 MBA?

A natural question to ask here is around the significance of M7 especially since a variety of publications come up with business school rankings each year. The answer is simple and something that humans always crave - consistency. Rankings vary every year across different publications. On the other hand, M7s remain constant. Schools are neither added to nor removed from this list.

Getting an MBA degree is a long-term decision and choosing an M7 school will essentially guarantee that you are making the right choice. The fact that these schools recognize each other as part of a super-elite group and work together to enhance the quality of business education overall, is also a validation of the quality of education these institutions provide.

M7 Business Schools Application strategy

Though M7s are definitely A-listers and you cannot go wrong with choosing them, there are a bunch of schools outside of this definition that is prestigious and possibly even a better fit for you. NYU Stern, UVA Darden, UCLA Anderson, Michigan Ross, etc. are all excellent schools that frequently break into the Top 10 of all major rankings.

There are also several schools outside the US that provide top-class business education and enjoy a high global reputation – INSEAD, LBS, Saïd (University of Oxford), Judge (University of Cambridge), Rotman (University of Toronto), and IMD Switzerland, for example.

Your choice of an MBA program, therefore, cannot be driven solely by a certain ranking or classification. An MBA is a means to achieve one’s career goals and not an end in itself. It is important to introspect what you want from your MBA and research well to shortlist programs that will help you achieve your specific goals – during and after the MBA!

Learn Top 5 reasons to pursue an MBA from M7 business schools and how an MBA can add value:

M7 Business School Class Profile and other Statistics

The following are the statistics related to the latest class profiles of the MBA programs at the M7 Business Schools:

Class profile and employment dataHarvardWhartonColumbiaChicago (Booth)Northwestern (Kellogg)Stanford GSBMIT (Sloan)
Class Size732916782621559436484
Applications received9304715869714909NA7324 
Average/Median GMAT score730 722 726724727733720
Average GPA3.703.63.63.43.63.83.54
Average Work experience4.755554.75
Women applicant44%41%40%38%40%47%38%
International students33%19%44%30%26%35%33%
Minority45%NA33%NANANANA
Two-year Tuition$146,880$166,460$154,752$146,880 $149,742    $149,412 $157,908
Median Salary$150,000$150,000$150,000$150,000$144,000$150,000$150,000
Median Signing Bonus$30,000$30,000$30,300$30,000$30,000$25,000$ 34,000
% of offers received90%93.5%90%92.8%93.9%91%95.5%

The average GMAT score for the incoming class of 2022 at the M7 business school is 720+, with an average GPA of 3.5+. Not only this, if you want to apply to these business schools you require to have work experience. A minimum of 2 years of work experience is required. However, you need to check with respective b-schools regarding the same.

The average work experience for the incoming class of 2022 at M7 business schools is 4.9. Moreover, M7 business schools do welcome diversity in their class profile. On average 30% of the class is filled by international students.

If we look at the employment data of M7 business schools, on average the median salary that you can expect is more than $140,000, with an additional bonus that can range from $25,000 to $35,000.

Now let's look at the ranking of these b-schools based on discipline.

M7 MBA Program Rankings by Discipline or Specialty

The following are the rankings of the M7 MBA programs by different disciplines and specialties:

Accounting

Kellogg School of Management ranks #1 when it comes to accounting programs. The next in line is Wharton school that ranks #3, followed by Chicago Booth (#5) and Stanford GSB (#8).

Business analytics

Business analytics is the process of collecting, sorting, combining, processing, and using statistical models to transform data into business insights. The careers in business analytics can range from business intelligence manager to analyst-level position.

MIT Sloan ranks #1 when it comes to business analytics programs. The next in line is Wharton school that ranks #3, followed by Chicago Booth (#6). You can check out our article where we highlight the top 10 business schools for business analytics where the MBA grads earn the most.

Entrepreneurship

Stanford GSB and MIT Sloan rank #2 and #3 respectively, followed by Harvard business school ranking at #5 and Wharton school at #6. You can check out our article on the top 7 business schools for Entrepreneurship in 2021 and what makes them unique.

Finance

A finance specialty can open opportunities in careers like investment banking, private equity, corporate accounting, and many more. Wharton school ranks #1, followed by Chicago Booth (#2), Columbia (#4), MIT Sloan (#5), and Stanford GSB (#6). Check out our article where we highlight the top 10 business schools in Finance 2021.

Marketing

If you are interested in media, sales, promotion, and entertainment, then a specialization in marketing is for you. You can also work in various sectors ranging from FMCG, Hospitality, Media, Tourism,  consultancy, market research, Banking, etc. The number one business school for marketing is none other than Kellogg school of management, which is followed by Wharton school (#2).

Read our article on top business schools for marketing in 2021.

Discipline/SpecialtyHarvardWhartonColumbiaChicago (Booth)Northwestern (Kellogg)Stanford GSBMIT (Sloan)
Accounting  NA3 NA518 NA
Business analytics NA3 126 NA NA1
Entrepreneurship56 NA NA NA23
Finance81421165
Management1410 32 
Marketing6277 13 
Ranking based on US news ranking 2021

Looking for other specializations? Here is the list of articles on top business schools in:

Employment statistics at M7 Business Schools

M7 Business Schools_ Employment Statistics and Salaries

The following are the 2020 employment statistics & salaries at the M7 business schools.

StatisticsHarvardWhartonColumbiaChicago (Booth)Northwestern (Kellogg)Stanford GSBMIT (Sloan)
Median Salary$150,000$150,000$150,000$150,000$144,000$150,000$150,000
Median Singing Bonus$30,000$30,000$30,300$30,000$30,000$25,000$34,000
Offers received by students90%93.5%90%92.8%93.9%91%95.5%
Job acceptance by students83%91.6%87%91.4%91.9%85% NA
Data were taken from latest employment report on a business school website

Industry Choices of M7 Business School Graduates

StatisticsHarvardWhartonColumbiaChicago (Booth)Northwestern (Kellogg)Stanford GSBMIT (Sloan)
Consulting24%24.5%34%38.2%36.3%15%31.20%
Finance34%36.2%33.20%30.3%14.9%34%18.50%
Technology19%16.2%19.80%16.3%27.6%28%24.80%
Consumer Products3%2.4%NA4.8%6.6%4%NA
Health7%6.7%NA3.5%5.2%4%NA
Manufacturing4%0.8%4%NA3.3%NA18.20%
EnergyNA0.2%NA0.9%1.2%1%NA
Media/Entertainment2%1.3%NANA0.2%3%1%
Nonprofit/Government4%1.8%NA0.7%1.4%1%NA
Real Estate2%2.9%NA2%0.4%3%NA
EntrepreneurshipNA NANANANANA
FinTech 2.1%NANANANANA
Other services1%1.8%NANANANA1.50%
RetailNA3.2%NANA1.5%1%NA
OthersNANA9%3.3%1.4%6%2.40%

Alumni and scholarship at the M7 business schools

The M7 business schools have large, active, and engaged alumni networks around the world. You will have access to thousands of engaged alumni who are willing to connect students with recruiters and hiring managers at their firms, helping graduating students land that all-important first job post-MBA. 

M7 Business Schools - Alumni Base

All the M7 business schools have more than 20,000 alumni networks. For instance, Harvard business school has 85,000 active alumni, spread over 50 countries, with 103 Alumni lead clubs. On the other hand, Wharton has 99,000 active alumni, spread over 153 countries, with 77 alumni clubs.

Alumni also helps business schools to employ MBA graduates. For instance, Stanford GSB employed 24% of its MBA class 2020, through the Alumni network.

Apart from the robust Alumni network, M7 business schools also offer scholarship opportunities to its students.

There are various types of MBA scholarships that are offered to students at M7 business schools such as need-based, merit-based, diversity, and gender-based, external scholarships. However, the type and the amount of scholarship can differ from each business school.

Harvard MBA Scholarships are offered based on financial need, and they do not offer merit-based scholarships. It is a gift that does not need to be paid back, and nearly 50% of the class receives it. The average need-based scholarship amount for the Harvard MBA program is $40,000 per year or $80,000 in total.

Stanford also offers need-based scholarships. The average Stanford GSB fellowship is approximately $40,000 per year or $80,000 in total awards. On the other hand, the MIT Sloan Admissions Committee awards merit-based fellowships to exceptional students based on a variety of criteria, including, but not limited to:

  • Academic excellence
  • Professional achievements
  • Potential to enhance the MIT Sloan community

Columbia business school and Chicago Boot also offer merit-based scholarships to its students. The Wharton MBA program also provides a broad range of fellowship opportunities based on your application for admissions. Criteria for fellowship includes your academic achievements, community involvement, professional development, and personal qualities and background.

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We have written detailed articles on each M7 Business School which includes the latest data about their class profiles, employment reports, and salaries:

FAQs

What are M7 Business Schools?

M7 Business Schools are an elite and informal group of top US business schools. These include Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Columbia.

Is Harvard or Stanford better for an MBA?

Choosing between Harvard and Stanford for an MBA depends on your career goal. There are many factors on which you can compare both. Here are the parameters to analyze while comparing Stanford and Harvard
Location and Class Profile
Placement and Internship Opportunities
Ranking Lists
MBA Program Focus
MBA Program and Curriculum
Teaching Methods, Experiential Learning, and Global Opportunities
Admission Process and Cost of Attendance
Alumni Network
Scholarship Programs
Facilities

Where is Columbia Business School located?

Columbia Business School is located at 3022 Broadway (at 116th Street), New York

How to get into M7 business schools?

To get into M7 business schools you have to work on your application holistically. Best business schools want a candidate who will ‘get through’ their rigorous MBA program successfully. Learn what it takes to get into top business schools.

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