What Are the M7 Business Schools?

There are many benefits to pursuing a Master in Business Administration degree, especially for young and mid-career professionals. 

According to Investopedia, the base salary range for MBA graduates is $65k to $192k. The US News & World Report lists the base pay at $101k. 

MBA degree holders are financial analysts, financial controllers, chief financial officers, and more. A significant number are mid-career professionals, with students fresh out of an undergraduate program accounting for only 1.5% of MBA students.

Several factors account for the broad range of salaries, two of the primary factors being the location of employment and school. 

While a person does not need to attain an MBA to get a high-paying job, data suggests that graduates from top MBA programs tend to earn salaries in the 6-figure range, compared to students from lesser known or fledgling programs.

There are seven particularly high-caliber schools in the US, collectively known as the M7. 

The M7 is an informal collection of business schools with robust alumni networks, world-class faculties, internationally renowned curricula, and significant influence in the business world. Some of these are Ivy League schools, while others are simply among the most coveted MBAs in the world.

Without further ado, here are the M7 business schools.

Columbia Business School (New York, NY)

Columbia Business School
Ajay Suresh, Columbia Business School – Uris Hall, CC BY 2.0

Columbia Business School was ranked by the US News & World Report as the 7th best business school nationwide, with top finance, real estate, marketing, and nonprofit programs.

Columbia MBA graduates have excellent prospects; within three months of graduation, over 90% of 2020 grads received job offers, with a salary range of $70k-$350k.

Columbia Business School boasts an impressive list of outstanding faculty and alumni. The 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, is a full-time professor who has authored numerous bestseller books. 

Another notable faculty member includes Frederic Mishkin, a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. 

It is no surprise that Columbia Business School is very selective. The acceptance rate of the school is reportedly 16%. Matriculated students are incredibly bright, accomplished, and diverse, with many coming from other top-ranking undergraduate schools.

Harvard Business School (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard Business School
Dariusz Jemielniak (“Pundit”), Baker library, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Harvard Business School is, unsurprisingly, among the best business schools nationwide, landing the #5 spot on the latest US News & World Report MBA ranking. 

Another important list, the QS Global MBA Rankings, Harvard Business School sits at the 4th spot, making it one of the best schools in the world.

Harvard Business alumni have been blazing trails in myriad industries. According to Poets & Quants, HBS has produced 22 CEOs of some of the largest Fortune 500 firms. Famous alumni include Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services; Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist, businessman, and former mayor of NYC; and Anne Sarnoff, president of BBC America.

HBS faculty are world-class scholars who are highly accomplished in their fields, spearheading cross-disciplinary research and numerous initiatives. The most recent endeavors and projects focus on making a difference in the world, such as the Business & Environment Initiative, the Gender Initiative, and the Health Care Initiative.

The acceptance rate of the Harvard Business School is 12%

MIT Sloan School of Management (Cambridge, MA)

MIT Sloan School of Management
Vitor Pamplona, MITSloanE62, CC BY 2.0

The MIT Sloan School of Management is one of the finest business schools in the world. 

Sloan is a leading institution when it comes to new ideas and innovative research and practice. Alumni and faculty include tech visionaries, Nobel Prize laureates, CEOs, and entrepreneurs.

Sloan ties with Harvard for the 5th spot on the US News & World Report list of top business schools in the country. Its specialties in business analytics, finance, information systems, and project management are nationally renowned. 

Additionally, MIT Sloan is the #1 school on QS Top Universities’ list of global MBA schools, with high scores in graduate employability, thought leadership, value for money, and alumni outcomes.

Sloan has one of the lowest acceptance rates of the M7 schools, receiving over 6k applications each year and admitting only 13% of applicants. Most applicants have undergraduate degrees in engineering, economics, and business.

The competition is incredibly intense at Sloan, with the average GMAT score of accepted students at 720.

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern Kellogg School of Management
Madcoverboy, Jacobs Center at Kellogg, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are many reputable schools with high-caliber academics, excellent research output, and glittering alumni faculty. Many are confused as Ivies but are not officially Ivy League. 

The Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management is such a school, outranking the preceding institutions on this list by taking the #4 spot on US News’ list of “Best Business Schools.” Kellogg received an overall and regional ranking of #2 by The Economist, an esteemed business magazine.

In addition to offering excellent marketing, management, and nonprofit programs, Kellogg has a part-time MBA program for those who want to balance a job with their education. Both full-time and part-time students have excellent post-graduation outcomes, with many receiving job offers from Fortune 500 companies as well as enterprising VC-backed startups.

According to Wikipedia, Kellogg has a robust, diverse, and robust alumni network of over 60,000, many of whom have founded top national companies across many industries.

The acceptance rate at Kellogg is 20%

Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford, CA)

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Steve Castillo, Knight Management Center, CC BY 3.0

Stanford Graduate School of Business is not only the most selective business school on this list, but also in the entire world. 

Stanford receives over 7,000 applications each year and offers admission to only 6% of applicants each year. Stanford MBA students are quite diverse, with women comprising 47% of the student body.

Over 65 countries are represented by the class of 2022. The average GPA of matriculants was 3.8 and the average GMAT 733.

Stanford is widely considered the very best MBA program, with US News & World Report ranking it as the #1 business school. 

This ranking is perhaps partly due to the resources of Silicon Valley; many graduates of the Stanford Business School get hired by Bay Area startups and companies, some of the highest market cap corporations worldwide.

Stanford Business faculty have earned Nobel Prizes, John Bates Clark awards, and more.  Additionally, many are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. 

University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Chicago, IL)

University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Matthew G. Bisanz, Harper Center by Matthew Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0

With high-caliber faculty, accomplished alumni, and an innovative and unique approach to education, the University of Chicago Booth of Business is one of the top business schools globally. 

Booth prides itself in its unique “Chicago Approach’ educational philosophy. At the heart of the “Chicago Approach” is a rigorous analytical method and an emphasis on analyzing problems from all angles.

Illustrious Booth faculty and alumni include Nobel laureates, nationally renowned economists, and high-ranking executives. The school publishes three esteemed, peer-reviewed journals: Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Law and Economics, and Journal of Political Economy

Due to its prestige, Booth is a very competitive school to get into. 

Most applicants majored in undergraduate engineering, business, and economics. The acceptance rate at Booth is 22%. The average GPA for the incoming class was 3.60 and the average GMAT 724. 

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business (Philadelphia, PA)

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Warren Buffet and Elon Musk are just two household names that are the product of a UPenn Wharton School of Business education. 

The US News & World Report ranks Wharton as the 2nd best business school in the country. Almost all of its business program specialties are among the top 10 in their respective categories.

Notable faculty of Wharton include Andrew Abel, a Finance Professor who has authored several macroeconomics textbooks and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. Another faculty member, Olivia Mitchell, is a nationally renowned economist and International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor.

Matriculated MBAs represent an international student body hailing from 83 countries. More than half of the class of 2023 is female, and minorities comprise a significant percentage of the student population. 

Wharton has a very selective admissions process; the school receives over 7,000 applications each year; in the class of 2023, only 897 total students enrolled.

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