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What Is an M7 MBA?

Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media.

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More than just a name, the “magnificent” or “magic” M7 business schools are a collection of seven US business schools renowned for providing high-quality business education and access to stellar career opportunities.

The M7 group—comprised of Ivy League giants such as Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School—offer world-leading and highly competitive MBA and master’s programs.

To secure a place on an M7 MBA program, you’ll need a strong academic and professional background, alongside a drive to succeed in the business world.

So, who are the M7 business schools? And what makes these MBA programs so special?

What is an M7 MBA?

Deans of seven prestigious US business schools formed the M7 business school network. Convening twice a year, the schools share insights and news related to graduate management education.

The informal network is comprised of the M7 business schools: Harvard, Columbia, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

An M7 MBA is a Master of Business Administration offered by one of these top business schools.

M7 MBA programs consistently appear at the top of global MBA rankings due to their world-leading research, prestigious professors, high-quality classes, and strong career outcomes, meaning you’re likely to achieve a great return on investment on your MBA by attending one of these schools.

Why get an M7 MBA?

The M7 MBA schools are among the most prestigious and hardest business schools to get into, receiving thousands of applications each year.

M7 MBA programs have strong connections with recruiters in high-paying sectors that are popular among business school grads, such as consulting, finance, and technology.

Some of the world’s most notable MBA alumni—including presidents and CEOs—graduated from an M7 MBA.

Graduates from M7 MBA programs also earn some of the highest MBA salaries, reaching salaries of between US$190k and US$222k within three years of graduation, depending on the business school. 

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“The best MBA programs help students build a more global viewpoint and digital mindset, and work in a more agile way,” says Angela Michalik, head of Wharton Recruiting at Big Three management consultant firm the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)—one of the biggest employers of MBAs from M7 and non-M7 schools.

How much does an M7 MBA cost?

According to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021, the average total cost of an M7 MBA is around US$227,000. The report considers the cost of tuition as well as living expenses, healthcare and other related costs.

MIT Sloan is the world’s most expensive MBA program, according to BusinessBecause, with a total cost of over US$240,000 over the two years. M7 business schools demand some of the highest MBA tuition fees, with Wharton charging the most; an estimated US$162,000 in tuition for the two years.

But you shouldn’t let the cost of an M7 MBA put you off. M7 business schools offer generous MBA scholarships and most students will gets some form of financial aid.

At Harvard, every MBA student is automatically considered for a scholarship and around 50 percent of the class receives one.

M7 MBA admissions

M7 MBA programs have some of the lowest MBA acceptance rates and getting accepted into one of these elite MBA programs without a strong GMAT score and academic profile isn’t easy.

Average GMAT scores for top business schools like Harvard and Stanford reach impressive scores of 730 and 733, respectively.

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However, Stacy Blackman, of MBA admissions consulting firm Stacy Blackman Consulting, emphasizes that business schools, including the M7 schools, approach the application review process holistically.

“MBA programs are looking for more than a “perfect on paper” candidate. Resilience, grit, proven collaboration, and work experience with promotions are critical indicators of success within a program,” she notes.

So it’s not all about the grades. You need to be a well-rounded candidate with some work experience under your belt and a passion to learn everything there is to know about business to win a place at one of these top MBA programs.

Choosing an M7 MBA

Remember: if you choose to attend an M7 school for its prestige alone, you may end up joining a program which isn’t the right fit for you.

Many high-quality global MBA programs are not part of the M7, so you should avoid limiting your search to M7 MBA programs only.

“The program’s location should also influence your decision. Geography is key, especially for international candidates, but also US candidates. Post-MBA career preferences should drive location choices,” advises Stacy Blackman.

Even when choosing between M7 business schools, know that each program offers something different that may or may not complement your profile or ambitions.

Our free guide, Finding Your Best Fit Full-Time MBA Program, gives you the expert tips and guidance you need to confidently narrow your MBA program options and identify the programs that make the most sense for your needs, preferences, and career goals.


Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media. She is responsible for writing and managing sponsored and non-sponsored editorial content relating to the business school journey, as well as covering the latest business news trends. She also heads up the video series, building brand awareness of BusinessBecause across social media channels and the website.

Shannon earned a BA in English Literature with Legal Studies from the University of Sussex and an MA in International Journalism from the University of Leeds.