M7 business schools
M7 business schools are known to offer high-quality curriculum that attract top-tier recruiters. Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images / AFP

The term “M7” is used to describe some of the most elite business schools in the world – the “M” stands for either “magnificent” or “magic.” Years ago, the deans of these schools came together to form this network, and to uphold the prestige,  they convene twice every year to discuss some of the most pressing issues in graduate business education.

M7 business schools represent seven distinct, vivid cultures. Each comes with its own history, values, characteristics, opportunities, and challenges. Yet, they also have their commonalities. One that stands out the most: they are all highly competitive. Furthermore, they feature deep academic resources that attract top-tier recruiters meaning they are represented by illustrious alumni.

The M7 business schools are Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

The full-time MBA programmes at these schools are among the hardest in the world to get into, however, the benefits are worth it as each come with an outstanding ROI. Poets and Quants revealed that starting salaries, signing bonuses, and performance bonuses for M7 graduates rival or exceed those of any peer school’s MBAs. Let’s take a closer look the M7 business schools along with the statistics, average GMAT scores, and GPAs every aspiring MBA should know about:

Columbia Business School 

Columbia Business School is part of Columbia University, an Ivy League research university established in 1754. Enrolees here benefit from a constantly evolving curriculum and the school’s ideal location in Manhattan in New York City.  Columbia’s MBA programme teaches students to lead, build and manage enterprises, with the help of 150 full-time faculty members.

MBA acceptance rate: 16.4%

Average GMAT score: 732

Average GPA: 3.60

Average years of work experience: Five years

M7 business schools

Leymah Gbowee and Sir Harold Evans of The Daily Beast at the Columbia Business School Social Enterprise Conference. Source: Timothy A. Clary / AFP

Harvard Business School 

Harvard Business School is one of the most well-known business schools in the world. It is the business school of Harvard University, a private Ivy League university founded in 1908. Harvard Business School is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The school’s two-year residential MBA programme is known to come with an intense curriculum that focuses on real-world practice.

MBA acceptance rate: 11.5%

Average GMAT score: 728

Average GPA: 3.70

Average years of work experience: Three years

MIT Sloan School of Management 

The MIT Sloan School of Management is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT Sloan students benefit from gaining hands-on management experience and are also given the chance to collaborate with peers in engineering and science programmes at MIT.

The two-years, full-time MBA programme encourages flexibility and guidance. The core curriculum includes studies in economic analysis for business decisions, data, models, and decisions, communication for leaders, organisational processes and financial accounting. Optional core electives include managerial finance, intro to operations management, competitive strategy and marketing innovation.

MBA acceptance rate: 14.6%

Average GMAT score: 727

Average GPA: 3.58

Average years of work experience: 4.8 years

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management  

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois. It is known to be one of the first schools to advocate for the use of teamwork in the business world and still promotes group projects and team leadership through its business curriculum.

The Kellogg Full-Time MBA provides several distinct options for students to earn qualification. Options include the One-Year MBA Programme, the Two-Year MBA Programme, the MMM dual-degree curriculum, the MBAi joint degree from both Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering, and the JD-MA, a ten-month long option that comprises of law and business classes.

MBA acceptance rate: 27.0%

Average GMAT score: 730

Average GPA: 3.64

Average years of work experience: Five years

Stanford Graduate School of Business 

The Stanford Graduate School of Business, also known as Stanford GSB, is one of Stanford University’s seven schools. The business school is just as selective as the university itself and has the lowest acceptance rates of any business school.

The school’s MBA programme encourages personalisation, with ample room for students to make tweaks according to their interests. Stanford GSB also offers a one-year master’s degree programme, a PhD and several executive education programmes.

MBA acceptance rate: 6.9%

Average GMAT score: 734

Average GPA: 3.70

Average years of work experience: Four years

M7 business schools

Hoover Tower looms during a quiet morning at Stanford University. Source: Philip Pacheco / Getty Images / AFP

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business 

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, also known as Chicago Booth, is a graduate-level business school founded in 1889 (one of the oldest business schools in the world). Chicago Booth is well known for its multidiscipline approach to problem-solving and data analysis.

The Chicago Booth MBA covers accounting, economics, psychology, sociology and statistics. There are also 13 concentration for students to choose from during the 21-month programme. For those unable to commit to a full-time programme, there more flexible options such as the Evening MBA or the Weekend MBA.

MBA acceptance rate: 24.2%

Average GMAT score: 730

Average GPA: 3.58

Average years of work experience: Five years

Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania 

Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, simply known as Wharton, is an Ivy League business part of the University of Pennsylvania, a private university founded by Benjamin Franklin. Wharton is well-known for its notable alumni as well as its unparalleled curriculums in finance and economics.

The Wharton MBA provides a general business education, plus the depth of 19 majors and nearly 200 electives. Students select their pathways based on their education career experience and goals. The course is facilitated on-campus in Philadelphia, and takes 20 months to complete (including a recommended three-and-a-half-month summer  internship)

Average acceptance rate: 23.1%

Average GMAT score: 732

Average GPA: 3.61

Average years of work experience: Five years