The M7: The Super Elite Business Schools By The Numbers

Harvard Business School across the Charles River

Harvard Business School across the Charles River

The M7.

It’s the informal super elite group of seven private business schools generally considered to have the world’s best MBA programs. If you’re in business, you know their names: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, and MIT Sloan.

You can quibble forever over whether the Magnificent 7 really should be the Terrific 10, with Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business thrown in for good measure.

But years ago, the deans of these top seven schools decided to form their informal network to share information and to meet twice a year, and through the years, the group has been limited by the self-anointed seven instiutions. It’s not only the deans who get together. The M7 modality cascades down to meetings among vice deans, admission directors, career management directors, even PR and marketing types.


At the private sessions, for which the schools rotate hosting duties, business school officials trade gossip, best practices, and whatever topical issues end up on the agenda. In the aftermath of Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the onset of the Great Recession, for example, the deans discussed how their schools were responding to the collapsing job market. There’s a good bit of jealousy about these tete a tetes, especially from the deans of schools just outside the Magic 7, who privately gripe about how elitist the whole exercise is.

From an applicant’s point of view, the M7 is something else entirely: It’s the Holy Grail of the MBA Kingdom. Every year, there’s a sizable number of applicants who will only apply to the M7 schools or a subset of them, even though there are many other business schools that are just as or nearly as good. Indeed, for some candidates, a case can easily be made why the Tuck School or the Darden School at the University of Virginia might well be preferable to an M7 institution. After all, the cutoff at seven was arbitrary to begin with and was made at a very different time.

Still, the fascination with this mysterious group and these schools can turn into an obsession for any highly striving MBA candidate. Which is why we’ve put together this comparative look at the M7 players, comparing and contrasting them by everything from GMATs and GPAs to starting salaries and job offer rates.


Even among these elite schools, there are surprises. For the first time ever, the average GMAT score for Wharton’s incoming class in the fall of 2014 beat the Harvard Business School. Wharton said its mean GMAT–often considered something of a proxy for the quality of a class–rose to a new record 728, up from 725 in 2013, which represented a more sizable hike from a score of 718 in the previous four years. The new record is just two points higher than Harvard’s reported 726 average so the difference isn’t all that much. But it does send a signal that Wharton is aggressively playing the GMAT game in admissions, having increased its average score by a full ten points in the past two years.

Make no mistake. When it comes to the top seven MBA programs in the world, you’re looking at the best of the best–a fraction of the 1% of business schools that routinely attract among the best students, faculty, and corporate recruiters. They boast highly achieving alumni and valuable networks of influencials in nearly every walk of life.

Our guide:

The Basics On The Latest Incoming Class At The M7 Schools

Incoming Class Size936859743581483410406
Acceptance Rate12%21%18%24%22%7%13%
Average GMAT726728716724717732719
Average GPA3.673.603.503.593.543.733.60
Average Age27272828282628

Source: Business school class profiles

  • Alex

    Wow Booth is so easy to get into. Why would anyone consider it a top school?

  • marcus

    sorry to bust the wharton bubble.. but any biz school with an admit rate > 20% is a joke. just saying

  • Though we use school website information, we find it very incomplete and simply contact the school for more. That is almost always the case for all the data we use in our stories on the site, from admissions information to pay and employment data.

  • Old and worried

    What’s your source for the average age at Stanford? I couldn’t find it on their website.

  • Follow path of thousands who are earning cash each month by freelancing online… Get informed more on my page—-!—–>disqus page!

  • Erin

    Not really

  • JohnAByrne

    No to first question and average age is at enrollment.

  • mikefatah

    “Average GPA” in the table above shouldn’t be a percentage!

  • Matt

    Two questions, for whoever will answer:

    1. Does the Minority category count international ‘minorities’ too, like foreign Chinese and Indian students?

    2. Is the Average Age the average age upon enrollment, or age during the program?

  • Hell_Biker

    It’s a result of program style. The case-method focus of HBS is fantastic for turning out soft critical thinkers and problem solves, so you get some fantastic consultants from the school. On the other hand it means that you rarely have to deliver and present highly technical reports……which means that you’re probably going to lag behind people who went to schools that focused heavily on those skills.

  • Stickler


    You are clueless. I can tell you as a part-time at a respectable program,you do not need an M7 on the resume. There are plenty of solid companies that will hire you, if you take the time and have the dedication to get involved, lead and prove you are the best at any top 50.

    Truth is, my girlfriend went to #52 and makes 25,000 more than a Harvard MBA out the door, and incurred $0 debt. That puts her, average, higher earning and $80,000 ahead of a Harvard MBA. I am courting offers from respectable consulting firms over the average Harvard salary, as well, because I work in a niche technology field which talent is thin, and demand is high.

    Get a grip. Maybe you are the one that is getting raked over the coals for 200k in total loss. My 200k? Sitting in an investment account.

    Enjoy the M7.

  • Quaker12

    I’d like to point out to you the contrary.
    The exec class goes through the same syllabus, faculty, class hours and rigor as full time. In my experience, in a head-to-head academic test, the exec class might come just a notch behind the full time; however in an overall test (which is what MBA is about), the exec class comes way ahead. This is why interviewers tend to prefer Execs, even for junior positions. This is not to say the full time program has a fault; it’s just that the Exec students come with management experience along with academic achievements.

  • Nick Darling

    Um, I think there’s only ONE criteria in comparing the M7 schools against each other. And only one. If someone is accepted at two or more of these schools, where do they go?

    Got some bad news Wharton and the others (except maybe Stanford): EVERYONE would take HBS. Everyone. No exceptions.

    The ONLY other school that an HBS admit might take is Stanford. The only one.

    Get a grip, Wharton. Your #1 admit couldn’t get into HBS. In other words, Wharton’s best student is worse than HBS’s worst student.

  • Ben Franklin

    I’m guessing you went to Sloan. The fallacy about Wharton is that it never Really went down. Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia grads will all earn about $1mm extra in median lifetime income, which probably equates to the $330k of opportunity cost invested at ~10% over that same lifetime period. However, even if your wealth is roughly the same, the M7 MBA can open so many doors and add “soft value” throughout one’s entire professional career. You have credentials and a vast alumni network. THAT is the difference between going through life with versus without an elite MBA. It’s prestige, credibility, lifelong bonds with people of diverse professional backgrounds, and peace of mind.

  • fidel305

    Of course you calling something silly doesn’t make it silly and in fact is a silly argument.

    the question remains as to the long term value of giving up 200k+ in earnings and incurring 200k in debt and removing yourself from the workforce during 2 prime years for advancement .

    I am not the first to point this out.

    so, HBS, GBS, MIT (for different reasons), all… Yes.

    maybe Wharton if it makes a comeback

    Kellogg, booth.and Columbia only with scholarship money.

    and no to.all the rest

  • iwantHSWnow

    but it’s true that a lot of my Wall st colleagues believe most MBA subjects teach you nothing, except intensive finance courses – in order to understand modeling theory and build novel algorithms.

    The entire M7 is an excellent group to aim for.

  • iwantHSWnow

    Wharton has the most developed, largest and most international alumni network. But it depends on what industry you want to go into.

  • Ben Franklin

    Fidel, you are silly. What is the opportunity cost of NOT going to a top-20 program over one’s lifetime, considering an MBA’s enhancements to lifetime earning potential? You think measly scholarship assistance should be a make-or-break factor for those applying to Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, or possibly Wharton?
    …u basic

  • Ben Franklin

    Recruiters & employers just clearly don’t agree with you, silly. THAT is exactly why I didn’t apply to Booth in Round 2, amongst other reasons.
    ~Wharton 2017 Hopeful

  • fidel305

    yeah, but Wharton grads are disproportionately obnoxious, so there’s that. But don’t worry; Booth is catching up.

  • fidel305

    b school is not about the education. it’s about enhancing future earnings through networking and job placement. you’re wasting your time and money if you go to a non-M7 school.

  • HBS2+2

    Hello John. Thanks so much for the information regarding the salary. I have couple of questions and would really appreciate if anyone could answer them.

    1) I assume that people with the salaries above $135K should be those with 5+ years of pre-MBA experience. Do you have any information of what graduates with 2 years of experience make?
    2) Is 5 years pre-MBA required for high paid consulting and finance jobs?
    3) Do employers look differently at traditional Harvard MBA grads and those from 2+2 program?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Ben Franklin

    Is it not a social good to improve efficiency, increase corporate profits and competitiveness, and reshape aging industries to ultimately raise the collective standard of living for our fellow citizens? How about contributing to GDP growth in our country so that we can pay down national debt while preventing widespread economic calamity?

    More MBAs need to breach the halls of Congress as well, rather than just those with law or political science backgrounds.

    There’s a social benefit that comes from financial modeling, analytical rigor, and leveraging corporate ties. Moreover, the private sector is playing an increasingly important role in solving some of our social and global sustainability problems.

    Yes, the MBA increases wealth for those who have earned the title, but also for everyone else.

  • avivalasvegas

    Technically, I didn’t call anyone a bad human being. Apologies if you felt offended, R2D2 🙂

  • avivalasvegas

    I went to one of the better M7 schools John. I’m no cynic and can state with certainty that the smaller % of my colleagues were interested in making a true difference with their lives / incredibly nice people/ or even intellectually curious. I’d estimate < 35%. I don't claim to be any of the above but I did leave business school doing exactly what I said I would on my admission essays and have stayed true to my career interests throughout. I'm known at my business school as the go to person for my profession/ field, a testament to this fact. I'm one of the few though.
    The rest became interested in banking careers or becoming management consultants with the best possible of the MBBD lot. Even the ever optimistic entrepreneurs amongst us fell one by one, once the competition winnings were spent. The majority of us who came to Business school with starry eyed ambition were overwhelmed by the power and seduction that these firms are capable off.
    In the end, only a few leave a top tier program with their dreams intact – admittedly more at some M7 schools than the others. The rest sacrifice them at the altars of corporate America's temples. I'm yet to meet an incredibly nice person who's sacrificed his/her dreams for $.

  • Matt

    Agreed, the MBA is primarily sought for money and not even John could disagree with that. That being said there still are some who enter nonprofit/social sector work but they are a small minority — just look at employment reports. That’s not to say an MBA doesn’t end up in a social service role at some point in their career but the initial purpose of the MBA is primarily to make money.

  • Dave

    I may be a robot, but at least I don’t go around calling people bad human beings. That is very rude. Please think before you insult!

  • ikillufoo

    They’re quite vocal, but they do seem to support everything with facts. But this site really should be more about the facts and not bitter competition between individual schools.

    1. First business school in the U.S. First business school in the world affiliated with a University (why Wharton markets itself as the world’s first collegiate business school)

    2. Domination of virtually all finance rankings.

    3. Highest pay based on the new report released on MBA figures. Undergrad is a guarantee every year.

    4. Their history is basically factual. Wharton has had a lot of innovations, while other schools pale in comparison and even try to obscure their lack of historical significance.

    5. Their research output and number of citations received is miles ahead of any other school.

    6. All the Central Bank governors and Finance Ministers who chose to study abroad do seem to have a finance degree from Wharton.

    7. They do account for the vast majority of billionaires in finance.

  • Andrew

    Hahaha!! THIS!!!!!

  • 2cents

    John I think you misread my comment – I didn’t express any opinion on the amount of automatons v. sympathetic individuals, just that I felt the ratio was consistent across the M7. Compared to the general population at a generic company or organization yes of course MBA students are substantially more sympathetic on average at these schools.

    Since you went there though, I do take some issue with the blanket statement – among the more intellectually rigorous (the high-end graduate school types for example), the MBA is one of the least altruistic by nature (think education, which will never pay for itself as a degree except for the highest level PhD’s). Plenty of my former classmates have gone on to try and change the world for the better, run nonprofits effectively, get involved with bringing about peace, build clean-tech companies from scratch, etc., so I don’t mean to downplay the power of the degree to that end. I also do not disagree that the substantial majority of these students are good people; I just would point out that the degree itself is not altruistic by nature as compared to someone like the PhD student developing regenerative neurons in a lab for 30K a year to help millions of people.

  • 2cents

    Assume you’re responding to forex and not me? Well beyond my MBA days, but I wasn’t saying that they were integrated. Should’ve caveated with “I doubt they are completely integrated because it would be…”

  • JohnAByrne

    First off, having visited every one of these schools many times over the years and having met many of the students, I can assure you that the number of “automatons” you would meet is far less than in any company or organization. The students who get into these programs–and many other top business schools around the world–defy the MBA stereotype. As far as I am concerned, they are among the best and brightest of their generation. And by and large, they are people who are intellectually curious about the world and society, eager to make a true difference with their lives, and incredibly nice people. I know the cynics will tell you otherwise. I can assure you they are dead wrong.

  • Ben Franklin

    None of the several classes I sat in on had undergraduates… Do your hw and go visit!

  • 2cents

    Most M7 MBA programs have grade non-disclosure. I take it you are an undergraduate? because completely integrated classes would be a disservice to the MBA experience where that second word, experience, is key. a 29 year old Israeli heir for example isn’t hanging out with a 20 year old Warren Buffet (who didn’t pursue his MBA at Wharton) outside of the classroom, and the latter isn’t teaching the former anything. Regardless grades would stratify naturally the same way law school works – those with experience only compete against the others with experience except for the top 2% of the class.

    And the generic grads with a metaphorical fire did destroy Wall St. for everyone else and then left for the Valley. Careful with the word choice.

  • avivalasvegas

    I’d take that bet 2cents 🙂

  • forex

    It sounds like he was saying it’s a deterrent for some applicants who are afraid of the fierce curve and competition. I.e. people who want to have a easier, less caffeine/guarana/taurine-infused experience.

    Employers, on the other hand, like this type of personality – especially on Wall Street, and definitely for traders. A bit of ego is healthy on the Street. Their MBAs have it, their undergrads sometimes have even more as life hasn’t knocked them down before at that age.

  • forex

    The undergraduate and MBA students have the same classes and sit together. Everything after the first year of core classes. All upper level and elective units.

    Same lectures, faculty, quality of education.
    The undergrads are all used to being #1, and the curve results in absolute chaos – this breeds the kill or be killed personality that Wall Street is dominated by. Same with the MBAs. This is what results in the shark tank atmosphere that makes Wharton so competitive.

  • Bullsfan123

    You’re probably right about turning into a bob – I only used the term “Jackpot” because that’s what Poets&Quants calls it in their compensation article. Quoting pay numbers never makes anyone look great. You probably wouldn’t do it with strangers or friends, but it was in response to a question about compensation so I went ahead and gave the info. As for turning into a “Bob”, that probably happened a while ago. I suspect many of this blog’s readers are “Bob’s”. Oh well. There are worse things.

  • 2cents

    Tell us how you really feel about those other schools avivalasvegas :). Great people at Kellogg, MIT and Stanford, but I would take money to Vegas that the ratio of good people: automatons at all M7 schools is about the same.

  • avivalasvegas

    You’ll see a lot of that at Kellogg and MIT…less so at Stanford but they’re still better human beings than the robots @ Harvard, Wharton, Columbia and Booth

  • 2cents

    I’ve actually felt this way in hiring over the last few years… It tends to be that the majority of Wharton alums are perfectly gregarious and amicable, but they seem to have more bad apples than the rest (the types that would go on a blog to promote their own brand over others for example, which always seemed more defensive than me than offensive). The problem for these types is that, in most of the top-level of the professional world, relationships are all that matter and you could never make one of these guys a PE fund key-man for example. The school seems to be trying to distance itself from this in order to avoid a “cut of the nose to spite the face” situation.

    Also find it strange that they include undergraduates in their MBA discussions. I certainly wouldn’t say that the MBAs own Finance, but they do great work in the space and frankly their alumni in other fields are substantially more impressive.

  • avivalasvegas

    All this Wharton love is making me love Wharton too. And I didnt even get my top tier MBA from Wharton. Woohoo! Go Wharton! Who needs other professions like Strategy, Marketing, Healthcare, Education, Media and Consulting? We can solve all the world’s problems with Finance…but not Booth Finance…Wharton Finance! Yeah!! Crush it Wharton!!

  • ReoSpeewagon

    Yo dawg,…I graduated from a fancy MBA program(yes, one of the 7) a while back. My buddies were pumped about consulting & solving
    “complex business issues” by “unlocking value” & “optimizing processes”…lol…guess what, you ever see Office Space? Well these guys were turned into ‘Bobs’ after passing all those crazy complex interviews. After an LBO goes down, they were sent in to lay people off. Ask around…haha jackpot indeed, Bob…

  • Ben Franklin

    recruiters don’t believe so

  • dave fraser

    Somewhat deceptive to say “Kellogg” when you mean “Northwestern.”

  • pissed

    exactly right. I worked in silicon valley tech. A Stanford undergrad or graduate degree opens a lot of doors. Many top positions are held by Stanford grads. And who wouldn’t rather live on the west coast anyway, and study in an amazing location like Stanford? UC Bkly not bad either.

  • Ben Franklin

    Not only that, but from what I’ve seen and heard, Wharton’s student body has the most fun and is the absolute tightest in comparison to other B-schools.

    That is why I applied R2.

  • Agreed

    Agreed! Exec MBA Programs enhance business schools. Booth knows this, Wharton knows this, MIT knows this, Columbia knows this, Kellogg knows this, Haas knows this, Duke knows this, Cornell knows this, Darden knows this, Yale knows this, and Michigan too! Only Harvard, Dartmouth and Stanford do not – but they make up for it with other executive offerings.

  • Redcash

    Yes, this is right.

    Having the #1 undergrad, #1 executive MBA, and #1 MBA program in the world raises Wharton to being the WORLD’S PREMIER BUSINESS SCHOOL.

    It’s very hard to dispute this, especially with Wharton’s history and unmatched academic research output and its data-intensive process.

  • Lazard1MM

    LOL… the Exec MBA attracts CEOs, CFOs, future CEO/CFOs, etc.
    It strengthens the brand. It’s called EXECUTIVE for a reason.

    Rather than taking a chance on people entering MBA programs after a midlife crisis or career transition, it gives Wharton MBAs to those who are already on the fast track to success and are being groomed for top positions.

    Same thing with undergrads. It strengthens the brand by taking the crème of the crop right from the starting line. Heirs to massive business empires, Wharton legacy kids with parents who also went to Wharton. Basically everyone who knows they want to go into finance or any field of business starting out.

    These all STRENGTHEN THE BRAND of Wharton. They only hand out legitimate Wharton degrees. Not weekend programs that steal your money like the exec programs at H/S.

    If anything, schools with random executive programs (hbx or whatever it’s called) MASSIVELY DILUTE their brand. I always laugh when I see advertisements for the hbx programs.

  • Ben Franklin

    I seriously doubt that having the #1 Exec MBA program (with ~200 candidates annually) dilutes the brand. After all, EMBA targets a different audience and there is a clear delineation on one’s resume. If anything, it expands the alumni network.

  • bwanamia

    Clarification: I always considered MIT one of the top five schools. This analysis shows MIT in the a cluster of the top four.

  • bwanamia

    Huge exec MBA classes at Wharton dilute the brand. It’s purportedly the same MBA, though you can tell the difference in that Wharton exec MBAs don’t graduate with a major.

  • bwanamia

    For the hell of it, why not rank these schools by totaling their ranks in the disciplines or specialties (dropping the four lowest ranking or unranked disciplines)? On that basis, the scores are: S/17, H/23, W/14, Ch/47, Co/42, K/46, M/16.

    If you do it this way, there are two groups within the “M7”: HSWM and ChCoK.

    The only surprise is MIT.

  • Ben Franklin

    This year, Stanford admitted ~240 US students vs. Wharton’s ~600. Stanford might have a networking/size issue in the more traditional workplace. With more Stanford grads going into start-ups and being more concentrated on the West Coast, this leaves CONSIDERABLY LESS alumni to connect with across major firms, especially in the Northeast. So, it’s really a matter of preference, and to each her own.

  • Ben Franklin

    Can you suggest reasons why Chicago’s alumni network is larger than Wharton’s in the table above? (When Wharton’s class size has been considerably larger through the years)

  • skewed

    The sloan class profile lists their avg gmat as 713 – did they also confirm the 719 you have listed?

  • Ben Franklin

    Ask Wharton Admissions to verify this

  • UmNoJustNo

    Totally agree. The EU schools really should be included in the discussion because the top ones are excellent.

  • Wakse

    I am worrying about the stanford trend, latest employment report shows majority got jobs in financial services, the figures above show younger people with indian-style stats.

  • Lazard1MM

    Add the Wharton undergrads, and it’s game over. Wharton’s influence in finance and even consulting is HANDS DOWN #1.
    In the world.

    Wharton Undergrad + MBA going into Wall Street/finance is 3x the volume of any other school.

  • sotrue

    Yep. Wharton undergrads also make Harvard finance kids look like garbage when it comes to financial modeling or anything finance related.

  • callyourbluff

    The thing is, all the business school administrators and professors are relatively old – they are around 50+, some much older, and have been around for a while when Wharton pretty much ran the show on the global stage. They don’t pay attention to these little incoming class stats, and think all this media stuff is noise.

    The academic community around the world has tremendous respect for the academic rigor and contributions Wharton makes, as do economists.

    Stanford is a good, intimate school with their 100 faculty or so, but isn’t seen as rigorous – definitely NOT the gladiators arena Wharton is associated with – both their MBA/undergrads are killers, and graduate wanting to dominate Wall Street.

    …are you sure you’re not an imposter?

  • Wharton

    Wharton alum here. Even though I agree wharton deserves the top spot alonwith Harvard and Stanford and maybe one year we might see wharton getting ahead of Harvard but I find it very difficult to believe wharton will be ahead of Stanford. With its top notch tech/entrepreneurship presence as well as it’s quality in the more traditional business fields, Stanford will stay on top for many years to come.

  • AMEXmarketing

    no one is arguing about finance.

  • VCPE


    Harvard Finance kids = HUGE INFERIORITY COMPLEX on Wall Street.


  • NoOneCares

    All these Wharton people are such cry babies with massive inferiority complexes.

  • Matt

    Not to jump on the bandwagon but I think Yale is poised to be a stable T10 in 5-10 years. Once they shake the nonprofit stigma and more traditional companies boost recruiting there it will be a powerhouse with the rest of the upper ranks. FYI this coming from a Boothie.

  • zxcvb354

    Sure it may be plausible.

    But this is precisely why these numbers DON’T mean anything in the LONG RUN. It means NOTHING, because perceptions change back and forth.

    The only thing stable is probably the M7/10 grouping overall.

  • nothing_to_see_here

    Did gawker media bought out P&Q?

  • gpacurve

    this might be right, it certainly sounds plausible.
    also about the yield, Wharton has a fierce rep for being incredibly competitive/cutthroat. This could be a deterrent

  • stoptheMadness

    This site has the potential to become a source of real journalism… stop this bickering between individual schools. The world is bigger than these little discussion boards, and what goes on here will not affect how the world views these institutions. At all. Trust me.

    The academic community and the business community don’t pay attention to these things. They’re too busy making $$$$$.

    You may be absolutely right about Wharton. Or you could be wrong. Who knows? Who cares? Even non-M7 schools are excellent if the quality of education is there.

  • DCashflowKING

    Wharton seems poised to start dominating rankings again, but we really don’t know what the future holds. All statistics follow suit.

    Always #1 in USNWR finance rankings – USNWR itself is owned by Wharton alum (he’s the Editor in Chief, lol)
    Currently tied for #1, and maybe it’ll break away next year for the sole title.

    Wharton was #1 in Bloomberg BW for 8 years consecutively, and looks like it will start it’s second reich.

    Wharton was #1 in Financial Times in the WORLD every year between 2000-2009, and again 2011. As the financial markets rebound (and they will sooner rather than later), Wharton will regain it’s top #1 world position again. Then we shall see.

  • RG

    Congrats Stephen. I got into Kellogg and Duke in round 1. Wasn’t as tough a call for me ;)). See you soon at Kellogg !

  • R2 Hopeful

    Congrats to you, hoping to replicate this in R2. That’s exactly the non-elitist attitude Id expect from a KSM admit.

  • truthinNUMBERS#

    This is all true. but I also agree that the top 7 or 10 will remain stable as a group.

  • Hillary

    Are there any tangible benefits to going to an M7 school vs. Tuck/Haas? For example, do you know of any companies that strictly only recruit at M7? Are there M7 networking events, etc.?
    I like the programs at Tuck/Haas slightly better, but maybe I should be leaning towards an M7 despite that?

  • A Nony Mous

    “Who cares about statistics. Look at outcomes.”

    Aren’t outcomes also factored in the statistics?

  • JohnAByrne

    That is why we wrote this story in the immediate aftermath of the WSJ piece:

  • hbsguru

    “They change over time.”
    Well, yes BUT. Academic reputations are surprisingly SLOW changing as are most other things associated with the academy. Within the academy B schools are recent arrivals (sort of in the last 100 years) and are the most subject to change, but man, this is not biotech energy, or even finance. I got a feeling the top 10 are going to stay that way for a long time.

  • CommonSense

    It’s upsetting that the media has this kind of sway, but such is life. Wharton has best employment reports, sends more to tech and Google than ever and the yield was actually super high when the WSJ article was written. Yet the very biased article actually hurt the school itself. Media will massage the facts for a storyline; where are the checks and balances on reporters who report such rubbish and cause real harm?

  • Here’s to Hoping

    Well there is no doubt that Duke has certainly blown you away! I also admire Duke greatly which is why I said what I did in prior post.

  • Noel

    Duke is already there for my money. Who cares about statistics. Look at outcomes. Fuqua will blow you away.

  • Here’s to Hoping

    Appreciate your never ending cheerleading for Yale SOM, but doubtful that Yale truly would bust into the M7. However, hope is always a positive attribute IMO. I do think though that the M7 is really a silly and self-serving reference for members of that group and that the “Terrific 10” as Mr. Byrne described in this article is more realistic and that Yale certainly could become a fixture in that sphere with Duke and maybe one or two others over time

  • Bullsfan123

    I just finished OCR at Kellogg (class of 2015) and have accepted a consulting offer. While the school may not have reported the figures I can assure you that we are compensated along the same lines as our peers. My all in “Jackpot” number will be roughly 195: (135 base + 25 signing + 5 relocation + 33 end of year). Given Kellogg’s high number of consulting hires you can expect many of my classmates to see similar pay numbers.

  • R2 applicant

    Jenny, you raised a fair doubt on your first comment. John prove you wrong. Please, just move on.

  • Stephen

    Wow, great analysis and a very informative article! Having been fortunate to gain admission to two of the M7 (Booth/Kellogg) I find this very timely. I appreciate your initial point that each of these programs are world-class and will likely get you where you want to go. I’m sure others will pick apart a few percentage points, or worse the rankings, here and there but at the end of the day it’s futile bc these are all top programs. Coming from a large (sports-centric) university I appreciate school pride as much as anyone but in most cases it really is splitting hairs when it comes to the M7.

    Ultimately I am choosing Kellogg for a number or reasons, all related to my own personal preferences/goals but any of these schools are great options. Best of luck to all the applicants this season…and for those admitted, I hope to see you in a few case comps!

  • veryinteresting

    good stuff… keep it up

  • Datacrunch8

    John. Excellent article. Detached, objective, no non-sense.

    I analyse market trends for a living, and like to think I’m pretty good at my job – otherwise, I probably wouldn’t deserve some of these bonuses. One of the fundamental tenets of equity analysis is that market psychology is often unpredictable.
    *As Buffett/Graham frequently point out, it’s based on temporary emotions, perceptions, and personal biases.

    It’s important not to try delving too far into their thought processes. And business school perceptions, industry job market trends (i.e. whether biotech, energy, financial services/banking sectors are expanding or contracting) and associated factors are highly dynamic. They change over time. It would be a mistake to try to attribute these fluctuations to anything permanent or intransient.

    Only complaint would be lack of coverage of UK/EU schools, but I know you’ve found it difficult to obtain this information in the past. I think taking on a more international perspective would be a good, long-term strategy for this website.

  • CAPMx

    John: first, THANK YOU for the impartial reporting – just the numbers, figures, trends without any unnecessary interpretation and story-line to attempt explaining it.

    Who really knows what these applicants are thinking? Maybe they all want to study management. Maybe they love case studies, or are terrified of numbers. NO ONE KNOWS.

    Let’s remember each year is a single data point in a chart of history that will go on for centuries. This year was obviously distorted by that example of hilariously BAD JOURNALISM in the WSJ on Wharton.

    It received the best rankings again in USNWR since then, as well as gaining to 2nd place on Bloomberg BW – essentially #1, because Fuqua’s capital IQ score was likely inaccurate relative to Wharton’s research output.

    These figures mean absolutely nothing – a mere speck of dust in the history of business school history – it will all be forgotten next year/cycle, then the next, etc. Long term achievements of business schools, however, linger forever and are immortalized.

  • cyclesover

    This is precisely why it’s foolish to attach too much meaning to annual numbers. It’s based entirely on a SINGLE INCOMING CLASS’ perceptions and biases, distorted by media and other figures. Human psychology is vulnerable to manipulation.

    Statistics and application trends shift all the time. As W goes up in rankings, apps rise – note WH’s acceptance rate was MUCH lower throughout history, while many treated HBS as a joke – they specialized in “public administration” before becoming more business-focused.

    History, like all things, are cyclical and these times will return.

  • JohnAByrne

    Though Wharton reversed a two-year downward trend in application volume last year, apps were only up by 73 applicants. Given the Wall Street Journal story, I’m guessing that Wharton had to accept a slightly higher percentage of candidates due to that story’s impact on its yield which obviously fell.

  • Sammy

    Yield for Stanford is more like 85% as they admitted 480 for their class of 410

  • Facts

    Interesting that Wharton’s yield dropped from 75% to 67% in one year, probably the result of that biased Wall Street Journal article and all the bad press associated with it. Amazing how much the press can change yearly perception. Wonder if the 2017 class yield will go back up after this years’ more positive press – US News ranking etc. Unless…people look at the 2016 class yield when making a decision this year. And so the cycle continues, no real substantial changes but lots of news stories and new rankings trying to drum up media interest.

  • JohnAByrne

    Wharton has confirmed our numbers of a 21% acceptance rate and a 67% yield rate for the Class of 2016. The U.S. News numbers are a year out of date.

  • devilso508

    Not Reported.

  • TechInsane

    Great analysis, however I am suprised that team project learning is not found in three of the universities, this is critical in working with people. Secondly, thanks for including the costs vs returns table, it is really useful against the MBA worth it or not arguments.


    MBA student.

  • BizSchoolNerd

    Wharton 2015 class, acceptance rate of 18.7% per USN. 6036 applicants, means 1128 were accepted, class size of 845 implies a Wharton yield of 75%. – actually pretty close to Stanford’s yield.

  • Jenny

    I was basing this on 2015 data; you had originally reported 2015 data as 21% acceptance rate, 69% yield, while yield was actually mid 70’s, with near 18% acceptance rate. Where are you getting the 2016 number that 1,283 people were accepted? I do not see the number accepted in the 2016 class profile presented.

  • JohnAByrne

    Not sure why you think the number is 18%. Our data shows that 6,111 candidates applied for admission to the Class of 2016. About 1,283 were accepted (21%) and 859 ultimately enrolled (67%). Please point me to where you are getting the 18% number.

  • Jenny

    John, why do you keep showing the incorrect numbers for Wharton? The acceptance rate the past year was closer to 18%, not 21%.

  • Norbert Weiner

    This is a great analysis; Makes me even happier than Snyder is at Yale now. I hope SOM’s ascent over the last few years continues, propelling it into the M7.

  • Jon

    Hi John,

    I appreciate this article, it obviously took a lot of time to compile this research.

    I did have a compensation question related to Kellogg. There is nothing listed for “median other comp” for Northwestern, while all other M7 schools (and many other top 25) have this. Is this because it is not reported, or is it because Kellogg graduates don’t get this compensation (which I assume is guaranteed end-of-year bonus, relocation expenses, etc.). If it’s the latter, why do you think this is the case with Kellogg graduates?

    Any insight would be appreciated, and apologies if you have answered this before elsewhere.

  • Lisa

    Also the yield at Wharton was not 69% this year, it was mid 70’s.

  • InterestedApplicant

    John, you may want to correct this sentence (though it gave me a good laugh to read): “Not to toot our own horn, but it’s worth nothing that every M7 school is in the top seven positions of the 2014 composite ranking by Poets&Quants….”

  • Min

    Being Wharton fan I must clearly admit that Harvard leads in many numbers. Great article.