What Are the M7 Business Schools?

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What You Can Expect To Pay & What You Can Expect To Get From An M7 School

An MBA degree from an M7 school is pretty much a sure thing. No one is going to question your decision to go to any of these schools, and very few of the graduates from these institutions regret their choice to attend. But none of this comes cheap.

The highest estimated cost of the MBA degree among these elite schools is at Stanford where the price tag, including living expenses, is now more than $200,000. Of course, that’s the price before any scholarship grants–and it turns out that if you need financial help Stanford is among the more generous business schools in the world. The average annual grant to an MBA student at Stanford is $35,830 and 52% of the students receive fellowship support from the school.

That’s an important part of the financial puzzle to keep in mind when you apply to these schools. Don’t let the sky high tuition scare you off. Stanford, Harvard, and Chicago Booth are awarding large sums of money to students that make essentially make the return on investment of their MBA degrees outrageously good. In effect, every school has a two-tier pricing structure for the MBA: the full sticker price and the discounted price. Stanford and Harvard claim to only give out money based on need, but all the other schools are using the cash to lure the best qualified applicants to their programs.

Once you’re in one of these MBA programs, you can see what kind of teaching methods you’re likely to encounter. There’s no surprise that Harvard is on the extreme end when it comes to case study teaching. The school estimates that 80% of all the learning at HBS is via the case method. It’s also no surprise that the team with the most team project work–25% is Kellogg, known around the world for its highly collaborative culture. Among the M7 schools, MIT Sloan claims that it piles on the most experiential learning, with 22% of the teaching delivered that way.

The largest core classes are at Harvard which puts as many as 94 students in a classroom. The smallest core courses are at Stanford and Chicago Booth which claim that they sign up no more than 50 students per class. Interestingly, every school estimates that the typical class size for electives is exactly 43 students.

Costs Of An M7 MBA Degree

StatsStanfordHarvardWhartonChicagoColumbiaKelloggMIT
Total Estimated Cost$202,870$190,028$195,084$189,866$192,936$177,614$192,028
Two-Year Tuition$123,750$117,750$136,420$123,040$126,296$123,192$127,500
Student Debt Burden$77,599$78,991$117,200*$72,959*$114,800*$88,740*$80,598

Source: P&Q analysis

The M7 Scholarship Grants

StatsStanfordHarvardWharton*Chicago*Columbia*KelloggMIT*
Total Scholarship Money$15.7 million$31.5 million$16.9 million$16.3 million$10.1 million$11.8 million$8.1 million
% of Gross Tuition31.0%28.6%14.8%22.6%12.5%27.9%15.6%
Average Annual Grant$35,830$32,000$30,500$30,000$20,500$22,800$28,220
% of MBAs on Scholarship52%50%33%60%46%35%35%

Source: P&Q analysis

The M7 MBA Experience

StatsStanfordHarvardWhartonChicagoColumbiaKelloggMIT
Case Study Teaching40%80%40%30%*40%30%30%
Lecture Teaching20%——-30%40%*30%28%20%
Experiential Learning15%5%10%——-——-——-22%
Team Project Learning——-10%——-10%*15%25%——-
Size of Core Classes50945750665866
Size of Elective Classes43434343434343

Source: Business schools reporting to Bloomberg Businessweek

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.