Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Cancer Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Financial Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.78
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Ms. Sustainable Finance
GMAT Not yet taken- 730 (expected), GPA 3.0 (Equivalent of UK’s 2.1)
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
MIT Sloan | Ms. International Technologist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Art Historian
GRE 332, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Columbia | Mr. Startup Musician
GRE Applying Without a Score, GPA First Class
Chicago Booth | Ms. Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. MGMT Consulting
GMAT 700, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. Future Family Legacy
GMAT Not Yet Taken (Expected 700-750), GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Public Health
GRE 312, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0

What Are the M7 Business Schools?

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.

SECRET MEETINGS TO TRADE GOSSIP, INFORMATION AND BEST PRACTICES

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.

SURPRISES, EVEN AMONG THE SUPER ELITE

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

StatsHarvardWhartonColumbiaChicagoKelloggStanfordMIT
Incoming Class Size936859743581483410406
Acceptance Rate12%21%18%24%22%7%13%
Yield89%69%70%59%48%80%68%
Average GMAT726728716724717732719
Average GPA3.673.603.503.593.543.733.60
Female41%40%36%36%37%42%39%
International35%31%41%36%36%44%40%
Minority24%30%32%22%26%23%25%
Average Age27272828282628

Source: Business school class profiles

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.