New M7 Data, Familiar Magnificence

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What You Can Expect To Pay At 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 $231,672. Of course, that’s the price for a single person — it’s much more costly for married students at one school, at least: Stanford, where the two-year cost of a MBA balloons to $278,352 if you have a spouse.

Then again, all these gaudy tuition and total cost numbers are pre-scholarship grants — and it turns out that even though all of the M7 schools now cost more than $200,000 to attend, all offer financial help at fairly high levels, with both Harvard and Stanford MBA students receiving an average of more than $35,000 annually (according to the most recent data available), and Wharton and Booth students close behind at $32,000 and $30,000, respectively. This data is more than two years old, however, and schools don’t make overall figures like this readily available; check the schools’ websites for more information on fellowships and scholarships. There are many. The money is out there. We know, for example, that Harvard leads the way in aid packages among most schools.

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. 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.

The payoff of an M7 education is indisputable. There are few educational degrees that pay off as quickly as an MBA from one of these top schools and, more importantly, builds on its value over the course of a career. The first-year compensation package for M7 grads tends to be well above $150,000, once you include a sign-on bonus, other year-end compensation, and possible stock options and perks that schools don’t even bother to tally.