The M7 By The Numbers: What It Takes To Get In & What It Means For Your Career

The M7 By The Numbers: What It Takes To Get In & What It Means For Your Life

Four years ago, only two of the seven schools in the M7 had 40% or greater female enrollment. Now all seven do

Cost is a major structural barrier to joining the M7 — just as it is to building board rooms, management teams, and workforces that better resemble the societies in which they operate. The M7 solution to the exorbitant cost of attendance has been to offer an increasing number of scholarships and greater accessibility to underrepresented groups. In 2022, Harvard Business school announced plans to cover tuition and fees for 10% of its admits based on need; this was in the midst of a five-year span in which HBS resolutely maintained a flat tuition rate, only breaking that streak for those entering in fall 2023.

Likewise, Columbia kept its tuition stable for three straight admission cycles. Stanford and Harvard offer average annual awards of between $44,000 and $46,000 that are received by half the respective MBA programs’ students. Kellogg has boasted that nearly two-thirds qualify for and receive financial aid.

But the fact remains: The M7 are not just the most illustrious of the world’s business schools — they are also the most expensive. Depending on living expenses, which fluctuate significantly according to school location and a student’s family size, two years of a full-time residential program at one of the M7 schools can cost anywhere from a quarter million dollars to well over $300K. The estimated average two-year cost at the M7 in 2024 was $247,550, up from around $241,000 in 2023. See tables below for details.

TUITION AT THE M7: 2023-2024

School Tuition 2024 Tuition 2023 Y-O-Y Change
Harvard $ 76,410 $ 74,910 $1,500 (2.0%)
Wharton $ 84,830 $ 87,370 -$2,540 (2.9%)
Columbia $ 88,300 $ 84,496 $3,804 (4.5%)
Chicago (Booth) $ 84,198 $ 80,961 $3,237 (4.0%)
Northwestern (Kellogg) $ 83,610 $ 81,015 $2,595 (3.2%)
Stanford GBS $ 82,455 $ 79,860 $2,595 (3.2%)
MIT (Sloan) $ 86,550 $ 84,200 $2,350 (2.8%)

Source: M7 business schools

TOTAL COST AT THE M7: 2023-2024

School Total Cost 2024 Total Cost 2023 Y-O-Y Change
Harvard $ 118,854 $ 115,638 $3,216 (2.8%)
Wharton $ 127,716 $ 124,476 $3,240 (2.6%)
Columbia $ 132,258 $ 127,058 $5,200 (4.1%)
Chicago (Booth) $ 125,937 $ 122,160 $3,777 (3.1%)
Northwestern (Kellogg) $ 125,191 $ 120,432 $4,759 (4.0%)
Stanford GBS $ 130,746 $ 126,465 $4,281 (3.4%)
MIT (Sloan) $ 126,744 $ 109,180 $17,564 (16.1%)

Source: M7 business schools

ESTIMATED 2-YEAR COST AT THE M7: 2023-2024

School Estimated 2-Year Cost 2024 Estimated 2-Year Cost 2023 Y-O-Y Change
Harvard $ 234,492 $ 227,944 $6,548 (2.9%)
Wharton $ 252,192 $ 243,044 $9,148 (3.8%)
Columbia $ 259,316 $ 249,518 $9,798 (3.9%)
Chicago (Booth) $ 248,097 $ 237,622 $10,475 (4.4%)
Northwestern (Kellogg) $ 245,623 $ 237,691 $7,932 (3.3%)
Stanford GBS $ 257,211 $ 250,854 $6,357 (2.5%)
MIT (Sloan) $ 235,924 $ 229,175 $6,749 (2.9%)

Source: M7 business schools & P&Q analysis


HURDLES & DARK CLOUDS

If the cost hurdle can be overcome — and the schools collectively offer dozens of fellowships, scholarships and other aid to help make that happen — an MBA from one of the M7 schools is, simply put, a ladder to higher status in society. In 2023, median starting salaries ticked upward at four of the seven schools, remaining flat — but still elite-level high — at the others. Signing bonuses were mostly flat but remain among the highest reported by any MBAs anywhere. Median compensation, calculated using the percentage of those reporting a bonus, grew at four of the seven schools and dropped slightly at two; some of the M7 schools report — and all have grads who receive — other compensation such as stock and relocation options, which add to their totals.

In short, for a thrifty MBA from an M7, it should take no more than five years to pay off the cost of their degree.

Dark clouds have gathered over this sanguine reality in recent years. In 2023, for the first time in years, M7 MBAs had to sweat finding a job in the first place. Placement rates, almost always remarkably stable and high, wavered at all the schools, dropping to the low 80s at Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford. But they are unlikely to stay there.

PAY & PLACEMENT AT THE M7 BUSINESS SCHOOLS: 2022-2023

Stats Harvard Wharton Columbia Booth Kellogg Stanford MIT
2023 Median Base Salary (2022) $175,000 ($175,000) $175,000 ($175,000) $175,000 ($175,000) $180,000 ($175,000) $175,000 ($164,000) $182,500 ($175,000) $170,000 ($165,000)
2023 Median Signing Bonus (2022) $30,000 ($30,000) N/A (N/A) $30,000 ($30,000) $33,000 ($30,000) $30,000 ($30,000) $30,000 ($30,000) $30,000 ($30,000)
2023 Median Total Compensation (2022) $220,100 ($223,100) N/A (N/A) $201,780 ($203,252) $203,430 ($196,600) $200,500 ($191,100) $231,200 ($218,350) $217,780 ($204,700)
2023 Job Offers at 3 Months (2022) 86% (95%) 97.2% (99.8%) 84% (95%) 95.6% (94.3%) 94.5% (98.5%) 89% (93%) 90.2% (96.6%)
2023 Job Accepts 3 Months (2022) 80% (90%) 92.3% (99.5%) 81% (92%) 94.3% (96.3%) 91.9% (97.3%) 82% (84%) 86.9% (94.4%)

Source: B-school employment reports


WHEREVER THEY GO, THERE THEY ARE

Where do M7 MBAs go to work once they have left the rarefied air of their respective B-schools? You may not be surprised to learn that the largest group of Harvard, Wharton, and Columbia grads work in finance, or that Booth and Kellogg send most of their MBAs into consulting — as it has always been.

But it might interest you to know that Stanford techies — despite their location in the heart of Silicon Valley — are actually second at the school to finance grads — and that most Sloanies are consultants, with tech topping finance for second place.

Which schools produce the most entrepreneurs? Which send the most MBAs into healthcare? See the Class of 2023 distribution below for answers, with Class of 2022 in parentheses for year-to-year comparisons.

INDUSTRY CHOICES OF M7 GRADS 2022-2023

Class of 2023 (2022) Harvard Wharton Columbia Booth Kellogg Stanford MIT
Consulting 25% (26%) 28.8% (24.0%) 36.3% (33.6%) 38.6% (35.5%) 42% (40%) 15% (15%) 33.7% (31.2%)
Finance 35% (34%) 37.3% (38.6%) 35.7% (36.9%) 32.6% (35.1%) 22% (16%) 38% (33%) 19.9% (22.6%)
Tech 16% (19%) 13.5% (19.4%) 10.8% (14.1%) 15.5% (14.9%) 17% (21%) 24% (30%) 24.1% (22.6%)
Consumer Products/Retail 4% (4%) 0.9% (1.6%) 4.0% (3.5%) 3.6% (2.9%) 7% (10%) 3% (2%) 2.7% (3.6%)
Health 5% (5%) 5.4% (5.6%) 2.6% (2.6%) 2.8% (4.1%) 3% (4%) 4% (5%) 5.8% (6.8%)
Manufacturing 6% (5%) 1.3% (1.3%) 0.9% (3.2%) 0.6% (0.4%) 2% (2%) N/A (0%) 4.5% (2%)
Energy N/A (N/A) 1.3% (1%) N/A (N/A) 1.4% (0.06%) 1% (<1%) 3% (2%) 2.7% (2%)
Media/Entertainment 1% (3%) 1.3% (1.3%) 2.0% (1.9%) 0.4% (0.04%) 1% (1%) 2% (5%) 1.4% (2%)
Nonprofit 5% (3%) N/A (1.3%) 1.6% (1.4%) 0.4% (0.4%) 1% (1%) 1% (1%) 0.7% (1.2%)
Entrepreneurship 13% (14%) 3.3% (N/A) 2.8% (N/A) 4.1% (3%) 2.6% (1.5%) 25% (19%) 8.3% (10.3%)

Next page: Insights from M7 leadership, and data on pre-MBA industries and undergraduate majors for current MBA students at the M7.

READ ABOUT THE REALITY OF ATTENDING AN M7 B-SCHOOL:

THIS IS WHAT IT COSTS TO GET AN MBA FROM A TOP U.S. BUSINESS SCHOOL

DEBT BURDEN AT THE TOP 50 U.S. B-SCHOOLS: HOW MUCH YOU CAN EXPECT TO OWE FOR YOUR MBA

MBA SCHOLARSHIPS AT THE LEADING GLOBAL BUSINESS SCHOOLS

HIGH & LOW SALARIES AND BONUSES AT THE TOP 100 U.S. B-SCHOOLS

MBA SALARIES, BONUSES & JOB SUCCESS RATES AT 30 TOP U.S. B-SCHOOLS

TOTAL PAY AT THE TOP 100 U.S. B-SCHOOLS

M7 EMPLOYMENT REPORTS: 2023 

HARVARD

WHARTON

COLUMBIA

CHICAGO BOOTH

KELLOGG

STANFORD

MIT SLOAN

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