Would you love to drive a Ferrari? Do you crave the taste of Maine lobster? How about a suite at the Ritz-Carlton?
Conventional wisdom is that choosing options with prestige, exclusivity and quality usually proves more satisfying — even when the initial price is higher. But does the same theory hold true when considering which MBA programs offer the highest return on investment? Based on our experience with nearly 5,000 applicants, The MBA Exchange answers: “In many cases, yes.”
In the highly competitive arena of business schools, there are seven institutions (i.e., the “M7”) that many observers consider to be the gold standard: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Columbia, MIT Sloan, and Northwestern Kellogg. Underlying these blue-chip brands are hard facts and figures that confirm their value propositions as more compelling than those of most other schools.
Based on school data compiled and published by Poet & Quants, we observe the following reasons why serious, qualified and motivated MBA applicants should consider pursuing admission to the M7. If you’re among those candidates who are admitted, you’re likely to find these 5 advantages awaiting you upon matriculation:
The lofty academic standards of M7 schools ensure that MBA classmates have the scholastic chops to quickly absorb complex concepts and consistently stretch each other’s minds. With average GMAT scores of720+ and GPAs of 3.5+, admits are bona fide scholars who will help each other grow and succeed in the MBA classroom.
2. Immerse yourself in diversity.
M7 business schools not only attract applicants from around the world, but they carefully curate their cohorts to be well-rounded by all dimensions. Class profiles at these programs are at least 37% female, 32% international and 18% minority. So, if you’re seeking to broaden your perspective and expand your network, these stellar schools merit your consideration.
3. Gain added stature in your career field.
If you already know the industry and/or function in which you plan to specialize after business school, then M7 programs can deliver knowledge and visibility to help you become highly attractive to recruiters for summer internships and full-time jobs. Each of these schools is ranked by US News among the “top 10” in at least three different business disciplines — with particular dominance in finance and marketing.
4. Join a committed, global, life-long community.
Alumni of M7 schools remain supportive of each other and their alma maters long after graduation. We’re talking big numbers! These MBA programs average 125,000 living grads spread across 100 alumni clubs in 41 countries worldwide. Furthermore, nearly 23% of their grads contribute money to their schools — almost triple the average participation rate for all U.S. universities.
5. Earn substantial comp and career opportunities.
The median salary for new grads from M7 schools is about 20% higher than that of their counterparts at all b-schools. Over the span of 20 years after graduation, an alum from M7 schools can expect to earn a total of $2.5 to $3.2 million. And for those individuals who dream of someday making it to the C-Suite, the news is very encouraging. Among the CEOs of all Fortune 500 corporations, a whopping 82 are alumni of M7 business schools.
All that said, M7 business schools are definitely not the only, or even the best, choice for everyone. There are other excellent MBA programs offering a curriculum, culture and/or location that could be a better — and more attainable — choice for your background, budget and goals. If you’re in doubt about which schools you should target and where you’ll have the best chance for admission, we encourage you to get a free, expert evaluation of your MBA candidacy. The more you know about yourself, the more confidently and accurately you can target schools that align with your priorities and potential.