If you’ve decided you want to start an MBA, or have started researching schools, you might have come across the term ‘M7’ in relation to MBA programs.
What makes an M7 MBA program so special? How should you get started if you want to attend one? Read on to find the answers to these questions and find practical tips for applying.
What makes M7 MBA programs the best?
If the term M7 is new to you, then this acronym refers to a semi-formal network of seven of the most elite schools – the magnificent seven, or M7.
The seven schools, founded between 1881 and 1925, can be notoriously difficult to gain entry to on the basis of their prestige.
Harvard University Graduate School of Administration, which is now the Harvard Business School, is acknowledged as the first school to have offered a graduate Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree back in 1908.
The deans of the seven schools formed an informal group that met regularly to share information that would help their MBA programs grow and thrive, and they continue to meet twice a year to discuss issues that relate to graduate business education.
M7 MBA schools: The basics
All the business schools that offer an M7 MBA program offer exceptional opportunities.
From world-class faculties, to formidable endowments – in conjunction with consistently high-ranking programs and extensive and renowned alumni networks – these schools represent some of the best of what business school can offer.
For more than a century these schools have continued to attract many of the best and brightest who are committed to an education in business administration.
While enrolling with an M7 MBA program won’t necessarily guarantee you success, it can definitely get you off to a flying start. The recognition that comes from having studied and graduated from an elite academic institution is also worth noting.
What are the M7 MBA schools?
The M7 schools are, in alphabetical order (with year of founding in brackets):
- Columbia Business School (1916)
- Harvard Business School (1908)
- MIT Sloan School of Management (1914)
- Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (1914)
- Stanford Graduate School of Business (1925)
- University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (1898)
- Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (1881)
These seven schools are known for attracting top-level recruiters, offering the very best academic resources, and providing alumni with all they need to rise to the top of their chosen fields.
Benefits to attending an M7 MBA program
Deciding to study for an MBA degree is a commitment that isn’t often made lightly.
Irrespective of your area of study, having high ambitions and a will to succeed at the very highest level can help you on your way to success.
In terms of specific specializations within business administration, it is worth researching which schools – within the M7 or otherwise – are at the forefront of education and research in your chosen field.
However, just a few of the general benefits of attending an M7 schools include the ability to:
- Receive a first-class education
- Have contact with world-renowned scholars
- Network with other high-achievers and alumni
- Gain prestige that can influence job opportunities
- Access recruiters within high-paying sectors and locations
- Potentially earn a higher salary
How do I get into an M7 MBA program?
The extremely high level of competition to get into an M7 program naturally means that acceptance rates can be fairly low, especially in comparison to less prestigious or sought-after programs.
Basic eligibility requirements for M7 schools
Like all MBA programs, you will likely need to meet some basic eligibility requirements in order to be accepted.
M7 schools, like all MBA programs, will look at a range of factors in order to assess an applicant’s suitability for admission to the program.
Schools will likely consider an applicant’s prior academic performance (often based on GPA), their result on the GMAT or GRE examination (if applicable), their statement of purpose, recommendations, work experience, any additional writing or essay requirements, and a general commitment to learning and all-round excellence.
A well-written statement of purpose (SOP), consistently outstanding grades, or stand-out letters of recommendation can all help to strengthen an application.
The GMAT or GRE score
While academic records aren’t everything, the GMAT or GRE score can definitely improve your odds of getting accepted onto an MBA, M7 school or otherwise.
The GMAT is a standardized entrance exam oriented towards MBA applications. It takes close to 3.5 hours to complete and has four components:
- Analytical writing – to measure communication skills and critical thinking
- Integrated reasoning – to test data analysis, synthesis, and interpretation
- Quantitative reading – to determines numerical literacy and/or strong mathematical abilities
- Verbal reasoning – to evaluate comprehension and the ability to interpret written arguments
The total score of the GMAT is calculated from 200-800, and for an M7 program, you are likely looking to aim into the 700s.
According to Stacy Blackman Consulting, recent average GMAT scores for the M7 are:
- Stanford – 737
- Wharton – 730
- Harvard – 729
- Kellogg – 728
- Booth – 726
- MIT Sloan – 724
- Columbia – 720
Other top-tier business colleges that follow close behind these are Berkley Haas (717) and Duke Fuqua (695).
Many top business schools also accept the GRE – another standardized entrance examination that is used across a range of graduate admissions programs – and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, some schools are opting to waive the exam requirement altogether.
With this in mind, it is worth checking with your school/s of choice as to their stance on requiring a GRE or GMAT score for admission.
Top tips for an outstanding MBA application
With such tough competition for a place at an M7 school, it can help to make sure your application stands out from the crowd. The following tips can help you to do so:
Demonstrate your ability to lead
Leadership qualities are vital and you will likely need to demonstrate yours on your application. Work experience or school-related scenarios where you have proactively solved problems, promoted teamwork, or managed others can be great to include here.
Maintain a stellar academic record
While your academic record isn’t everything, it is a key component of your application. Planning ahead to work on your weaker areas, or to incorporate retakes where possible, can be one way to etch your academic record up a notch.
Extracurriculars, awards, and achievements
Achievements – whether in the form of academic prizes, extracurricular activities, bonus projects or awards – can be a great way to demonstrate a broader work ethic of perseverance and hard-work than your academic record alone.
Highlight what makes you different
Your statement of purpose can be one place to highlight your unique story, goals, and aspirations – and how your dream M7 school can help you to achieve them.
Choose recommenders who will make you shine
M7 business schools typically require at least two letters of recommendation, one from a professional (i.e., a former client or employee) and one that is academic (i.e., a professor).
Choosing your recommenders wisely can help to make your strengths shine in your application, and can be a great place to include points that don’t fit neatly into the other application materials.
State your goals and how your school will help you achieve them
You know why you have decided to pursue an M7 MBA program – so make sure you convey this!
Stating how your school of choice – and them specifically – can help you to achieve your goals demonstrates forethought and careful analysis. Whether it’s a specific faculty member, a school specialization, or the key industries in your school’s geography, make sure they know why you chose them. It could just help them to choose you.
We can help you get into an M7 MBA program
Need help with making your application stand out this admission season?
Share your dreams, abilities, and achievements, and let us help you achieve your ambition to study at the M7 MBA program of your choice. Contact us at Admissions Roadmap today for a free assessment.