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Does an Ivy League MBA Really Exist? Learn more about the Ivy League and the M7 MBA

Does an Ivy League MBA Really Exist? Learn more about the Ivy League and the M7 MBA

A business school related conversation often starts with the candidate saying, “I really want to get into an Ivy League MBA!” – is there really something called an “Ivy League MBA” though?

Originally used for a group of elite universities on the east coast that competed in a prestigious athletic conference, the term “Ivy League” is now synonymous with top universities in the US. However, there are top universities like Stanford, MIT and CalTech who do not make the cut for the tag of “Ivy League”.  The term is even more of a misnomer when it comes to business schools. Only 3 Ivy Leagues (Harvard, Columbia and UPenn) boast of a business school consistently ranked in the top 7.

IVY LEAGUE UNIVERSITY

MBA SCHOOL

MBA SCHOOL RANKING (US News’20)

Columbia University

Columbia Business School

8

Harvard University

Harvard Business School

6

Princeton University

NA

NA

Yale University

Yale School of Management

9

Brown University

NA

NA

Cornell University

Johnson Graduate School of Management

15

Dartmouth College

Tuck School of Business

12

University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School

1

 

M7 MBA Schools:

Since the term “Ivy League” isn’t exactly contextual to an MBA degree or university, a different terminology “M7” is used to describe the crème de la crème of the business education landscape. The origin of the M7 network is debated and the M probably stands for “Magnificent” or “Magic”, but one thing is for sure, that all these schools are incredibly difficult to get into and provide exceptional opportunities to their graduates.

It is rumored that the deans of these top 7 schools got together to create an informal classification of business schools called the M7 and have been meeting regularly to discuss business and business education. The other officials of these schools also keep in close touch. There have been discussions around including other schools in the list, most notably INSEAD and less frequently, Tuck and Haas. However, the group has continued to restrict itself to the 7 schools – all based in the US.

Here is a list of the schools that constitute the M7:

SCHOOL

US News ’20 RANKING

The Wharton School

1

Stanford GSB

1

Harvard Business School

6

MIT Sloan

5

Booth School of Business

3

Columbia Business School

8

Kellogg School of Management

3

 

What is the significance of M7?

A natural question to ask here is around the significance of M7 especially since a variety of publications come up with business school rankings each year. The answer is simple and something that humans always crave – consistency. Rankings vary every year across different publications. On the other hand, M7s remain constant. Schools are neither added to nor removed from this list. Getting an MBA degree is a long-term decision and choosing an M7 school will essentially guarantee that you are making the right choice. The fact that these schools recognize each other as part of a super-elite group and work together to enhance the quality of business education overall, is also a validation of the quality of education these institutions provide.

Does it mean your strategy should be “M7 or Nothing”?

Though M7s are definitely A-listers and you cannot go wrong with choosing them, there is a bunch of schools outside of this definition that are prestigious and possibly even a better fit for you. NYU Stern, Darden, UCLA Anderson, Michigan Ross etc. are all excellent schools which frequently break into Top 10 of all major rankings. There are also several schools outside the US that provide top-class business education and enjoy high global reputation – INSEAD, LBS, Saïd (University of Oxford), Judge (University of Cambridge), Rotman (University of Toronto) and IMD Switzerland, for example.

Click HERE to explore all the top MBA programs, their Enrollment and Recruitment details, Notable Alumni and Application Requirements.

Your choice of an MBA program, therefore, cannot be driven solely by a certain ranking or classification. An MBA is a means to achieve one’s career goals and not an end in itself. It is important to introspect what you want from your MBA and research well to shortlist programs that will help you achieve your specific goals – during and after the MBA!

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