M7 business schools: Common entry requirements

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What does it take to get into M7 business schools?

By Shekinah Kannan 

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If you’re gearing up for an MBA and have been researching your options, you’ve probably come across the term M7 business schools. 

For the uninitiated, the term “M7” describes some of the most elite business schools in the world. The “M” stands for either “magnificent” or “magic”. Years ago, the deans of these schools came together to form this network. Twice a year, they meet to discuss the most pressing issues in graduate business education.

The M7 business schools comprise of Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Each business school has unique attributes, but they have one trait in common: they’re highly competitive, with acceptance rates ranging from six to 24%. Your efforts for a spot, however, will be worth it. According to rankings, graduates from M7 business schools can earn stellar salaries that range from 190,975 US dollars to US$222,625.

The right preparation is key for entry into these top tier schools. This means knowing what they require from candidates, finding out which areas you’ll need improvement in, and knowing what their students have accomplished too.

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School is part of Columbia University, an Ivy League research institution established in 1754. Enrollees here benefit from a constantly evolving curriculum and the school’s ideal location in the cultural and economic capital of the world — New York City.

Its MBA admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree transcript or equivalent; a GPA; a self-reported valid GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE score; a 50-character answer to the question “what is your immediate post-MBA professional goal; three short essays; a recommendation letter, and an application fee of US$250.

View its class profile here. 

Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School is the business school of Harvard University, a private Ivy League university founded in 1908. It is located in Boston, Massachusetts and is renown for its MBA programme that encourages real-world practice.

All applicants must have a four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent; GMAT or GRE test results; and TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test results if they attended a non-English undergraduate programme. B-school aspirants must also prepare a limit-free essay, two recommendations; a current business resume, signed acceptance of HBS Admissions Policies, and a non-refundable application fee of US$250.

View its class profile here.

MIT Sloan School of Management 

The MIT Sloan School of Management is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Students of the programme will benefit from hands-on management experience throughout their MBA.

Applicants must submit a compelling cover letter, a one-page resume, a video statement, one letter of recommendation, two additional professional references, an organisational chart that will help admissions officers better grasp your current profession, college or university transcripts, GMAT or GRE test scores, information on relevant coursework and professional certifications, and a non-refundable application fee of US$250.

View its class profile here.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management  

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois. It is known to be one of the first schools to advocate for the use of teamwork to prepare MBAs for leadership positions. 

Criteria for admission includes a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, two written essays, transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, a video essay, two letters of recommendation, and an application fee of US$250. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international candidates.

View its class profile here.

Stanford Graduate School of Business 

The Stanford Graduate School of Business, also known as Stanford GSB, is one of Stanford University’s seven schools. Its MBA programme encourages personalisation, with ample room for students to make tweaks according to their interests.

To enrol, candidates must provide their academic background, GMAT or GRE results, English language proficiency (if applicable), personal background information, professional experience (if any), two letters of reference, two personal essays, optional short answer questions, and an application fee of US$275.

View its class profile here.

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business 

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is a graduate-level business school founded in 1889. It is known for its multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and data analysis. 

Its MBA prerequisites for admission include an undergraduate degree; GMAT or GRE scores; TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE results for non-English speakers; responses to two application questions; letters of recommendation; a history of long-term involvement in activities and community; a successful professional background; a resume; a suite of soft skills; and an application fee of US$250.

View its class profile here.

Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania 

The Wharton School is part of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution. It is well-known for its notable alumni as well as its unparalleled curriculums in finance and economics. 

Its MBA application checklist includes basic background information, two essays, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, GMAT or GRE scores, TOEFL or PTE test results for non-native English speakers, a one-page resume, and a non-refundable application fee of US$275.

View its class profile here.