In searching for the right MBA program, you might have found yourself drawn to the Ivy Leagues. But is an Ivy League MBA worth it? And how do Ivy League Business Schools compare to each other? These are essential questions to consider when pursuing the next step in your career.
What is the ‘Ivy League?’
At some point, you’ve probably heard of the “Ivy League,” a prestigious group of private universities known for their reputations of academic excellence. Many people believe that attending one of these schools will promise them a successful future. However, many do not know anything about Ivy League universities beyond their esteem. So, what are the "Ivy Leagues?"
The title of "Ivy League" started as an athletic classification for a group of eight private universities in the Northeast. However, the label has come to be associated more with these schools' high caliber of academic achievement.
List of Ivy League Universities
These are the eight universities known as the “Ivy Leagues”:
Which Ivy League universities offer an MBA program?
The Ivy League universities vary significantly in the scope of business education. Here is an overview of the Ivy League Business Schools.
Brown offers an Executive MBA in cooperation with IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. The 15-month program starts in March and includes a blend of online and in-person sessions.
Columbia offers both MBA and Executive MBA programs. For the MBA, you can start in either August for a 20-month program or January for a 16-month program.
The EMBA program has two different scheduling options:
The New York Friday/Saturday option begins in late August and lasts about 20 months. Students in this program attend class from 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. every other Friday and Saturday. For this option, “employer sponsorship of time is required” and “financial sponsorship is welcomed, though not required.”
The New York Saturday option lasts around 24 months, with classes held from 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. every Saturday. For this option, employer sponsorship of time or financial support is not required.
Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business offers a multitude of MBA options:
The Two-Year MBA Program involves four semesters of full-time study and a summer internship. According to Cornell's website, this option is best for those "looking to move into management roles or change industries.”
The One-Year MBA Program is a highly-accelerated full-time experience for "career enhancers" that spans a summer, fall, and spring semester. To apply for this program, you must already have an advanced degree or apply to the dual-degree program.
The Johnson Cornell Tech MBA Program is a full-time, one-year program "designed to transform tech-focused individuals into business leaders and entrepreneurs." This program starts at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in the summer and then moves to Cornell Tech in New York City, New York, for the fall and spring.
The Cornell-Tsinghua Finance MBA is a two-year, part-time program based in Beijing, China, in partnership with the PBC School of Finance at Tsinghua University. Students in this unique program earn two MBAs – One from Cornell University and another from Tsinghua University. Students attend classes in both English and Mandarin on the weekends, along with residential sessions.
Cornell also offers a variety of EMBA programs:
The Executive MBA Americas Program, offered in partnership with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, allows students to attend classes closer to their home cities. Students meet in one of 20 cities in the US, Canada, Mexico, or South America to attend class via video conference. Starting in late June, classes take place over 17 months on every other weekend; Saturday from 9:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Four residential sessions take place at Cornell and Queen's Universities.
The Executive MBA Metro New York starts in July and lasts 22 months. Classes meet every other weekend from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. on Sundays. All classes are held on the Cornell Tech campus in New York City at the Tata Innovation Center. The program also includes four week-long residential sessions held on Cornell University's campus in Ithaca, New York, at the beginning of each academic term.
The Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership is “the only industry-immersive, dual-degree program of its kind in the Ivy League.” In partnership with the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, students attend classes in New York City at the Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech. Starting in July, classes meet every other weekend at 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. on Sundays for 22 months. There are also four, week-long residential sessions that take place in Ithaca, New York, in the fall, and New York City in the spring.
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business offers a two-year, full-time MBA. They also provide a variety of dual-degrees in partnership with Dartmouth programs and other institutions. Dartmouth does not have an EMBA, but they do offer Executive Education programs for individuals and organizations.
Harvard Business School offers a two-year, full-time MBA and a variety of joint-degree options. There is no EMBA program at HBS, but there are various Executive Education programs that are “designed to help experienced executives expand their global perspective and lead at a higher level,” according to their website.
Princeton does not offer an MBA or EMBA.
University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers both an MBA and an EMBA.
The MBA program is 20 months long and begins in early August. There is also a 3.5 month recommended summer internship.
The EMBA program is 24 months long and begins in May. Classes meet every other Friday and Saturday with some extended weekend sessions in either Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or San Francisco, California. There is also a required one-week Global Business Experience that allows students to study abroad in their choice of various locations.
The Yale School of Management offers both an MBA and an EMBA.
The MBA program is a two-year, full-time program that allows students to participate in various electives and global study opportunities.
The EMBA program is a 22-month long program that “begins with a two-week in-residence session," typically in mid-July. After that, classes meet every other weekend, Fridays from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., with various breaks throughout the days. There is a required week-long Global Network Week where EMBA students study abroad. There is also a final one-week residency at the end of the program. Classes occur either on Yale's campus in New Haven, Connecticut, or through video conference via the school's Extended Classroom.
Comparison of Rankings for Ivy League Business Schools
US News, Forbes, Businessweek, the Financial Times, and The Economist are all sites that rank university programs every year. Each site has its own criteria for its rankings.
US News & World Report
Now in its 36th year of ranking institutions of higher education, US News & World Report uses “thoroughly vetted academic data from [their] surveys and reliable third-party sources” in their methodology to effectively rank universities. US News utilizes a variety of weighted academic factors in their rankings. This means that other factors, like athletics or social scene, do not impact their decisions.
US News ranks the Ivy Leagues in the Best Business Schools category as follows:
University of Pennsylvania: #1
US News also ranks Ivy League Executive MBA Programs as follows:
University of Pennsylvania: #3
Since Brown’s Executive MBA is technically offered through IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, it cannot qualify for these rankings, as US News only ranks schools in the United States for these lists.
Forbes ranks full-time MBA programs based on earnings. According to their website, Forbes compares “graduates' earnings in their first five years after getting their MBA to their opportunity cost to arrive at a five-year MBA gain, which is the basis for the final rank.” Forbes does not have an official EMBA ranking.
Here is how Forbes ranks the Ivy League MBA Programs:
The Economist ranks business schools worldwide, using "responses to quantitative and qualitative questions from thousands of current and former MBA students” in its ranking system. These rankings are much more competitive than other sites, as the Economist analyzes schools from all over the world rather than just the United States.
The following is how the Economist has ranked the Ivy League full-time MBA programs in the past:
Bloomberg Businessweek uses two steps in their MBA ranking system:
1. They ask students, alumni, and recruiters to list the five most important factors to them in choosing an MBA program. Their responses form the basis for how different aspects of MBA programs are weighed in the ranking system.
2. They ask “a range of survey questions on the business school experience, each mapped to a specific index” and “collect MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA) employment and compensation data from schools.” The combination of these things then goes into the ranking calculations.
The following is how Businessweek has ranked the Ivy League Business Schools in the past:
Businessweek does not have a definitive ranking of Executive MBA programs.
The Financial Times
The Financial Times ranks business schools worldwide through alumni surveys and 20 different criteria, including alumni salaries, research rank, and diversity of staff. However, to participate in the rankings, at least 20% of a school's alumni must respond to the surveys. The following is how the Financial Times has ranked the Ivy League Business Schools:
The Financial Times also ranks Executive MBA programs:
Columbia (Global EMBA with London Business School): #20
Columbia (regular EMBA): #28
Cornell (EMBA Americas): #46
Comparison of Class Profiles for Ivy League Business Schools
The following is a comparison of class profiles for Ivy League full-time, two-year MBA programs based on the most recent data available.
Average Salary and Cost of Tuition for Ivy League Business Schools
The following is a comparison of the annual cost of tuition for two-year, full-time Ivy League MBA programs and the average salary that alumni earn after graduating.
Industry Choices of Students at Ivy League Business Schools
The following is a comparison of the industry choices of students that graduate from full-time, two-year Ivy League Business programs.
Ivy League Business Schools vs. M7 Business Schools
The M7 Schools are an elite group of business schools known for being highly selective and granting graduates rewarding opportunities. The M7 Business Schools are:
Columbia Business School
Harvard Business School
MIT’s Sloan School of Management
Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
Stanford Graduate School of Business
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Of these seven schools, only three (Columbia, Harvard, and Pennsylvania) are also Ivy Leagues. So, are these programs better than Ivy League Business Schools?
It helps to look at the facts. Among ranking sites, like US News and Forbes, the M7 schools collectively tend to achieve higher rankings than the Ivy Leagues. Also, according to Poets & Quants, “starting salaries, signing bonuses, and performance bonuses for M7 grads rival or exceed those of any peer school’s MBAs.” These schools are known for the success of their graduates. However, many of these programs also tend to be larger and pricier than some Ivy League programs. Rather than applying just on prestige alone, you should weigh factors such as location, cost, and class size in deciding which program is right for you
FAQs About Ivy League Business Schools
1. Why doesn’t Princeton offer an MBA program?
Princeton does not have any professional schools, including business. However, they do offer a Masters in Finance degree through their Bendheim Center for Finance.
2. Is it harder to get into an M7 Business School or an Ivy League Business School?
The average acceptance rate of M7 Schools is about 17%, while the average acceptance rate for Ivy League Business Schools is about 20.2%, so it may be slightly more challenging to get into an M7 school.
3. Is MIT an Ivy League Business School?
No, MIT is not considered an Ivy League school.
4. Does Brown have a business school?
Technically, Brown does not have a business school. Their EMBA is offered in partnership with IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.
5. Which Ivy League Business School is the best?
There are many factors that one can consider when deciding which Ivy League Business School is the best. Many of the programs are ranked highly on various sites, meaning all are pretty reputable. However, if you want to know which school is best for you, look at rankings that are calculated based on the qualities that are the most important to you.
6. Do Ivy League Business Schools offer financial aid?
Yes, Ivy League Business Schools offer scholarships, grants, and other various forms of financial aid.
A degree from an Ivy League school sounds prestigious, but it is ultimately up to you to decide if these programs are right for you. Try comparing university rankings and graduate statistics, along with cost and location, and see how these universities stack up. You might find that an Ivy League MBA isn’t a good fit for you. But, on the other hand, it might turn out to be precisely what you want to pursue.
About Inspira Futures
At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.