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MBA in Ivy League Schools: Columbia vs Cornell vs Harvard vs Yale vs Dartmouth

While the Ivy League category applies only to undergrad schools, it is worth noting that all these universities have very good MBA programs. This time, we compare and contrast Columbia Business School, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management, and Tuck School of Business. If you are thinking of doing your MBA in the United States and you feel a special attraction for Ivy League schools, read on!

Columbia Business School Cornell University – Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management Harvard Business School Yale School of Management Dartmouth University –

Tuck School of Business

Program Duration

2 years or 16 months (J-term)

1 or 2 years.  2 years. 2 years.

2 years.

Tuition (2020)

US$77,376 (first year)

US$71,940 US$73,440 US$74,500


Class Size 

J-term: 211

August entry: 571

2 years: 292 students

1 year: 55 students

Typical class size is around 930 students. Typical class size is around 350 students.

Typical class size is around 284 students

GMAT average 


700 730 720


Average age

28 years old.

28 years old (2 years), 30 years old (1 year MBA). 27 years old. Do not disclose.

28 years old.

Average work experience

5 years.

5 years.  4.7 years. 4.5 years.

5.2 years.

Academic Information

Students complete their core curriculum during the first 2 semesters. CBS offers exemption exams that allow students who pass to trade their core courses for electives. All students are given 3 slots for full-term electives beginning in their second semester. The second year of the MBA consists entirely of electives.

For J-term, classes begin in January and end in May of the following year, continuing throughout the summer (read: no full-time internship).

2 Year MBA Program:

First semester: Required courses in the MBA Core topics.

Second semester: Hands-on learning and industry immersion.

Summer internship.

Third semester: Electives, co-curricular activities, and NYC weekend courses.

Fourth semester: More electives, NYC intensives, and course selections across Cornell University.

1 Year MBA Program:

Summer semester: 10 weeks of required core courses.

Fall semester: Management Practicum with a real consulting project in addition to electives and weekend courses in NYC.

Spring semester: Immersions in certain subjects, NYC intensives, and more electives.

May choose to complete immersion.

During the first year at HBS, all students pursue the same course of study: the Required Curriculum and FIELD. This establishes a common foundation in a business’s fundamental practices, including finance, marketing, leadership, negotiation, operations, strategy, and more.

Students choose from an unparalleled range of elective courses during the second year to build on the basic concepts developed in the Required Curriculum.

During the winter term, choose from an array of courses spanning topics from corporate board leadership to reimagining capitalism and authentic leadership development to managing global health. 

The series of first-year courses are carefully planned to build an understanding of the whole organization, eventually building to big questions of business’s impact on society.

In the summer following the first year, students continue their management training through internships or other appropriate activities to fulfill the M.B.A. Internship Requirement.

In the second year, elective courses complete the requirements for the degree.

The core curriculum is the foundation of learning in the Tuck MBA program, intentionally designed to develop the functional skills leaders need to make decisions; the tools to gather and analyze data; and the leadership ability to craft, communicate and execute a vision for change with and through others.


Tuck’s integrated core curriculum provides rigorous coverage of key functional areas and disciplines with courses that build on and complement each other: analytics, corporate finance, and capital markets, managerial and global economics, marketing, organizational behavior, strategy, communications, and operations.

Average Post-MBA Salary

US$150,000 according to the 2020 employment report.

US$ 138,767 according to the 2020 employment report. US$150,000 according to the 2020 employment report. US$140,000 according to the 2020 employment report.

US$180,000 according to the 2020 employment report.

Employment Rate 

90% received an offer 3 months after graduation.

93% received an offer within 3 months of graduation. 90% received an offer after graduation, 83% accepted an offer and 11% started their own business. 90.2% received an offer 3 months after graduation, and 86% accepted an offer.

94% received an offer within 3 months after graduation, and 92% accepted an offer.


If you need help with the GMAT or the admissions process, we can help.  For more information on our different GMAT products, see:

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  • Merchant Academy – a GMAT teaching innovation that makes taking the GMAT, like an MBA. Click to find out more about the Merchant Academy format.
  • Merchant GMAT Hall of Fame – a gallery of some of our clients over the last eight years.

For admissions help, see some client stories on our admissions page.

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CEO & Co-Founder

- "Preparing for the GMAT and applying for an MBA requires a tremendous commitment, and that doesn’t take into consideration the personal challenges our students must face when deciding if they want to leave their friends, families, and native cultures behind to advance their careers abroad. An MBA is not for everyone and that’s precisely what makes this advanced degree so valuable. 

For these reasons, we at Merchant only work with students we are confident have what it takes to succeed throughout the preparation and application processes.

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