Carnegie Mellon Tepper offers a STEM-designated MBA program that prepares individuals to become the next generation of leaders “at the intersection of business, technology, and analytics.” The school fosters a culture of teamwork and encourages its students to work together, be innovative, and create impact through effective leadership. Because Tepper’s student body is small and closely knit, showing fit with the program is critical.
We know that you have a lot to tell us but to keep it fair, your answers are limited to 150 words.
1. What is your professional goal immediately following graduation from Tepper?
2. What other role would you consider? In other words, what is your Plan B?
Very simply, the Tepper admissions committee wants to know what your short-term professional plan is and what you have in mind as an alternative should that goal not be attainable. A Tepper MBA can prepare you for various roles and industries, so be as specific as possible and articulate clear plans. Keep your responses concise and unambiguous.
Required Essay: The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350–500 words.)
Character and fit are particularly important for Tepper, and this essay is intended to reveal how good a match you are with the school’s community. In this essay, you must highlight challenges you have overcome and explain how they have shaped you. You have a limit of 500 words, so identify and focus on just one or two things or situations that were difficult for you. Spend less time describing the adversity or challenge itself and more on how you overcame it and how it has helped shape you into the person you are today.
Set up your essay by briefly describing what the adversity or challenge was so the reader fully understands your experience. Did you face a health issue? Struggle in school? Contend with a family crisis? Experience financial, job, or food insecurity? There is no “right” answer, so just be authentic.
Next, explain how you worked to overcome the adversity. Don’t worry if it is still an ongoing issue for you. Describe the steps and actions you took or are taking to prevail over the challenge. For example, perhaps you had to work while you were in college to help support your family. Or maybe you must maintain a complex schedule of medical appointments while balancing work obligations.
Finally, describe what you learned (or have learned) about yourself in the process. How has the experience shaped who you are? Often, facing adversity can make people recognize, better understand, and be more open to working with those who are struggling. It can also prompt some people to actively reach out to others who might be facing difficulties. How has your journey helped you become more team oriented, inclusive, supportive, and collaborative—values that Tepper embraces. Be specific.
Close by briefly demonstrating how having faced adversity will make you a more engaged Tepper student and member of the greater Carnegie Mellon community.
Optional Essay: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders, or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application. Are you a re-applicant? Use the optional essay to explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.
This essay is entirely optional for first-time applicants. Use this space only if there is something unusual in your candidacy that you want to explain. For example, you might have a low GPA because of an illness, work demands, or family obligations while you were in college. Or maybe your recommender is not your current supervisor. Be straightforward and brief.
If you are a reapplicant, provide very specific examples of how you are a different candidate this year than you were when you applied previously. Perhaps you have received a promotion or been staffed on a critical project, or maybe you have taken on a leadership role (formal or informal) at work or in your extracurricular activities. If you have retaken the GMAT/GRE, did your score improve significantly? If your GPA might have been an issue, have you taken a quant class such as calculus or statistics to demonstrate your capabilities in the classroom? This essay is your opportunity to show Tepper how you have grown over the past year(s) and demonstrate your current strengths as a candidate.