Carnegie Mellon (CMU) Tepper MBA

Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions

CMU Tepper Introduction


For a business school that has produced eight Nobel Prize winners, Tepper has been surprisingly circumspect in tooting its horn. Many business schools claim to bring together people from various fields to create an interdisciplinary vibe on campus, but few have gone as far as Tepper to make it a reality.

In late 2018, Tepper opened an actual physical space to encourage crossover: its funky new Tepper Quad, a building that houses the Tepper school and also functions as an innovation hub for the entire campus. MBA students at Tepper can also expect to find themselves working with people from the other six schools at Carnegie Mellon, including engineers, computer scientists, and designers. CMU is renowned as a center for AI, robotics, big data, and other related disciplines, and fusing these with the business school is at the heart of its interdisciplinary approach.

Tepper is ahead of the curve in other respects, too. In addition to such traditional core courses as marketing, finance, and strategy, the Tepper MBA teaches analytics, which involves learning about subjects such as optimization and predictive modeling, in order to enhance strategic thinking and problem solving. This is the modern evolution of the “management science” that has always underpinned a Tepper education.

Leadership and job searching are embedded in the MBA right from day one, so that students are thinking about how to apply their learning while they are acquiring it. Grads often sing the praises of the school’s career services team, which holds 2,000 one-on-one coaching sessions per year. More than a hundred events by outside speakers each year ensure that students hear about cutting-edge issues and make lots of useful contacts.

MBAs can choose from five “tracks,” such as Business Analytics or Entrepreneurship, which allow them to look at a particular field in greater depth. They tend to consist of 8-10 electives and a capstone course. Some tracks involve cross-campus collaboration with faculty and other graduate students.

Also, once you take three or four electives in a subject area, you are deemed to have completed a concentration — there are 12, including Accounting, Strategy, and Organizational Behavior.

The Tepper full-time MBA has a class size of about 220, which translates into an average of 55 people in a class for core subjects and 31 for electives. Overall, the school has a healthy 8:1 student to faculty ratio. Over 40 clubs and societies help create a social glue that contributes to a supportive atmosphere.

Tepper has 16,000 alumni and 33 alumni chapters. Graduates often say how friendly and helpful alumni can be.

Good Facts:

  • The average starting salary for Tepper MBA graduates is $125,000 (median base salary).
  • The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Tepper is 690. The GMAT range is middle 80% 640 to 742.
  • The Tepper MBA program has accepted the GRE for a few years now.
    The acceptance rate for Tepper is 31.2%.

Not so good facts:

  • The percentage of the class at Tepper that are women is 28%.
  • MBA at CMU will set you back atleast 1 Crore.
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US News ranking

CMU Tepper MBA Sample Essays


Tepper MBA Essay 1: What is your professional goal immediately following graduation from Tepper? (150)

My short-term goal is to join a leading strategy consulting firm such as McKinsey or BCG as a consultant to leverage my problem solving skills and business knowledge gained at Tepper to create value and growth for the clients.My experience at Samsung has helped me hone my communication and problem solving skills. My part-time contribution in my family’s garment business  where I helped develop a new revenue stream….continue reading here

Tepper MBA Essay 2: What other role would you consider? In other words, what is your Plan B? (150)

In case I am not able to crack into the elite consulting world of MBB’s, I would be willing to switch into a product management roles with in the technology sector. I would like to keep an open mind-set to join an tech company such as google or apple. Along with helping me hone my communication and problem solving skills, Samsung, has given deep me insights into how…..continue reading here

CMU Tepper MBA Interview


Interview was pretty informal. It was blind, but the adcom had a copy of my resume in front of her.

Questions asked:

-Walk me through resume

-Specific question on one of my positions (position X)

-Tell me more about global experiences during Position X

-Do you have an example of working in a team/what type of leader question

-Why did you move from Company X to Company Y

-What did you learn moving from Company X to Company Y

-Short term goals?

-How are you qualified for short-term goals?

-Why Tepper

That was about it. She answered some of my questions. The interview was pretty informal; everyone at Tepper was extremely welcoming, so I didn’t feel stressed during it...continue reading here

Carnegie Mellon MBA Application Essay Tips


At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, we love to tell our story. Below is your chance to tell yours. Please select only ONE of the options below to complete the essay requirement (maximum 300–350 words).

Option #1: Carnegie Mellon University is an institution that never stops looking and moving ahead, pioneering the next way forward with technology, business and research to answer questions big and small. Personally, or professionally, in what way have you been a pioneer?

Option #2: Amidst the ambiguous and unchartered nature of change, Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni rise above to envision and create. Discuss how you have anticipated change in your professional life. In what ways did you effectively collaborate to create your desired outcome?

Option #3: At Carnegie Mellon University, our difference is what we imagine for the world and how we answer its challenges. What impact have you had on the world around you?

There are three options for this required essay, and each allows you to highlight a different aspect of your character. That said, there are a few universal values of the CMU community you should keep in mind.

CMU values analytical skills, so you may want to highlight your analytical skills or that you enjoy intellectual challenges at work. Perhaps you have a story that shows how you learned on the job and applied your decision-making skills to a tough problem.

On the personal side, CMU Tepper has a small and close-knit community, and your personality and background will be of interest to the admissions committee. Think about what your future classmates and professors would want to know about you?

Each of these essay options asks for an example of a time you have demonstrated the quality described. This is a behavioral essay question, and helps the admissions committee to see beyond your resume to how you think and act in real-life situations. Think about an experience that would show the admissions committee what kind of character you have demonstrated in your career or life thus far.

Once you have a few examples that seem appropriate and interesting, think about how they might fit into one of the three options: innovation/pioneering, teamwork/collaboration or community orientation/impact on the world.

Whichever question you choose, make sure you are explaining the details of what the situation was, your actions, and the result of those actions. Lessons learned are always useful for the admissions committee to understand how you think and grow over time.

Optional Essay

Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

CMU Tepper’s optional essay provides room to explain any important context to potential issues in your application. As outlined, resume gaps, a recommendation that is from someone other than a current or former supervisor, etc.

Other possible areas you might want to explain include academic issues like low grades in quantitative classes or academic probation. A low GMAT score or other profile issue may be worth addressing if applicable.

Re-applicants should always use this space to showcase a strengthened candidacy. If you have improved your profile with a stronger GMAT score or new grades from quantitative classes, that is great information to highlight. If you have increased your responsibilities at work, refined career goals or added new extracurricular activities those are also valid updates to communicate.

Note this is not an open-ended essay, and CMU Tepper is not asking for you to explain anything you want in this essay. Therefore, it is wisest to stick with the two categories of information specifically outlined. The required essay is open-ended enough to give you the space for other information you want to convey.

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