Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business continues to ask for only one required essay for the MBA application. That means that your resume, transcripts, recommendations and other application data will need to tell the story of your career achievement and academic accomplishments while adding the necessary color through the required essay.
Tepper offers several options for completing your MBA, from Full-Time MBA to Part-Time On-Campus MBA to Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA. The Tepper community is diverse with various goals, and Tepper is not looking for one particular profile, but rather candidates who are willing to engage with a tight-knit community and are interested in a highly analytical course structure.
Questions about your Tepper MBA application? Contact us to learn more about how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.
Imagine that you meet up with a member of the admission committee at an airport while on a layover. You have an opportunity to make a memorable impression. Use this essay to introduce yourself. Include any information that you believe is important for the committee member to know about you, both professionally and personally.
Only one essay is required.
Requirements: 300-350 words maximum, 12-point font, double-spaced
This is the only required essay for CMU Tepper’s MBA application, and it will be important to explain anything about your personal and professional background that can enhance the data Tepper’s admissions committee has already received from your resume, academic scores and recommendations.
This format is similar to an elevator pitch, except you presumably have more than 30-seconds while on an airport layover. With only 300-350 words you do have to be disciplined about the story you tell, so thinking about it like a pitch can be a helpful framework.
As you consider what to describe about your professional background you should focus on accomplishments and filter your experiences with your future goals. For example, if you are seeking an MBA to make a career switch in either function or industry, focus on career stories that show a transferable element to the way you work. If you are looking for an MBA to enhance your current career path then you may want to highlight the moments you are most proud of in your career history.
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. What would your future classmates and professors want to know about you? How might you contribute to Tepper both while in school and after graduation? To add a solid example, think about the formative experiences in your life that might illustrate how you think and behave in a community.
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.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, Carnegie Mellon Tepper Advice and tagged business school essay advice, CMU, CMU MBA, CMU Tepper, CMU Tepper School, CMU Tepper School of Business, essay advice, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, Tepper, Tepper CMU, Tepper MBA, Tepper School of Business.
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The Tepper school of Business attracts many Indian applicants. ‘Don’t they all?’ you might say. Sure they do, but the Tepper MBA is special, because of Carnegie Mellon University. CMU has been an all time favourite with desi techies who’ve been attending CMU for ages in pursuit of a top MS degree and of course for undergrad courses as well. The Tepper School of Business builds upon that legacy.
When folks who’ve not been successful in their earlier attempts approach MBA Crystal Ball for help, just like the candidates, we feel the extra pressure too. We hope applicants see significant value in working with us. And when the admissions journey ends on a good note, it gives us tremendous satisfaction. Ritwik shares one such story and walks us through his emotions as he went through each phase.
Carnegie Mellon (CMU) MBA Tepper School of Business
Tepper MBA: How I Got My Candy! – by Ritwik Verma
December 2009:“With a sub-par score of 680, where should I apply? Anyway, as I don’t want to take the GMAT again, let me apply to the schools where I have sent my score. Ross, Duke, Kellogg etc. I want to go into FMCG marketing from IT services and I need the best school for that.
I will write the essays myself; I am so creative after all. I don’t have the experience in my desired industry but what the heck, I can convince them with my reasons.
I worry that my manager and team leader won’t write me a strong recommendation. Why not ask them to forward the recommendation link and I will submit it on their behalf. Yeah, I think I will be able to get something if I just try.”
This was my thought process for my first MBA application. What I did then could easily classify as points under the ‘Don’t List’ for an MBA application strategy.
May 2010:“What went wrong??? All rejects?!!! I think I am not made for an MBA. Let me just forget about it.”
It hurt when I received rejections from all the schools but I had to take the failure in my stride and move on with life.
June 2012:“I have to get an MBA! This job won’t take me anywhere. I think I have what it takes to get through. I just need some help. This time I am going to leave no stone unturned to come up with a fool proof strategy. Let me focus on the first hurdle – the GMAT.”
By June 2012, I was fanatically sure that I wanted an MBA. I was determined to get into a good business school and was ready to give my 150% to achieve this goal. My first focus was the GMAT.
July 2012:“Hmm… Which are the good GMAT coaching institutes in Bangalore? I had screwed up my Verbal last time. I need to crack verbal this time. Crack Verbal! Hmmmm….”
I took GMAT coaching for 2 months at CrackVerbal – Bangalore (related page: CrackVerbal GMAT Online Course Reviews). Prepared a detailed study plan and most importantly, stuck to it. Meanwhile, took a GMAT appointment for 4 October which, if you ask me, was a bit late. Ideally, I should have started early and written the GMAT before September.
August 2012:“GMAT… Let’s see… Quant…Verbal…Verbal…Verbal…Verbal…What about the B-schools??? I must start shortlisting the schools now. Wikipedia…Businessweek Rankings… 20 to 30 B Schools.
All say the same thing – Awesome faculty; Close-knit community; Strong focus on your career; Great experiential learning; Leadership – only ABC is the way to learn it!!! CONFUSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
If I say that I was confused about the school selection, it would be an understatement. With so many good schools and hardly any idea about what sets them apart, I was bewildered. I needed some guidance on school selection strategy. Moreover, with an expected GMAT score of 710-720 I needed a profile evaluation too.
September 2012:“Gosh! It’s a jungle out there. I need to have a map to take the right path for my MBA application journey. MAP… Hmmmm…”
I came to hear about the Mock Application Process (MAP) offered by MBA Crystal Ball and immediately knew that it was something that I desperately needed. The MBA MAP not only helped me assess myself from an admission committee’s perspective but also taught me a lot about my post-MBA goals.
To be honest, I had very little idea about what I wanted to do after an MBA. Discussing post-MBA plans with Sameer, I realized the right way to look at the career options after an MBA.
I also realized why I came a cropper with my previous application attempt!
The MBA MAP explained one thing very clearly to me – MBA application is a game and you have to play with the rules. There is a big scope for personal touch but within the boundaries. Whims and fantasies about an MBA or post-MBA goals won’t lead you anywhere.
With the goals clear in my mind, I selected the B-Schools – 2 Ambitious, 2 Stretch, and 1 Practical. And then arrived October with GMAT…
October 2012:“Oh look, who’s here! Mr. GMAT. I hope you treat me well this time, sir… Just let me cross that 700 boundary, please… Practice… Practice… Practice and some more practice… Will I be able to do it???”
Yes, I did it! I got a score of 750 in the GMAT which was the highest that I had got in any of my tests, so I was ecstatic. That took a big load off my chest. But after the MAP, I had realized that GMAT is just a component, and the next and the biggest hurdle were the essays.
I resorted to MBA Crystal Ball’s expertise again. I took the MBA essay editing service and started working with MG.
In the brainstorming session, while discussing about my past achievements and post-MBA aspirations I could see a strong story emerging. I realized how and where I should use my professional achievements and extra-curricular interests to support my story.
During the MBA essay writing process, I received unwavering support from MG who not only corrected my mistakes but also improved the quality of the content with better language and expressions. The best part about the whole process was that I was able to keep my personal flavor along with a very impressive language.
I applied to Kellogg and Tepper in October in the first round. Kellogg and Tepper both had been my ambitious schools and I had never thought of actually getting in them. I knew that there were more practical and realistic schools for me in line for which I would prepare and apply in the second round.
November 2012: “I cannot believe my eyes!!! Is it really addressed to me? Am I really invited for an interview with Tepper admission committee? Wow!!!”
I couldn’t believe my eyes while reading the interview invitation from Tepper. It was a dream to read such a mail ever since I was in the final year of my college. As I had already got an interview waiver from Kellogg which is the default option for many international applicants, Tepper’s interview invitation was the first indication that someone somewhere in the great US of A had liked my application. I knew that my application strategy had worked so far.
Without leaving any room for error, I sat down to prepare for the interview process – scanned my application a thousand times, YouTube videos on Carnegie Mellon (including 1 hour video of their International Festival), sample interview questions, numerous mails to some of the current students with whom I had been in touch with.
Finally the day arrived and I attended the interview in my calm and cool self. The interviewer was quite friendly. Most importantly, I was ‘me’ throughout the interview but followed a tight script while answering the questions.
6:00 am 20 December 2012: “Please…God…Please…”
Kellogg’s denial two days ago had left me shattered. More so because I had finally received an interview invitation and had a telephonic interview which was a positive sign. And here I was sitting on my computer at 6 in the morning (midnight according to My Standard Time). The result for Tepper was due on 19th evening US time.
With drowsy eyes, sleepy fingers I logged into my email. There was a mail from Tepper. There was something written about exciting news with a link in the mail. I didn’t pay much attention to the subject line and immediately clicked on the link. A flash video popped up with the magic words… “Congratulations! You are in!!!!!”
There are very few instances in life when a massively joyous moment explodes in a span of milliseconds. It was one such moment. I was ecstatic, on top of the world, in fact on top of the chair too. It was time for celebrations!
Here’s the icing on the cake. I also got an admit from UNC Kenan Flagler!
And there’s more. Last week, I also got an admission offer from Simon. I applied to Simon in Round 3 after one of the ad-com members contacted me saying I stand a great chance for scholarship. I got an application fee waiver, TOEFL waiver and even GMAT waiver! (In the sense that they didn’t need official scores to be sent through GMAC, and were happy with the official score report). So, it was a free application for me! As it turned out, I got an admission with 50% Scholarship (equivalent to $ 48k). :-)
And the ISB admit came in today!
Even in the wake of this additional good news, Tepper still stands tall :-)
This time, I am sure that my MBA application story will be more of a Karan Johar movie than a Guru Dutt movie and there are many who I want to thank for that.
First of all – my wife who supported me not just emotionally but even with school search, GMAT and interview preparation, Arun Jagannathan for his magical touch to my GMAT preparation, Sameer for teaching me everything about the international MBA game, its rules, and how to win it, and last but not the least – MG for adding his ‘Midas touch’ to my MBA essays and turning them into gold! Thanks a lot!!!
What this MBA blog post doesn’t reveal is that Ritwik is multi-talented. He is the brain behind the concept, script and music in the video trailer of the best-selling novel – Business Doctors.
He would be happy to take your questions about the Tepper MBA rankings, class profile, tuition, scholarships, GMAT or anything other related topic. Join in here –> Tepper School of Business MBA forum.
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