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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This application season, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has streamlined its essay prompts down to just one and broadened the scope of the query to leave the decision of what to share largely up to the candidate. Rather than asking applicants about a defining moment and how they anticipate contributing to and benefitting from their experience in the Tepper program, the school poses what those familiar with the entrepreneurial/start-up world will readily recognize as a kind of “elevator pitch.” Candidates must distill what they feel are the most meaningful elements of their candidacy into a brief and compelling sound bite of sorts. Read on for our suggestions on how you might accomplish this…
Your essays are a great way for us to really get to know who you are. There are no right or wrong answers here – be authentic and tell us what we won’t find in the rest of your application. Only one essay is required. There also is an optional essay if there is additional information you wish to share with the admissions committee about your candidacy.
Essay 1: (Maximum 300-350 words, 12-point font, double-spaced): 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.
With a limit of just 300–350 words, you do not have a lot of room to get too detailed here, so heed the school’s directive—“tell us what we won’t find in the rest of your application”—and steer away from providing a basic rundown of your current job title and company, your undergraduate institution, your extracurriculars, and/or any other statistics and data points that the admissions committee will already have. This is not an invitation to just offer a laundry list of attributes or achievements but to “make a memorable impression” (emphasis ours). Although you want to use this essay to convey key information about your candidacy, before you start writing anything, take a few minutes to actually imagine yourself in this situation in real-life. What do you think you would truly say to an admissions officer in such a setting? We are pretty sure you would not whip out your resume, begin detailing your greatest achievements, and outline the career you hope to have after graduating. Some of this information may indeed be part of what you want your brief message to be, but you should be natural and realistic in your approach. And given that being able to streamline your central, most crucial messages and facts into a readily accessible, compelling, yet brief statement is a valuable—if not required—skill in the workplace, this essay may also give Tepper insight into your abilities in that regard
So, go beyond the bullet points in your resume and consider touching on personal qualities that are distinctive and representative of who you are as an individual, providing some ideas of how or what you could contribute to the Tepper environment, sharing your post-MBA goals, explaining your reason for wanting the degree, and/or clarifying why you feel you need an MBA now in particular. Business schools generally want to know (whether they ask directly or not) what candidates have in mind when they apply to an MBA program. To change careers? Advance in their current one? Hone certain skills? Gain exposure to a particular aspect of business or build a stronger network? Keep all these ideas in mind when deciding what to include in your essay, and work to supply the admissions committee with any such details you feel are most relevant for your candidacy. We recommend downloading your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide to help you better understand the primary points schools often request and get some ideas on how you might frame or incorporate them into your essay.
Though this may be easier said than done for some applicants, do your best to infuse your personality into your submission as much as possible. Let your approach and style reflect how you generally conduct yourself. Are you typically light-hearted or more blunt and forthright? Do you tend to be creative and visionary or more grounded and conservative? This essay will be the school’s first glimpse into who you are beyond the short answers, flat facts, and numbers provided in the rest of your application, so you want to try to convey your individuality and character along with your key points.
Optional Essay: Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have been otherwise 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.
Tepper’s optional essay prompt is somewhat broad in the sense that it does not demand that you discuss only problem areas in your candidacy. However, the second line of the prompt seems to imply that the admissions committee expects the essay to be used for just that. If an element of your profile would benefit from further explanation—such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, or a legal or disciplinary issue—this is your opportunity to address it and answer any related questions an admissions officer might have. We caution you against simply trying to fill this space because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you, and do not interpret this as a blank-slate invitation to dump every bit of remaining information about yourself that you feel the school is lacking or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to use in your required essay. Although no word limit is stipulated, be mindful that by submitting a second essay, you are making a claim on an (undoubtedly very busy) admissions representative’s time, so you be sure that what you have written is worth the additional resources and effort. For more guidance, see our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice (along with multiple examples) on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay.
If you are a reapplicant, this essay is pretty straightforward. Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Tepper wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Tepper MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.