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May 24, 2012

Q&A with a Member of the Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA Class of 2013

One of my former clients, a member of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business MBA class of 2013, was kind enough to answer my questions about his experience.  CMU2013 provided the following description of himself: “I am a government official, sponsored by Japanese government. I selected Tepper School of Business to brush up my analytical skills based on quantitative tools. Now I am really enjoying my MBA journey with lots of great students and quants!”
In addition to the MBA, Tepper is well known for its Master in Computational Finance.  CMU2013 provides great insight into one of the most (if not the most) quantatively rigorous MBA programs.

Adam: To what extent do you think the school’s mission statement has impacted what you learned at the school so far?

CMU2013: Huge impact. Tepper’s mission statement shows several key factors, such as problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork. Based on this concept, Tepper MBA course covers lots of analytical classes, and most classes impose teamwork tasks on students.

Adam: What parts of the program have you liked the most? The least?

I love abundant analytical classes in this school. There are lots of opportunities to improve problem-solving skills, especially quantitative and data-analytical skills. In addition, several dual degree programs with other schools are possible, including Computational Finance, Public Policy, and Software Engineering. It takes only two years to get these degrees if you spend summer break taking extra classes. And, the school size is small enough (the smallest in the top 20!) to be tight-knit community. Class size itself is also small, so we can talk with professor very closely.
Basically I am really satisfied with this program, but if any, I do not like the small number of qualitative classes available in this program. There is a flip side to everything. This school provides lots of quants classes, so there are relatively not so many qualitative classes.
Adam: What has most surprised you about your first year?

I was surprised to find that this school provides us with great environment to nourish cooperative culture. Almost all MBA applicants, including me, know Tepper as a super hard school. And Tepper is not so famous for cooperative culture as other schools, but I found that School itself plans lots of events every week for students to work together, and of course students also plan many parties almost every day. Event scale itself is small, and thanks to that, almost all participants know each other very well.

Adam: How would you describe the culture of the business school?

CMU2013: I can say Tepper school of business is small, tight-knit, cooperative, and quantitative. Through the first six months, every student is forced to work together with many other students in almost all classes. Tepper is proud of this teamwork-based curriculum, in which we learn how to help each other to optimize the output. In a difficult quantitative class, most students work together to help understand the concept even if they are not supposed to do so.

Adam: Do you actually have any time for clubs?  If so, which ones are you active in?

Yes, I do have time. I am active in Business and Technology, Biopharma, Volleyball, Asian Business Association, and Net Impact. Tepper is well known for one of the hard school, so club members do not always participating. As for club activity, if you succeeded in joining club board, you would have great opportunity to manage club event. Indeed, I am a vice president of Marketing in Asian Business Association, and enjoy my work with other board members.
Adam: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates?

CMU2013: Friendly, mature, cooperative 

Adam: Are there any changes coming to the school?

New dean states clearly that he will change policies to improve Tepper MBA ranking. I have no idea about what will he change, but this must have some effects on admission policy. For example, required GMAT score might change.

Adam: What are you doing this summer?

I  will work at OECD in Paris for two months. As a consultant, I will investigate what’s going on in a global market of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen fuel, bio ethanol, and electric vehicle. This achievement will be public in a workshop this fall. 

Adam: What advice do you have for those considering application to your school?

I know many MBA applicants who hold great score at TOEFL and GMAT, failed to get even interview offer. Take time to make unique, concise, and concrete essays. Campus visit itself is not sufficient way to get admitted at all, but it can be great opportunity to get lots of knowledge to be used in the essays and interview. For example, I was strongly interested in quantitative analysis in this school, so I asked admission office to show an operation class in my campus visit. Fortunately, I could join a very popular operation class, and I wrote what I saw and how I felt in that class. These vivid essays were much more persuasive to admission office than ones without my campus visit story. But even if you do not have such experience, you do not have to worry. Adam is really great and reliable counselor. He knows what you should next.
Adam:  Are there any specific websites or blogs that you would recommend that applicants look at to learn more about your school?

CMU2013: In Japanese only: http://tepperjp.wikispaces.com/
Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us?

CMU2013: Good luck!

I want to thank CMU2013 for taking the time to answer my questions.

-Adam Markus

I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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