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.
Bookmark this post..
CMU Tepper Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Following up on the announcement of this year’s Tepper essay topics for the 2017-2018 admissions season, we wanted to offer some guidance on how to approach these prompts for candidates targeting the Carnegie Mellon University MBA Class of 2020.
The Tepper adcom this year has once again opened up the essay to a general introduction. Meanwhile, the optional essay allows candidates to cover any extenuating circumstances, and re-applicants to reflect on their growth.
2017-2018 CMU Tepper Essay Topic Analysis
Let’s take a look at each of this year’s Tepper essay prompts:
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. (Maximum 300-350 words, 12-point font, double-spaced)
While seemingly a blank canvas—albeit a small one at 300-350 words—this prompt can feel a bit daunting at first. The key is to impose a structure by determining which elements of your candidacy are most worthy of space. One approach could be to decide what theme or themes you wish to highlight and how those are evident in your professional and personal life. For instance, perhaps you are in brand management and not only turned around one of your client’s campaigns, but also supported a local organization in their fundraising efforts.
Another approach could cover the standard content of an admissions essay, including one’s career goals, professional history, interest in an MBA and personal interests or leadership. Because the adcom asks about you both professionally and personally, it would make sense to balance the content accordingly. Given the short length, you may only have the chance to summarize your career with an additional 1-2 sentences about a particularly meaningful or impressive professional achievement. Business leaders are also expected to have vision, so conveying your career plans and how an MBA from Tepper fits into that plan would also be wise to touch on. Then, an example of leadership in your community or your other personal interests could allow you to wrap this essay up with a connection to how you hope to continue pursuing those interests as a b-school student at Tepper.
The framing of the question—waiting in an airport—can invite a somewhat creative gateway to revealing more information about oneself. For instance, if you’ve been leading a project that’s involved international travel, the destination of your “flight” could allow you to introduce your cross-cultural business experiences. That said, given the short length of the essay, such creative flair should be kept to a minimum, as the adcom will be most interested in getting to know you on a personal and professional level.
- 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.
While there is no set word limit for this essay, it would be wise to keep this under 350 words, given the length of the required essay. Optional materials also create more work for the reader, so it’s important to keep that in consideration while being concise in one’s explanations.
For first-time applicants, this optional essay should be reserved for addressing potential liabilities in one’s application. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses. This essay is optional, so should not be used if there are no issues to explain.
Meanwhile, reapplicants should detail the steps they have taken to become a stronger applicant and learn more about the Tepper MBA program since their last application. Candidates in this situation should comment on how they have spent the past year, taking particular care to highlight improved quantitative records, new professional skills and responsibilities, progress toward their ultimate career goals, and/or increased community involvement.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Tepper essay topics! As you work on your Carnegie Mellon MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s CMU / Tepper offerings:
Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: CMU / Tepper