2017-2018 CMU Tepper School MBA Essay Tips
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.