Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA Essay for 2022-2023: Tips & Strategy

September 08, 2022 | by Catherine Tuttle

One of the smallest among the top 20 business schools, Carnegie Mellon Tepper boasts a close-knit culture and pioneering approach to management curriculum (a “management science” model over the case method, that’s now integrated within all the leading business schools).

As such, the admissions team is looking for evidence of self-reflection and your ability to appreciate differences as a profound asset to a culture of innovation. These values are woven into Tepper’s singular MBA essay question.

As mentioned in my related blog, Applying to Carnegie Mellon Tepper: 3 Essential MBA Tips, the admissions committee seeks students who define community in the broadest sense of the word and have a desire to effect positive change. This year, Tepper has revised its singular essay question. Previously, it asked you to describe how you’ve overcome adversity, what you learned, and how it shaped you. This year Tepper is asking for an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the Tepper community reach their full potential.

How to Tackle Tepper’s New Essay Question

Required Tepper Essay: The Tepper community is dynamic and unique with students who strive to be collaborative, supportive and inclusive. Please provide an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the community reach their full potential. (Maximum 350-500 words.)

With a small class size of 200, Tepper places a high value on creating an inclusive and tight-knit community – one that is committed to making a positive impact on each other, business, and the world. Along with this new essay, Tepper recently released its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan – Tepper Together – which was created by a task force of students, staff, and faculty. Tepper Together outlines four core value themes: Climate, Culture, and Community; Access and Equity; Recruitment and Retention; and Education and Scholarship (CARE). Ultimately, these themes come together with the goal of creating a supportive and inclusive culture where community members feel safe and supported and in doing so, creating an environment where innovation and creativity thrive.

To create Tepper Together, the DEI task force analyzed the data, applied Tepper’s values, and defined their approach. This formula could also be applied to your essay response.

To get started, consider the following questions:

  • What life events thus far have shaped your values?
  • Was there a time these values were challenged and how did you react?
  • How has working within diverse teams or surrounding yourself with diverse perspectives created a better outcome, spurred creativity, or led to an innovative solution?
  • Taking it one step further, how will this experience overcoming adversity make you a better teammate, student, and/or Tepper alumnus?

You only have 500 words to deliver a response that’s memorable, meaningful, and articulate. A compelling tactic is to elaborate on one, specific experience that reveals an important part of – or dimension to – who you are. Share specifics with your reader that go deeper into what makes you unique and what you stand to offer. The admissions committee wants both substance and specificity.

Want more advice?

View my related blog: Applying to Carnegie Mellon Tepper: 3 Essential MBA Tips

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Updated September, 2022


Catherine Tuttle is former Associate Director at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she worked in the Career Management Center and also served as the liaison to Admissions. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a free consultation.

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