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CMU Tepper MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2021-22

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Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Tepper School of Business of Carnegie Mellon University is where "human intelligence unlocks the power of data." Tepper seeks candidates who will enrich its tight-knit community and are interested in a highly analytical course structure.

From Tepper Website: The vision of CMU Tepper is to create value for business and society by providing intellectual leadership, advancing the science and practice of management, and developing ethical leaders to be the agents of change in a world driven by technology and innovation.

Application Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decision Date
Round 1- Full Time October 03, 2021 December 08, 2021
Round 2- Full Time & Part-time January 05, 2022 March 09, 2022
Round 3- Full Time & Part-time March 06, 2022 May 04, 2022
Round 4- Part-time April 18, 2022 May 29, 2022

All deadlines are 11:59 PM Eastern Time (U.S.)


There is one required essay for all Tepper MBA applicants. They can also write an optional essay to provide additional information about their candidacy

The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350-500 words.)

Tepper is asking about the setbacks and adversities that you have faced in your life journey. You will need to do deep self-reflection to brainstorm stories/ experiences and spell out how these experiences have shaped you into who you are as a person. Then, think through your experiences and pick 3-4 stories where you faced hardships; explain how you overcame them and grew stronger and supportive. This essay will showcase your growth and maturity as a result of those setbacks. After discussing each experience, shed light on what you learned about yourself and how your learnings made you a better version of yourself.

To make your story more cohesive, make sure to organize your experiences in chronological order. Also, you may choose both personal and professional anecdotes to demonstrate your overall growth as an individual and professional. Finally, conclude your narrative by showing how your ability to overcome adversity has built your character and made you an individual who will be a perfect fit for Tepper's small and tight-knit collaborative, supportive community of problem solvers.

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 reapplicant, use the optional essay to explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

An optional essay is an opportunity for you to give the Admissions Committee relevant information that you could not provide in any other parts of your application. In addition, the optional essay is a great place to address extenuating circumstances, which means that you should explain any weaknesses in your profile. For example, if you have a lower-than-average GMAT score, grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or significant employment or education gap, you can explain it in this essay. Also, if you cannot get your recommendation letter from your current supervisor, please explain that in the optional statement.

To provide context for a weakness in your profile, make sure your reason is genuine to convince the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Your response should be positive, straightforward, and fact-focused and should not sound like you are making excuses for a weakness in your profile. Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality. For example, if you are discussing your employment gap, you may explain that you did something productive during that period, such as traveling, volunteering, or handling a family medical emergency.

In case you do not have any weakness in your profile, but you think that you didn't get a chance to highlight a significant aspect of your profile in any other part of the application, you should use this platform to share that vital aspect of your candidacy. For example, if you have done considerable community work and could not share it elsewhere, you can elaborate on it in your optional essay. Likewise, perhaps you have a stellar leadership story or entrepreneurial experience that you did not get a chance to showcase. You can use this space for that. Since Tepper asks for only one required essay, I highly recommend submitting an optional essay.

Tepper does not ask for a separate re-applicant essay, so if you are a reapplicant, you will also use this essay to explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application

What is your professional goal immediately following graduation from Tepper? (150 words)

This is a straightforward Goals Essay about post-MBA goals. First, please identify the position you hope to hold immediately after your MBA, specifying your role, function, industry, and 1-2 organizations/ companies you want to work for. Then, articulate your goal and explain why this goal is exciting and vital to you. Please note that your post-MBA plan should show a logical progression from your professional experience, current skill set, and the skills and knowledge you would acquire through Tepper MBA. Also, make sure that your goals are ambitious as well as realistic.

What other role would you consider? In other words, what is your Plan B? (150 words)

"Tepper believes in being prepared." Through this question, Tepper wants to know about your alternate plans in case your plan A doesn't materialize. Life is full of uncertainties, and you may come across situations that might prevent you from realizing your post-MBA goals. So, it would be best if you prepare yourself for plan B. Please make sure that your alternative career path is not an altogether different path that will not allow you to leverage your skills and experience to the fullest. It should be in alignment with your experience, skills, and knowledge gained from your MBA education.

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This blog was first published in myEssayReview.