The key to admissions success here is to exhibit your keen analytical capabilities through your essays—that and your strong passion for learning and your desire to expand your role as an innovative leader. Get those points across to the adcom members and you could be well on your way to the tech-savvy business education that only Tepper can provide.
ESSAY A (Required)
What are your short-term and long-term goals? How will a Tepper MBA help you to achieve these goals? (Please include any information regarding what steps you have taken to learn more about the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.) (Maximum length= 2 double-spaced pages in 12 pt font)
Straight-forward MBA goals question. What do you want to do immediately after earning your MBA? What do you want to do 5-10 years down the road? Yes your longer term goals can be fuzzier, but you should be able to show clear direction. Be sure to include in your response how Tepper’s program (not ranking, reputation, or other generalities that apply to all top programs) will help you achieve your goals.
As you do your research, attend info sessions, and visit campuses, look for the distinctive pieces to any MBA program that appeal to you. Then use that data to demonstrate how well you know the program and what a great fit you are for the given school.
Regarding CMU, you may want to refer to its mini-semester structure or its MBA tracks and cross-campus curriculum. Explain how any or all of these elements will help you achieve your goal. If Tepper professors are prominent in your area of interest, discuss how their research jives with your professional interests. Your ability to connect these details and your goals builds a stellar goals essay.
ESSAY B (Required)
The Tepper School is looking for individuals who will make an impact. Give an example of a time where you made an impact in your professional or academic life. (Maximum length= 2 double-spaced pages in 12 pt font)
In this MBA essay, show how you have contributed actively in the past to your team at work or perhaps a group project in class. Did your suggestion enable the team to finish the project on time? Did you inspire and unite your teammates and lead them to unprecedented victory in the academic decathlon? Please note that Tepper is looking for an example, not a theoretical treatise. Stories work well for this (and many other ) kinds of questions.
ESSAY C (Required)
Describe an obstacle or ethical challenge that you have faced in your professional or academic life. How did you deal with this situation and what did you learn from it? (Maximum length= 1 double-spaced page in 12 pt font)
This is a fairly short essay and a straight-forward one at that. I recommend an obstacle that you have overcome or an ethical challenge that you handled well. Discuss the situation you faced, the challenges it presented and then how you responded. Finally what did you learn from the experience. If possible, be anecdotal in telling the story and avoid cliches when analyzing what you learned.
ESSAY D (Required)
Please answer one of the following two questions. Please clearly specify which question you are answering. (Maximum length= 1 double-spaced page in 12 pt font. )
1. Outside of my professional and/or academic life, one thing that people would be surprised to know about me is…
2. Outside of my professional and/or academic life, I am especially proud of…
This question is a freebie, a wild card. You can really write about anything non-professional that will give the admissions committee insight into YOU. As it has in the previous essays, Tepper wants you to focus on one aspect of your life, and they clearly want it to be non-professional. It can be fun or serious. My advice is that it should complement the characteristics revealed in the other essay. Where do you break with whatever stereotype is out there about you? That topic might be a great response to D1. When have you contributed and had impact in a non-professional context.
ESSAY E (Optional)
Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application?
If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application.
Use this optional essay, or lose an opportunity to provide even more reasons for Tepper to admit you. Just don’t rehash information found elsewhere. That’s a waste of time — yours and your reader’s.
If you would like professional guidance with your CMU Tepper MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our CMU Tepper School Package, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Tepper MBA application.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.