Meet Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper Class of 2017

Members of the Class of 2017 at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business

Members of the Class of 2017 at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business

Some business schools don’t follow the pack. They carve out their own path, confident that their vision can withstand changing tastes. The Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business is one of those schools.

Tepper has a reputation for being an academically rigorous quant school in the tradition of Booth and Sloan. In an era where courses run a whole semester and students take electives early on, Tepper is a truly a throwback. Here, students complete four intense “mini” semesters that last six and one-half weeks each. Tepper MBA students also take four to five courses per semester, thus doubling the number of subjects they study. In other words, students are exposed to twice as many topics as students in a traditional 13-week semester model. What’s more, the Tepper core lasts nearly the entire first year, giving students a deeper foundation in business fundamentals.


By focusing solely on the core over electives in the first year, critics might argue that Tepper students head into their summer internship with a disadvantage. In reality, the opposite is true. The school ranked ninth among recruiters in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 MBA rankings, higher than Sloan and Tuck. Tepper MBAs have also bought in, with the school holding the #11 spot in student satisfaction – ahead of Stanford, Wharton, Booth, and Columbia – in the same ranking. What’s more, 2014 Tepper MBA graduates pulled down starting salaries of $131,865, better than what graduates from higher-ranked programs like UCLA and Yale are earning (all while maintaining an 88.3% placement rate within three months of graduation).

And that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the incoming Class of 2017. “I chose Tepper because they have one of the best career service centers in the country,” says Meg Glasser, a Northwestern graduate from California. “After working at a startup dedicated to teaching job seekers the skills necessary to navigate the job market, it was very important to me to choose a school that was going to improve my post-graduation career outcomes not through reputation alone but rather through a deliberate program of career and job-search preparation.”

Robert Dammon, Tepper’s long-time dean, is fond of saying that the school gets two years to prime MBAs for a 40-year career. If the past four decades are any indication, Tepper MBAs can expect to navigate model-shattering change, with a breakneck pace and more moving parts. With intensified competition, ambiguity, and complexity being the new norm, Tepper focuses on the essentials – strategic thinking, decision-making, leadership, and analytics. And this eye towards tomorrow is among Tepper’s biggest draws says first-year David A. Kitcho, a U.S. Logistics Officer who studied business at West Point. “During my visit, I was blown away by how focused Tepper is on the future of business. Their cutting edge technology and forward thinking puts them at the forefront of a continually changing business environment.”


Kate Barraclough

Kate Barraclough

While the distant future may be uncertain, Dr. Kate Barraclough, who heads Tepper school’s MBA program, is bullish on the near future: The Tepper Class of 2017. “We are very excited to welcome another diverse and knowledgeable cohort of MBA candidates to the Tepper School of Business. Members of the Class of 2017 come from 29 countries and represent a variety of academic and industry backgrounds, including engineering, business and economics, computer science, physical sciences, humanities and social sciences, and mathematics. I believe that this class exemplifies the quality and individuality of our student body.”

This year’s 208-member class comes with impressive credentials, including a 690 average GMAT – up three points from the 2016 class. The 2017 class also produced a 700 median GMAT, with scores ranging from 640 to 740 in the mid-80% range. Collectively, the class also achieved a 3.3 undergraduate GPA, an average that has remained consistent for the past four years. In addition, the class’ median GPA was 3.4, with a range of 2.8 to 3.6 in the mid-80% percentile. Not surprisingly, students who earned an undergraduate engineering degree comprise 38% of the class. They are trailed by business (24%), economics (13%), information systems (9%), humanities and social sciences (5%), and mathematics and physical sciences (5%) majors. The percentage of STEM majors rose by two percentage points with the 2017 Class, while business majors declined by four percentage points.

Overall, women represent 26% of the 2017 Class, down 1% from the previous year. The percentage of international students remained steady at 35% with the incoming class featuring students from 29 countries. Underrepresented American minorities account for 7% of the class. At the same time, U.S. military veterans number 7% of the class, with self-identified LGBT students making up 1%.

In this class, student ages range from 23 to 43, with 28 being the average. The Class also brings an average 5.3 years of work experience to the table. At 16%, financial services professionals encompass the largest bloc of students. They are followed by technology and new media (14%), consulting (13%), manufacturing (13%), consumer goods and retail (6%), government (5%), energy (5%), consumer products (4%), and not-for-profit (4%). Among American students, 59% hail from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, with the west (16%), Midwest (10%) also representing substantive portions of the class.

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class. 

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