Meet Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper Class of 2017

Carnegie Mellon, Tepper School of Business

Carnegie Mellon, Tepper School of Business


With roughly 415 students, Tepper is the smallest top tier MBA program west of Washington University. For Torrell Jackson, who joined Tepper after working as a Bank of America manager in Atlanta, size was a major advantage over other programs. “I wanted to be in smaller program where I could take full advantage of my resources. I wanted to feel like a person and not a number. I wanted to be able to know all of my professors and classmates by name and know them on a personal level. I also wanted to feel valued.”

Such size also facilitates an easier career transition, with a student-to-faculty ratio that has been reported to be as low as 4:1. Such transitions are also paved by Tepper’s strong coaching culture, with students required to complete one-on-one coaching and a detailed career plan during their two years. Although Tepper houses highly-ranked information systems and operations programs, the school is gaining increasing renown in entrepreneurship, logistics, and technology. And such strengths are fed by its location in Pittsburgh. Bridge City, known for its hard hats and sweltering furnaces, has long aspired to become a tech center. Based on recent results – metro startups raised nearly $338 million dollars in 2014 (a 259% increase over 2013 according to MoneyTree) – the city is well on its way.



What’s more, Pittsburgh has increasingly shed its blue collar trappings to become more cosmopolitan, says Ryan Swick, an engineer who left the city for DC to become an associate and senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. “Although I have previously lived in the city, it’s amazing to see how much it has transformed in just the last five years. I’m finding a vibrant arts, culinary and outdoors scene flourishing alongside the already robust and proud sports culture.  Frankly, I think Pittsburgh is one of the best kept secrets out there.”


And Pittsburgh’s burgeoning tech sector has sparked the 2017 Class’ imaginations when it comes to what they hope to achieve by graduation. “I would like to drastically improve my technological skills,” Kitcho admits. “Carnegie Mellon’s robotics and technology reputation, along with Tepper’s innovative business analytics program, was a big part of my decision to attend Tepper. I think it’s a no-brainer that technological improvements are continually going to re-define how the world does business.  Thus, on a daily basis, I want to take myself out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in Carnegie Mellon’s tech culture.”

Tepper Inte

Tepper Interior come 2018 building opening

Swick is looking forward to the capstone project in the school’s Management of Innovation and Product Development track, where he can work in a collaborative, interdisciplinary atmosphere. “Teams are built from students across the university in programs such as engineering, design and business to identify problems to solve, and then develop a solution product and business plan. For me, such an experience would be invaluable as an illustration of working on real-world, diverse teams to achieve business success.”

And Lilian Ngobi, a chemical engineer who last worked for General Mills, wishes to fit in with her new Tepper tribe. “I would like to train and run another half marathon with some of my Tepper classmates. I would like to learn and appreciate perspectives and experiences that are different from my own and adopt those in my future career path. Finally, I would like to make sure I did all that I could to ensure that I can be close with the majority of my classmates for many years to come.” 

To read profiles of incoming Tepper students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below. 

Carolina Gabbai / São Paulo, Brazil

Meg Glasser / Saratoga, CA

Torrell D. Jackson / DeBary, FL

David A. Kitcho / Windber, PA

Emily Klyza / New Orleans, LA

Benjamin Nasseby / Delanson, NY

Lilian Ngobi / Coral Springs, FL<

Rob Southern / Concord, MA

Ryan Swick / Meadville, PA

Lauretta Wild / Sacramento, CA

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