Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Undergrad School and Major: Georgetown University, Psychology
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation (Starting with Most Recent):
JPMorgan Chase – Product Manager
Bloomspot (acquired by Chase) – Product Manager; Operations & Product Associate
Brighterion – Marketing Associate
Pensco Trust – Project Assistant
Multiple Individuals – Personal Assistant
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? It can be a challenge to focus while studying for the test, so it’s important to figure out in which environment you’ll actually be productive. I tried studying at coffee shops to start, but ultimately realized I needed the quiet at home to concentrate. Similarly, I found that maintaining a social life helped me structure my time and remain focused rather than just letting study expand to fill all time. I’d also recommend taking practice tests at the same time that you plan to take the actual test, if you can, along with anything else you can do to simulate the actual test day. For GMAT test takers, for example, I’d add getting a work booklet like the one used in the test for your practice tests. I found it incredibly beneficial to become comfortable with the booklet before getting to the test.
Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? I reached out to a lot of current students, either students affiliated with the admissions office or with clubs of interest, at all schools I wanted to explore. I asked friends, too, who knew alums or current students from schools for introductions. These communications were invaluable in getting a sense for the program and student body, especially if I got to speak to someone on the phone, when visiting many far off schools was not feasible for me. I also went to information sessions when schools came into town, which was beneficial to meet both representatives and alums of the school and other prospective students.
Once you’re ready to narrow down a list, along with considering the structure of the program and the vibe from students, I would think seriously about basic characteristics such as class size and geographic location. These factors impact your day-to-day life, so I would give them due weight when evaluating whether a school will encourage you to pursue your goals for business school.
What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admissions interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? For essays, the best thing you can do is give yourself a lot of time. After finishing a paragraph, I would leave an essay alone for a couple of days, work on another one, and then return to the first one, often times to rewrite it. I asked my family and close friends for essay feedback as well as to conduct mock interviews. It felt weird at first, but answering the questions out loud helped me clarify my thoughts and feel more comfortable for the interview.
Talking with the recommenders also helped, in a way, with my essays and interviews. I met with each recommender to discuss my goals with business school – and their view of my strengths and weaknesses – far in advance of finalizing my target list. I think this long runway helped them prepare mentally and logistically for writing the recommendation. Once I did have a list of schools, I made sure they had the application deadlines and bullet points of my goals in writing.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Meeting with students at Tepper influenced my decision the most. I left campus thinking, “I could imagine myself there and would be really excited to be there.” Tepper also seemed like a place where I could challenge myself to try new things, given its small, supportive class and motivated student body. It has a strong operations program and close ties to the local technology and startup community, two areas of interest for me. These factors combined made Tepper stand out as an awesome opportunity and place where I could genuinely grow.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I want to leave Tepper with stronger analytical skills for operational problem-solving and greater confidence in my ability to lead groups. I want to gain exposure to wide-ranging business operational structures and to have an impact on the Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh communities. I am excited to take classes in which I would get to work on an operations project for a real company, and I also hope to work on a project for a local startup. Putting the skills I study in class into practice will be the best way for me to develop. Plus, the experience will allow me to participate in the local community and think through potential roles after graduation, such as if I want to return to a startup. Through club activities, I aim to learn about different business organizations, help my classmates with their own career goals, and improve my ability to lead others.