Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Former shipdriver with penchants for Pittsburgh sports, the outdoors, photography, and singing at weddings (poorly).
Hometown: Dexter, MI
Fun Fact About Yourself: I make a great caipirinha.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame – BA in Economics
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: United States Navy, United States Naval Reserve-Surface Warfare Officer
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was leading a naval gunfire support team from failing a certification to a 95.8% live fire score, placing our team in contention for the best score amongst over 40 other ships in the Pacific Fleet.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Enjoy your interviews! At its core, an interview is a conversation and you should treat it as such. Be able to effectively communicate your professional background, why you want an MBA, and how that school’s program aligns with your goals. Most importantly, let the interview show who you really are. This is your opportunity to showcase your passion, energy, and what makes you, well, you. Yes, the interviewer is taking notes and making an assessment, but relax and don’t let that get in the way of you sharing your story.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? During the MBA admissions process, you will hear the term “fit” a lot: does this program “fit” you, do you “fit” the program, etc. Initially I thought I knew what “fit” was, but in becoming a member of the Tepper community, I now have an understanding of what it really means.
Professionally, Tepper’s reputation for quantitative rigor was a fit for me. As a naval officer, I felt I had great experience in the areas of leadership and management, but comparatively little-to-none in business analytics. Therefore, I wanted a program that would build my quantitative foundation to make better, more informed business leadership decisions, and give me a deeper understanding of how business really works. Along with its history as the home of management science, its nine Nobel laureates and access to groundbreaking IT and energy research at Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper aligned with what I wanted to learn and the opportunities I wanted to pursue.
Tepper was also a great personal fit. My family is originally from the Pittsburgh area, and like most Pittsburghers, we deeply identify with our roots in the city. I couldn’t pass up the chance to pursue a world-class MBA where I can grab a Primanti’s sandwich (yes, that “Place-That-Puts-French-Fries-On-The-Sandwich” you’ve heard about); yell my lungs out at a Steelers/Penguins/Pirates game; take in a beautiful day at Schenley Park; or kayak on one of the three rivers that flow through the city.
Pittsburgh has also evolved into a burgeoning tech and startup center, and Carnegie Mellon has been at the forefront of this exciting new chapter in the city’s history. Even with all of the amazing food, experiences and opportunities in Pittsburgh, what really drew me to Tepper was the school’s culture. Tepper prides itself on its small cohort, so I could actually get to know my peers and professors. Tepper also had a great feeling of community: on campus you could see great interaction, sharing and learning among students from all over the world. For me, Tepper felt like the ideal place to grow both personally and professionally.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I’d like to explore opportunities in consulting, particularly the areas of: strategy, energy, IT and human capital development. Also, with my undergraduate background in economics and my naval travels to areas at both ends of the economic spectrum, I have interests in economic development and microfinance, and would like to see how I could apply those interests at institutions like the World Bank, IMF, USAID or the non-profit sector.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Dave was an effective and energetic leader, team player, problem solver and communicator who loved to learn and to have fun while doing it.