2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Alexandra Gerson, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Alexandra Gerson

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

I’m an easily excitable nerd at-heart, who loves learning new things and pushing myself.”

Hometown: Warwick, Rhode Island

Fun fact about yourself: I still don’t know how to ride a bike!

Undergraduate School and Degree:  

Carnegie Mellon University, May 2011

B.S. Chemical Engineering

Minors: Business, International Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Johnson & Johnson, Senior Project Leader, Global Manufacturing Process Innovation & Improvement

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? A.T. Kearney, New York City

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company, New York City

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • Dean’s Scholarship (Selected by Admissions for leadership and academic excellence)
  • Forté Foundation Fellow


  • President – Tepper Consulting Club
  • VP of Finance – Tepper Women in Business Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? This year, I had the opportunity to serve as the Tepper Consulting Club President, managing a board of 13 and a club of over 200 members. My goal was to empower my team and showcase a diverse set of role models for the 1st year students to connect with. As we prepare to transition leadership to the next class, we are hearing feedback from students and staff that the culture and team dynamics I fostered were clear to all. I am very proud of myself and my team for fostering a collaborative, supportive environment because that is what Tepper is truly about.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was 24, I volunteered to step into a supervisor position for someone out on leave for 6 months. When I walked in my first day, they told me I was in charge of 54 union workers across a 24/7 operation! After a few minutes of panic, I started trying to soak in information like a sponge. I began to see that morale was incredibly low in my department, to the point where we were losing talent. I made it my personal mission to improve this by making sure my team felt heard and valued and by implementing their ideas for programs. Being a first-time supervisor, I was not yet confident in my leadership style, but this role taught me to trust my instincts!

What was your favorite MBA Course? One of my favorite classes at Tepper was Acting for Business, taught by Professor Geoffrey Hitch. To me, this is what Carnegie Mellon is all about: breaking down barriers across disciplines to foster growth. This communications class taught me how to use a vocal and visual variety to evoke feeling and call an audience to action.

Why did you choose this business school? Tepper’s culture is all about support and collaboration. Leaving the comfort of my career at J&J was a scary prospect, and I knew I wanted to be in a place where the classmates, faculty, and staff were supportive and tight-knit. Over my two years here, I can safely say I would not be as successful had it not been for my classmates-turned-friends here at Tepper.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Tepper genuinely wants to know who you are, including your quirky passions and personality. Share your true self and what you’ll bring to the Tepper community.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Tepper has a strong reputation for analytics and sending people to the tech industry. However, that is not all that we do! Our students have a diverse set of passions that we explore here including communications, entrepreneurship and many other disciplines.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Explore and embrace the breadth of choices you have. The ambiguity can be both overwhelming and thrilling. Don’t worry if you end up on a path you didn’t expect! I found a career path and experiences that were even more satisfying and rewarding than my initial plans.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has made me a more confident leader and has changed the way I think about the world. It provided the opportunity for me to further define my leadership style leading an awesome team of 13 and club of 200, and to learn how to break down big ambiguous problems and analyze them from multiple perspectives.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I truly admire my classmate and good friend Andrea Caralis. Andrea cares deeply about supporting her classmates, whether that be in her role as the Graduate Business Association’s Career Development Officer, as a Communication Coach or simply as a friend. She is someone who will fight her way through challenges and obstacles to make Tepper a better place for everyone. I can’t wait to watch what she does next.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? (Feel free to be sarcastic.)

EBITDA = Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization

Despite taking multiple classes in finance, my classmates and I still struggle to pronounce this one…EBIT- DAAAAHHH.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…at Johnson & Johnson making cool skincare products.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? It is very difficult to quantify the value of my MBA experience, as it goes beyond a quick return-on-investment calculation. Sure, you can look at the immediate increase in salary or long-term earning potential, but the value goes beyond those numbers. While here at Tepper, I built lasting friendships with genuine, amazing people, stretched myself through leadership and academic challenges, and explored the world (over 12 countries!). I always wanted to get my MBA, and I am so glad that I did.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Volunteer abroad in animal rescue
  2. Serve in senior leadership at a beauty company, making portfolio decisions

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as an empathetic leader and friend, who is passionate about empowering others and stretching potential.


I love to cook, especially Italian food. During our school’s ski trip this year, we used my family’s recipe to make over 140 meatballs for our classmates! I am always looking for a new braised meat sauce or pasta recipe.

What made Alex such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Alex was elected and served as the President for the Tepper Consulting Club (TCC) from the MBA Class of 2019. Her skills in communication, leadership, problem-solving, and project management, combined with her creativity, sense of humor, and work ethic enabled Alex to make outstanding contributions to the Tepper School and to be an invaluable addition to the MBA Class of 2019.

Alex led 13 TCC Vice Presidents to create and execute a strategy to assist members of the Tepper MBA community as they prepared to interact with recruiters/alumni and to interview for consulting and strategy full-time positions and internships. She clearly communicated priorities and led the TCC Board to organize or co-host more than 120 events during a span of nine months. She worked seamlessly with leaders of the Graduate Business Association and other professional clubs. Alex effectively addressed issues to strengthen the relationships between consulting firms and the TCC while enabling students’ access to resources to support their success in recruiting. Alex is well-regarded by the TCC Board for her willingness to collaborate with all, her ability to seek and incorporate each individual’s point of view, her sense of humor and her strong work ethic. Even while executing a targeted employment search which resulted in Alex receiving a full-time offer from Bain & Company, Alex was always willing to pitch in and support TCC events if other Board members were unable to do so. Alex always conveyed a professional, positive, and caring attitude. She effectively utilized humor to diffuse tense situations and at no time allowed TCC events or interactions with other clubs to be contentious in the least.

Alex’s efforts in leading the TCC Board have had a significant impact on the Tepper School. As of February 14th, 2019, 40% of the employment offers accepted by members of the Full-time Tepper MBA Class of 2019 are consulting offers. This is higher than in recent recruiting years and reflects Alex’s and the TCC Board members’ contributions to the Tepper community.”

Lesley Kromer

Director, Master’s Career Center

Tepper School of Business



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