2019 Best Online MBAs: John Campion, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

John Campion

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Former U.S. Navy Nuclear Submariner eager to start a career in management consulting.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Green Bay, WI

Fun fact about yourself: I am a Green Bay Packers shareholder

Undergraduate School and Degree: U.S. Naval Academy, BS in Political Science (Honors)

Where are you currently working? U.S. Navy Reserve in Pittsburgh, PA (I started my MBA as a Senior Instructor in Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy)

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the leadership in helping my submarine, the USS MISSOURI, recover from a safety incident by creating and implementing an Operational Safety program that uses quantitative analysis and lessons learned to critique every operation plan developed onboard. This program has provided a lasting impact on safe operations for the MISSOURI and is still being used nearly four years after my departure.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program?

I chose Tepper’s Part-Time Online Hybrid program due to the analytical rigor of the program, the opportunity for networking, and the flexibility of the program. Tepper is known for its analytically-focused curriculum, and I knew that I wanted to develop strong business analytics skills to supplement the leadership training I had received in the U.S. Navy. The Access Weekends scheduled every two months in Tepper’s program provided me an incredible opportunity to develop strong bonds with my classmates in the MBA program and discuss real-world applications of the topics we were learning in class. Tepper’s Part-Time Online Hybrid program also provided me the flexibility to take classes full-time in person, allowing me to fully focus on my professional development and career search after completing my active duty obligation this past June.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program was the quality of my classmates. The flexibility offered by Tepper’s Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA program attracts students from a variety of industries, business functions, and levels of experience. As we discussed business cases throughout the MBA program, I was able to witness how individuals in different positions and at different stages in their career reacted differently to the issues at hand. Being able to apply the lessons I was learning in the MBA program and to see how my classmates were similarly applying these lessons was enriching and thought-provoking.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The most surprising thing about an online learning environment is the ability to develop strong relationships. My largest fear when I started an online MBA was that I would not be able to develop the strong relationships that are the foundation of a traditional MBA. What I have found is that the extra work required to cultivate relationships in an online environment can actually provide even stronger and more lasting relationships. Navigating group projects in a digital environment is challenging. The teams I was a part of needed to be especially intentional about setting and enforcing group norms.

The Access Weekends provided by Tepper’s Part-Time Online Hybrid program provided a great opportunity to reinvigorate relationships; these Access Weekends were eagerly anticipated by the individuals in our program.

Finally, the three-year length of the program provided a longer time horizon to develop and foster relationships. I know that I have continued to grow in friendship with my peers in the MBA program during this third year, and I am grateful for this opportunity. Now as we get ready to graduate, my classmates and I are excited to reunite in person for one last time as fellow students, confident that we will continue to frequently communicate digitally and seek any opportunity to reunite in person in the future.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? My best piece of advice would be to be intentional in applying the lessons you learn in your classes to your job. I believe the ability to quickly apply these lessons while they are still fresh in your memory is one of the most significant advantages of a part-time MBA program. As a senior instructor at the US Naval Academy, I was in a “non-business” field, but I was still able to implement many of the skills I had developed from my MBA program.

I also took advantage of the opportunity to talk with other students who worked in more traditional business occupations to see what concepts they were implementing. Their experiences were fascinating, as fellow-students were developing optimization models for supply chains and bringing data analytics into their marketing efforts. By discussing how we were using the lessons we learned in class, I was able to more readily grasp the relevance of what I was learning in class to my post-Navy career.

 What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would make more elective courses available. I appreciate that Tepper requires such a strong foundation in “core” courses, as I think the fundamentals we learn in these courses enable us to holistically address business issues. Once you get beyond these core courses, there are less elective course offerings available than in a traditional MBA program. I understand the constraint on university resources, but it is unfortunate when students are spending the same tuition as a typical MBA program but are being forced to take electives that do not necessarily align with their future professional interests. I do appreciate the effort Tepper’s program has put into expanding the elective opportunities and look forward to an even more robust of elective options for future Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA students.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? I absolutely would do Tepper’s Part-Time Online Hybrid program over again. First and foremost, I have enjoyed the businesses concepts and principals I have learned in the MBA program. While I easily could see the utility and “ROI” of an MBA before I began this program, I did not realize how interesting I would find the cases I looked at and the skills I developed in the MBA program. I also have developed some incredible friends through the MBA program and look forward to continuing to grow closer to the members of our cohort as we embark on our post-MBA career paths. Finally, I know that the MBA has provided me the skills I needed to make a total career change from a navy officer to a management consultant at McKinsey. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to continue to provide impact using the lessons I learned while in this MBA program.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I am excited to start my new career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. The variety and challenge of business problems I will be tasked with solving sound invigorating. The ever-changing environment of consulting is enticing to me, and I want to grow as a problem solver and drive impact in my career at McKinsey. My upbringing and career in the Navy have cultivated in me a passion for public service, and I am interested in working long-term in the non-profit space, either in a consulting capacity or as an executive of a non-profit organization.



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