Meet Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s MBA Class Of 2021

Rebecca Blei

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Passionate and committed to leading and driving positive change in world health.”

Hometown: Milan, Italy

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a competitive ice figure skater for Italy for 10 years – I thought I had worked out enough for the rest of my life. I recently picked up yoga and love the combination of strength and relaxation that it provides.

Undergraduate School and Major: Emory University – Business Administration (BBA), Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology (BS)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: A.T. Kearney – Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At A.T. Kearney, I had the amazing opportunity of working with some of the world’s largest corporations on some of their most complex problems. For example, I worked first-hand on two of the biggest mergers in history, truly making an impact every day on the future of these companies.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I’ve found lots of the classmates I’ve met to be open-minded and easy to talk to, but by far the most intriguing quality has been everyone’s intellectual curiosity. While conversing even about little things, my classmates have been continuously looking for deeper answers and explanations, which is something that I deeply value.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? One thing that stood out to me was the strength of Carnegie Mellon’s dual degree programs. The opportunity of earning an MBA and an MS in Healthcare Policy & Management in only five semesters sounded invaluable to me. As a healthcare hub, I knew that studying in Pittsburgh would enable me to deeply engage in the broader industry.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? There are two clubs at Tepper that I am particularly excited about being a part. Through the Healthcare Club, I am eager to explore the industry with students, professors, and professionals who are passionate and knowledgeable. Through the Net Impact Club (cross-collaborative with Heinz College), I strive to be able to use our knowledge as students and professionals to help businesses solve problems related to social causes and improve people’s lives one project at a time.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? In a video interview that I did, I was asked a question about government tariffs and my opinion about them. I only had 30 seconds to prepare an answer and was not ready for a question in that field. It was particularly challenging because I couldn’t gauge what the interviewer thought about my answer since it was over recorded video.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working in management consulting for three years, I accumulated lots of ‘hands-on knowledge.’ I realized that when it came to technical details, in both the business and the healthcare aspects, I needed some deeper academic knowledge. Having always dreamt of a career in healthcare, I looked at dual degree programs where I could deepen my business knowledge as well as enhance it with more technical healthcare details to increase my credibility and efficacy in the healthcare industry.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale SOM, UC Berkeley Haas, Columbia CBS, Dartmouth Tuck

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Initially, I prioritized the best programs that offered a dual degree with an MBA and a Healthcare Master. This helped me narrow down the programs a lot. I then looked at the different programs’ curriculum, where I valued the emphasis on analytics and ethics. I also prioritized urban over suburban areas. The culture was more difficult to research, so I spoke to at least a handful of students at each school and went to information sessions, school visits, and diversity weekends. Some programs offered the opportunity to sit in on a class and meet professors, which I thought really enhanced the value of the visit.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The lack of healthcare access that I’ve encountered – whether it be access to information, quality doctors, facilities, affordable medicine, or cutting-edge research – drives my devotion to improving the system. At seven-years-old, weakened and agonized, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I lived in a developed country with best-in-class medical facilities and doctors, yet it took over two years of misdiagnoses to find my ‘simple’ cure. Over a decade later, working with leading healthcare organizations, I witnessed many profit-driven corporations underutilizing their potential to improve public health. While consulting for a global medical device manufacturer, I observed indifference towards addressing operational inefficiencies. Without improving their processes, the patient’s costs remain considerably inflated, making healthcare largely inaccessible.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Through my experience in consulting, I noticed that key decision-makers in the healthcare industry are often well-versed in either business or healthcare, but rarely in both. My goal is to enhance healthcare access by increasing the private sector’s participation in public health initiatives, ultimately decreasing costs for patients. I aspire to lead global operations improvements in pharmaceutical, medical device, or biotech companies and find the balance between the need for increased access to healthcare, profitability, and efficiency. I would like this path to eventually lead to a decision-making position at the World Health Organization. Throughout my career, I plan to tackle remarkably delicate public health concerns, hoping to lead positive change in the global healthcare community.