2020 Best & Brightest MBA: Salina Chan, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Salina Chan 

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

“Energetic, dedicated community builder who is passionate about helping organizations develop sustainable growth strategies.”

Hometown: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Fun fact about yourself: A dancer since childhood, I joined my college cheerleading team and competed at UCA Nationals at Disneyworld.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Babson College, May 2013 – B.S. Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? iRobot, Program Manager, Global Digital Marketing

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? A.T. Kearney – Chicago, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Associate – Pittsburgh, PA

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • Jerome J. Segal Endowed Graduate Scholarship (Selected by Administration for superior academic performance and leadership)
  • Forté Foundation Fellow


  • President – Tepper Consulting Club
  • Communication Coach – Accelerate Leadership Center
  • Silicon Valley Trek Planner – Business & Technology Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  During my second year, I was selected as a Communication Coach within Tepper’s Accelerate Leadership Center. In this role, I worked with students in Tepper Master’s and Ph.D. programs to help them prepare for job interviews. The resources at Tepper were instrumental in my interview preparation and success, and I knew that I wanted to pay it forward during my second year in the program. Every week, I helped students refine their communication style and be able to walk into interviews with confidence. It has been incredible to watch students hone their ability to effectively communicate their skillset and tell a compelling story. This experience taught me how to adjust my working style to match a student’s needs and become a better mentor.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At iRobot, I was tasked with developing a comprehensive go-to-market strategy for all physical and digital product launches. I worked with the marketing team and sourced a digital agency partner to design, develop, and implement a strategy for how to align timelines across the organization. The experience taught me how to challenge an established process and motivated me to pursue my MBA in order to continue to work on initiatives of this nature. I am proud of leaving a legacy at my company that has encouraged cross-functional collaboration, streamlined processes, and enabled my coworkers to have a more predictable workload going into product launches.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Oliver Hahl, Corporate Strategy. Professor Hahl taught one of the first classes Tepper students take as part of our core curriculum, Corporate Strategy. Professor Hahl challenged us to look at problems from both sides and guided us through frameworks to objectively evaluate business situations. This class set the foundation for how I now think about business problems and introduced effective data-driven decision-making, which is what Tepper is known for.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? When I started the MBA program, we had just opened the doors to our new Tepper Quad on campus. As my class settled into the new space, we organically used our lounge area and Collaboration Room (aka the “Egg Room” due to its shape) to work on homework and study for exams together. On any given afternoon, I was able to find a table filled with classmates to work with. This experience exemplifies what Tepper stands for: hard-working, collaborative, humble individuals who will go the extra mile to help a friend.

Why did you choose this business school? When refining the list of schools to apply to, Tepper was at the top of my list due to its position at the intersection of business and technology. After visiting Tepper for Diversity Weekend, I felt the students and administration were genuinely interested in getting to know who I was. It was important for me to find a community that would not only improve my skill set, but that I would also want to be connected with once the program ended. Once I was accepted, the slew of students and alumni who reached out sealed the deal for me.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Have clear goals for yourself. The MBA is a big commitment, so it’s important to know why this degree will be beneficial to your career and personal development. With clear goals in mind, it’s much easier to prioritize what aspects of Carnegie Mellon and Tepper to take advantage of in the two years that are you in this program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? There is a misconception that people at Tepper are all analytically-minded engineers. While a large portion of our class comes from an engineering background, people at Tepper are also passionate about creative outlets and want to change our community for the better. One of my classmates, Hannah Poulson, is a yoga teacher and helped develop our wellness programming.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would take advantage of the classes across the CMU campus. CMU is known for a plethora of amazing programs, and I regret not taking a class from professors in Computer Science and Drama.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Giovanna Chabot for the work she has done bringing awareness to opportunities in the energy industry and how she presents herself as a student leader at Tepper. As Co-President of Tepper’s Energy and Clean Tech Club, she has helped develop partnerships with companies in the energy sector to host and speak to existing students about working in the industry. On campus, Giovanna is consistently engaged in the classroom and always willing to lend a hand to help others – whether it be through Tepper Women in Business or just a conversation over coffee.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom is the reason I chose to pursue a business degree in college. Originally, I wanted to become a federal prosecutor after watching a lot of Law & Order. My mom suggested I apply to business schools because I had won a business plan competition in middle school…and she was right.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Work in another country
  2. Lead an organization in the media/entertainment or retail industries

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d love to be remembered as a motivated, empathetic individual who is always happy to have a conversation – personal or professional – and help others reach their goals.

Hobbies? I love staying active. My classmates and I signed up to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this spring, which will be my fifth half marathon. I’ve also challenged myself to read more this year and carve out at least 30 minutes a day to read for pleasure rather than just for school or work-related purposes.

What made Salina Chan such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?

“Salina was elected and served as the President for the Tepper Consulting Club (TCC) from the MBA Class of 2020. Her skills in communication, leadership, problem-solving, and project management enabled Salina to make significant contributions to the Tepper School and to be an invaluable addition to the MBA Class of 2020. Salina led 14 TCC Vice Presidents to create and execute a strategy to assist members of the Tepper MBA community as they prepared to interact with recruiters and alumni and to interview for consulting and strategy full-time positions and internships. She 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. Salina actively enabled students’ access to resources to support their success in recruiting.

She is well-regarded by the TCC Board for her ability to seek and incorporate each individual’s point of view and for her strong work ethic. Even while executing a targeted employment search, which resulted in Salina receiving a full-time offer from McKinsey & Company, Salina took on additional responsibility and supported TCC events if other Board members were unable to do so. Salina always conveyed a professional, positive, and caring attitude. Salina’s efforts in leading the TCC Board have had a significant impact on the Tepper School of Business. As of February 18, 2020, 41% of the employment offers accepted by members of the Full-time Tepper MBA Class of 2020 are consulting offers. This reflects Salina’s and the TCC Board members’ contributions to the Tepper community.”

Lesley E. Kromer, Ph.D.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business


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