Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Elizabeth Barnard, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Elizabeth (Beth) Barnard

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Perpetually curious, people person, and lover of all things nature and chocolate chip cookies.”

Hometown: Newport Beach, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I rode a bicycle 4,600 miles across the United States with Bike and Build, a non-profit that raises money and awareness for affordable housing. Over the 77-day trip, we spent 15 days building homes with Habitat for Humanity. It was awesome!

Undergraduate School and Major: Boston College, Communication

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Cooperative Strategies, Senior Associate – Finance

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I chose Tepper specifically because of its emphasis on the quantitative and technical side of business. Tepper offers a Business Analytics track, which is an additional emphasis in the curriculum beyond the various concentrations that students can choose to pursue. Quantitative skills are the area in which I have the most room for growth as well as where my interests lie, so overall it is the perfect fit. Finally, the small size of the program and 1:1 leadership coaching through the Accelerate Leadership Center were influential in my decision as well.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am very excited to join the Tepper Consulting Club and plan to immerse myself in as many of the seminars and workshops that they offer as possible. The networking, professional development and interview preparation that the club offers will be very impactful as I continue the recruiting process. Additionally, I look forward to the development opportunities through the Accelerate Leadership Center. This is a department that is unique to Tepper and was a huge differentiator for me. When I need a break from academics and professional development, I am hoping to partake in the soccer club and golf club activities!

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Tepper? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am most excited to build the technical and quantitative skills that Tepper’s curriculum is focused on. As many other MBA students can likely relate to, I will want to sign up for all of the events, clubs, and workshops as possible while also focusing on recruiting and building friendships. Needless to say, I am nervous how I will make time for everything but I am glad that we have the support of the Tepper community!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Aside from riding a bicycle across the US, I consider my biggest accomplishment to be pivoting from a liberal arts background and sales career into a financial consultant role in which I built a new skillset focused on municipal bond transactions and tax increment financing.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After five years of experience and working for two different companies, I felt that I had built an understanding of the fundamentals of business. I discerned that I wanted to earn an MBA, transition into a new industry, and build a network of like-minded individuals therefore it was the right time for me to make this jump.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Vanderbilt (Owen), Georgetown (McDonough), and Notre Dame (Mendoza)

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What will be your legacy and how will you contribute to the community? The recurring theme of taking an ambiguous question and decisively choosing a few approaches started early!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I took the time to speak with several current students and alumni at each school and had the opportunity to visit campuses during Women’s Diversity Weekends. Those personal interactions gave me a lot more insight than reading each school’s website. Each person is looking for a different type of fit and for me, this was at Tepper. My priorities included the quantitative focus, size of the student body, career opportunities, and leadership development. The employment reports that schools share were very helpful as well.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? On my cross-country bike trip, I learned to take life one obstacle at a time. Each day we knew how far we would be cycling but we were unaware of if the terrain would be gravel hills, soft sand, a mountain pass, or a little bit of each. This coupled with a month of knee issues and my body covered in poison ivy taught me perseverance that I will undoubtedly use in my academics and recruiting endeavors in business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Nike’s creative marketing and commercials get me every time.

Pretend you have just graduated from business school. How do you picture your experience being successful? A successful business school experience includes immersing myself in the Tepper student and alumni communities, building confidence in the impact I can make on an organization, and obtaining a new set of quantitative and qualitative skills.

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