Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Arnie Shivram, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Arnie Shivram

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Football fan, science fiction reader, and trivia lover committed to improving myself.”

Hometown: Plainsboro, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a passenger in a car that mistakenly drove onto tram (trolley) tracks in Freiburg, Germany. We went through three stations and a trolley-only bridge before managing to find an exit.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: SMP Automotive – Supplier Quality Assurance Superintendent

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? Tepper displayed a small, close-knit community that worked together to succeed. The school’s excellence in engineering and technology, coupled with its interdisciplinary approach, seemed like a good fit for my future interests. Additionally, both the Masters Career Center and Accelerate Leadership Center staff showed a commitment to helping students achieve the outcomes they wanted.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am looking forward to being a part of the Culinary Club. I love good food and it is great to be in a city with a wide range of options for dining. Once the COVID-19 pandemic settles down, I am hoping to also start hosting some potluck events where everyone can try out each other’s cooking.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Tepper? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? Even with the virtual start so far, everyone I have met has been friendly and eager to connect. I feel that I am joining a community that I can be proud to be a part of. My apprehension is that it is going to be a big shift from working full-time for the last four years to now being a student again. I am going to have to get used to doing homework and taking tests again.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a brand-new employee, I took charge of designing a materials testing laboratory and product testing program for a Greenfield automotive manufacturing plant. The initiative had been floundering before I took over. However, I was able to successfully setup the laboratory on schedule, train a team of laboratory technicians, and negotiate testing agreements with our customer. This project required me to step into a wide variety of areas that I had little exposure to before and boosted my confidence.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to broaden my exposure and connect with people from around the world who had experience in different roles and industries. An MBA also gives me the business knowledge that I can pair with my existing operations experience to make a bigger impact in my career. 

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg, McCombs, Ross, Scheller, Sloan

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? An admissions director asked me about my biggest non-professional accomplishment. It was not something that I had a prepared response for. I really had to dig down deep into my relationships with my family and friends to answer the question.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I was looking for programs with a strong focus in operations and a clear vision for the future. Rankings and career outcomes helped me assemble a pool of potential schools, but it was the conversations that I had with students and staff that showed me where I best fit in.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment came after my company suffered a series of failures in our initial product qualification for a new model that we were launching. I led the team that analyzed the failures and developed solutions for addressing them. Through our efforts, we were able to successfully resolve all issues and launch on-time.  This experience helped me in learning how to deal with senior management and present solutions under pressure.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Apple. Their commitment to design and innovation in their products is noteworthy. Business students can learn from them that momentary setbacks can always be overcome. The key is to produce a quality product that outshines all competitors.

Pretend you have just graduated from business school. How do you picture your experience being successful? If I have led club initiatives that I care about, made a good group of friends – and have a career path that I can be proud of – I will know that I have been successful.





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