Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Alejandro Zamora, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Alejandro Zamora

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business

“I’m an analytical thinker who loves to use tech to solve complex problems while lying on the beach.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: At the age of 12, I earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Undergraduate School and Major: Purdue University, Bachelors of Science in Neurobiology & Physiology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Apex Systems – Workforce Consultant

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Carnegie Mellon’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? One of the key aspects that led me to choose Carnegie Mellon was the importance that the program put on technology’s role in driving business solutions. It is evident that technology will continue to change every industry and company function, so it was exciting to see that Tepper prioritized that understanding and made sure to incorporate tech at the center of every business discussion. This is a passion area for me, especially as companies look to rebound and innovate for the future. I am very lucky to find myself at Tepper.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Carnegie Mellon? Looking to the start of the year, I am really excited to start engaging with the Tepper Consulting Club. During admissions, I was lucky enough to speak with the club’s president and it was evident that the club fostered a challenging and collaborative environment. I can’t think of a more fitting atmosphere when preparing for the strenuous recruiting process that consulting presents.

The Tepper MBA is known for intensive one-on-one coaching and personal development. What area do you hope to strengthen during your two years in business school and why? From a coaching perspective, one area that I want to continue to refine is leadership –more specifically the understanding of what a future leader embodies. An area that society continues to shine a light on is the continued need for leaders who can design and drive inclusive organizations. As a minority myself, I see the direct impact of leaders who create diverse environments especially as companies look to incorporate voices and experiences from a multitude of backgrounds. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can in this space so that I can influence an organization post-MBA.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? The biggest accomplishment in my career was in 2019/2020 when I was named lead at my firm for a massive integration project between two entertainment studios in Los Angeles. We had won a project that would have us at the center of their workforce integration following the acquisition, and a couple of our partners agreed that my experience within the industry (and with both clients) made for an easy decision to have me lead the project. It was great to receive the recognition and it definitely came with a lot of responsibility, but ultimately it was an amazing experience to deliver our solution successfully.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Like many, I believe the COVID-19 Pandemic really amplified the lack of innovation across multiple industries and functions. Up to this point, a lot of what companies were doing was simply maintaining the status quo or making small strides with new technologies and products. If I had to boil down the perspective shift, I would say it was the realization that, as a society, we needed to redefine what innovation meant – no longer could we look at it as the “shiny new phone” we had to look at innovation as an opportunity to create actionable disruption. Where this ties into my career is I hope to find myself in an influential role where I can drive these strategic roadmaps directly.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As I alluded to above, during the pandemic last year I had a deep realization that companies needed to redefine strategy and innovation to move more swiftly and profoundly. In the role I was occupying, there was no way I could impact that strategy directly because we typically started our work at the execution stage of the process, long after the strategy had already been defined, agreed upon, and implemented. I decided to pursue an MBA and take the next step in my career because I wanted to provide solutions on new strategy or work with tech companies to help refine their innovation roadmap. Following Tepper, I intend on beginning a strategy consulting role where I can truly influence those larger decisions surrounding such complex business problems like Strategy & Innovation.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? USC Marshall, UCLA Anderson, Georgetown McDonough, UT McCombs, UW Foster, Emory Goizueta

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program? Looking back on my experience recruiting with CMU and other schools, I truly believe the most influential aspect was my engagement through the admissions process. Starting out, it can be rather daunting attending information sessions that all draw out the school’s deadlines and process, typical interview questions, and the all-important GMAT/GRE score.

Where I felt I learned the most information was in my 1-on-1 conversations with faculty and current students. Specifically at CMU, I made an effort to connect with students across various disciplines so that I could learn about their individual experiences, successes, and failures. Across all of my conversations, it was obvious that there were two overarching themes. First, each student outlined multiple experiences where they felt Tepper was an extremely collaborative environment. Second, there was this theme of “technology driving business decisions” woven into every conversation and story. Taking both of those themes, I made sure to incorporate them into all of my essays, documents, and interviews with the Tepper staff as it pertained to my personal life. I think there is an aspect of showing the admissions team that you are already like the students they have on campus that helps make the decision to admit students that much easier.


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