Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Kendall Williams, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Kendall Williams

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business

“Detail oriented engineer with big picture plans to be a business operations leader.”

Hometown: Oakland, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I play three instruments- piano, drums, and bass guitar.

Undergraduate School and Major: North Carolina A&T State University, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Collins Aerospace, Senior Design Engineer

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? The focus on data analytics was enticing, and then coupled with the strong sense of community is what really sold me. As an engineer, I do tend to nerd out on numbers and Tepper has such great success converting engineers into business leaders. Everyone I spoke with during the application process (admissions, students, etc.) was supportive and wants you to succeed. That type of environment is what really made it a no brainer for me.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Carnegie Mellon? As strange as it sounds, I’m looking forward to taking my very first accounting class. I know it’ll be one of the building blocks for business and experiencing it with my classmates will be great. It has been so long since I’ve sat in a classroom, so I’m excited to take advantage of the opportunity. I feel it will help me and my classmates connect as we “go through the trenches” in the beginning of our respective MBA journeys.

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? I plan to strengthen my soft skills, specifically speaking up more to persuade people with my decision making. In the past, I would tend to hold back, but I want to take this opportunity to really be comfortable and confident speaking up and out. Tepper’s Accelerate Leadership Center I feel will really help me do this, and I plan to take full advantage on what it has to offer.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While employed at a company, I was part of a small team of manufacturing engineers that constructed a fully functioning casting plant in under 18 months.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I had to learn how to adapt like everyone else. Being forced to do so, allowed me the opportunity to get acclimated to getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m now ready to take more risks and I embraced that mindset early on during the application process in 2020. It instilled in me a new self-confidence which I believe will help me thrive while at Tepper and post-MBA.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I’ve worked as an engineer in design & manufacturing throughout my career. I really want to be able to communicate at a higher level to other execs and drive decisions that directly impact a company’s business. Operations is still a big part of me but being able to leverage my technical acumen into making business decisions to push innovation and create success is the goal, whether for a tech or high production-based company.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business 

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program? Really take the time to do self-reflection to know what your short- and long-term goals are. Reach out to current students and alumni to learn about the Tepper community. Be consistent in your application, and make sure it makes sense with what your goals are. And overall, be yourself!


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