Jason “Tyler” White
“Guy from America’s Wild Midwest trying to improve the world and have a good time.”
Hometown: Independence, Missouri
Fun Fact About Yourself: My hottest take is that onions and most live music are for the birds.
Undergraduate School and Major: William Jewell College – Economics and Political Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Tulsa Public Schools – Positive School Climate Coordinator
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Carnegie Mellon’s MBA curriculum and programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?
Tepper’s focus on teaching students how to leverage data and technology to make smart business decisions really stood out to me. I’m targeting product management post-MBA, and Tepper was one of the only schools with a product track. A lot of schools seemed to talk a big game regarding product management, but when you looked at their concentrations and course offerings, you’d see they planned to lump you in with the general marketing students and that the school really offered just one or two product focused classes. That isn’t the case with Tepper. Tepper’s Technology Strategy & Product Management track offers a slew of product specific, AI, design, and tech policy courses. You can also take courses at Carnegie’s computer science school (ranked #1 in the world) and its public policy school (ranked top 10).
What course, club or activity excites you the most at Carnegie Mellon? STARS Club. STARS helps students find job opportunities and cultivate relationships in the commercial space industry. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Earth, but a little variety would be nice. Also, STARS gave me a free t-shirt with a rocket ship on it when I visited CMU for admit weekend – can’t beat that.
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’m planning to focus on two areas – managing up and having tough conversations. While maybe not things you have to do everyday, being skilled in those areas can make a big difference at work and in personal endeavors.
The Tepper MBA is also known for being highly data-driven Why does the program’s focus on quantitative analysis and decision-making appeal to you? How have been able to leverage this approach in your career so far? Growing up, I wasn’t great at math. I’ve improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. Tepper’s quant focus intrigued me because of the opportunity to be challenged and further refine my abilities. Most recently in my career, I’ve been using data skills to identify trends in student wellness and student suspensions. With the world becoming more-and-more data focused, there is a greater-and-greater need for people who can effectively collect, analyze, synthesize, and tell a story with data. I’m confident my Tepper education is going to help me develop those skills and position me to make an impact wherever I end up.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I taught high school science and coached debate for 3 years. The support and development I provided my students over those three years and since is the biggest accomplishment of my career. I’ve taught students the most important fact of life (the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell); I’ve coached students to state and national debate tournaments; I’ve helped students apply for college and given them rides to work; I’ve consoled students while they’ve grieved; I’ve fed students when they were hungry; and I’ve listened to students when they needed someone to talk to. Teaching was incredibly tough, but I know I made a meaningful impact on my students and I’ll always be proud of that.
What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I’m sure y’all already have a million different things you’re reading, watching, and listening to. I don’t have any uniquely special resources to offer up, but I’ll say two things:
1) Find someone who can provide you reality checks during the application process. Nothing is worse than being on the tenth draft of an essay that you haven’t talked to anyone about and then when you finally ask for feedback the reader is like, “Yeah man, I don’t really know if the admissions staff is going to be compelled by 750 words on your journey to understanding why Snoball the cat will only eat wet food.” Maybe the reader is whack and your Snoball the cat story is absolute fire, but still probably better to have that conversation before draft number 10.
2) Each week, intentionally block off a couple times on your calendar (of 30 minutes or more) that you can disconnect, go outside (I recommend a space that is public and has greenery), and do something you enjoy. I say this as someone who has spent the last four years working in wellness and emotional regulation. We spend way too much time staring at screens, and that leads to a whole slew of issues – mental and physical. Ensuring that you are regularly getting some sunlight and experience joy that is unrelated to an electronic device can do wonders.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program? Really think about what you want in a program and what industries you’re interested in pursuing during your MBA. Then, reach out to our student ambassadors (they’re listed on the Tepper website). The Tepper students were some of the nicest and most helpful students I interacted with during my application process. Each student I spoke with was easy to talk to, offered to connect me with other folks, and seemed to genuinely have an interest in answering my questions and helping me better understand the Tepper experience.
Put together a good essay. There is just one, but its 300-500 words so you have some space to create something meaningful. The essay asks you to reflect on a time you overcame adversity, what you learned from that, and how that has shaped you. Compared to a lot of the essays you’ll find yourself writing for other schools, I think the depth of the topic and word limit of the Tepper essay provides applicants a somewhat unique opportunity to make a lasting impression on the admissions team.