Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Imani Coney, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Imani Coney

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Proud dog-mom and overall optimistic individual who values spending time with my family and friends.”

Hometown: Saginaw, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am an aspiring entrepreneur; I purchased a house in Houston, TX at the height of the pandemic and will be entering the short-term rental property (Airbnb) industry while earning my MBA in Pittsburgh.

Undergraduate School and Major: Prairie View A&M University, Major – Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Accenture Consulting – Management Consultant Manager

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? I knew I wanted to use my MBA to pivot into the Product Management (PM) function and Carnegie Mellon is unique in that they offer career tracks such as ‘Technology Strategy & Product Management’ that directly align with my career goals. PM as a role is still evolving, as such, the definition, and responsibilities of an individual in that position can vary by industry, company, and the MBA program. Tepper’s depiction of a PM, along with the faculty and elective courses available far exceeded my expectations. I am optimistic that with an MBA from Tepper I will be prepared to tackle real business problems with confidence.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Carnegie Mellon? I’m excited to get involved with the Black Business Association (BBA). The BBA is dedicated to academic, professional, and personal development. As a member, I can volunteer for community service events, serving the Pittsburgh community. I look forward to stepping into a leadership role to support DEI efforts in increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minorities.

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? One aspect of the curriculum that really stood out was the involvement with the Accelerate Leadership Center (ALC). Tepper recognizes that self-awareness and reflection are required to be next-generation leaders. Unlike other programs where only select students participate in leadership development, Tepper incorporates the ALC into the core program and all students receive one-on-one leadership coaching tailored to their needs. I would like to clearly understand my leadership style, something that Tepper encourages by having all incoming students complete an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) assessment. From there, I look forward to using my results to define and work on my weaknesses to make me a more well-rounded leader.

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? Using data and analytics to drive decision-making is now an expectation in how to manage businesses. Tepper’s Intelligent Future perspective will further drive this practice by incorporating emotional intelligence and creating a much-needed balance of data and diverse perspectives. Thus far in my career, I’ve led cross-functional teams at the integration of business and technology to define client solutions. As a consultant, bringing human centricity into the fold of data and analytics was critical in communicating expectations effectively to engineers and stakeholders alike.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Driven by my ability to solve client problems, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and mentor incoming analysts, my biggest career accomplishment thus far was my promotion to Consulting Manager at Accenture.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? During my application process. I listened to various MBA podcasts such as, ‘MBA Ladies’, ‘MBA Insider’, and ‘B-Schooled’ – just to name a few. It was easy to incorporate a few episodes into my daily routine while completing mundane tasks. I enjoyed hearing different perspectives as well as tips and tricks on MBA-related topics.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program? All applicants should take time to evaluate their ‘why’. Why an MBA? Why Now? In answering these and other ‘why’ questions, each applicant can define the experience and skills they are looking to gain in an MBA program. It’s easy to get overwhelmed learning about different schools and their offerings, so I recommend all applicants use their tailored responses as a north star to assess each school’s values and curriculum. This pairing will ultimately make it easier to evaluate which schools may be a better fit.

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