Meet Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s MBA Class Of 2024

Practice, Practice, Practice.

That’s the secret behind leadership. Forget natural talent, leadership is a reflex – a carefully-honed muscle memory that prepares you to react under pressure. That comes with training – repetition really – a deliberate mix of exercises and reflections that solidify a leadership style. These days, stakeholders are always watching and measuring their leaders. Your skills may enable you to land the title. Ultimately, it is your leadership that determines how effective you are with these stakeholders.

Cutting edge skills and compelling leadership abilities – that’s the difference at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Think of it as a deep immersion into data science, machine learning, AI, and emerging technologies, which is coupled with the fundamentals of listening, persuasion, ethics, and problem-solving. For the latter, Tepper offers the Accelerate Leadership Center – a mix of intensive one-on-one coaching, skill-based workshops, and personal assessments designed to help MBAs develop personalized growth plans that last long beyond graduation. A feedback-infused and activities-oriented program, the Accelerate Leadership Center (ALC) was a marquee attraction for Tepper’s MBA Class of 2024.


“Tepper recognizes that self-awareness and reflection are required to be next-generation leaders,” observes Imani Coney, previously a management consultant manager at Accenture. “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.”

If soft skill development is Tepper’s yin, then analytical depth and rigor are the program’s yang. The MBA program is driven by data, where the fundamentals of analytics and economics form the basis for management decision-making. Call it a scientific approach, one that focuses heavily on digging deep to identify the real issues and using the right frameworks to produce the right evidence. Like Tepper’s focus on harnessing soft skills, the MBA program applies this scientific method across the curriculum. In the process, it becomes second nature to students like Tyler White – a career changer who is moving from teaching in the Tulsa Schools to hopefully entering the tech space.

“Tepper’s focus on teaching students how to leverage data and technology to make smart business decisions really stood out to me,” White tells P&Q. “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).”

MBA student team meeting. Photo Credit:


Indeed, Carnegie Mellon is associated with technological excellence. U.S. News & World Report, for example, ranks the university among the top programs in different engineering disciplines. At the undergraduate level, Tepper is a Top 5 program. That includes being the top school for Quantitative Analysis and Management Information Systems (and #2 for Analytics). In other words, MBAs can tap into a wide array of resources across its Pittsburgh campus. That said, Carnegie Mellon also boasts a vibrant liberal arts culture. Sure, Carnegie Mellon may count the founders of Sun Microsystems and Adobe Systems and the inventor of Java on its alumni roll, but you’ll also find Zachary Quinto (Spock from Star Trek), Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr from Hamilton), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked Composer), and Andy Warhol (Artist) among its graduates. Not surprisingly, Carnegie Mellon has a reputation for innovation and teaching excellence as much as much as being a haven for quants and artists.

That’s one reason why career changers thrive at the Tepper School. Shravya Amarnath, a 2022 MBA grad, credits a supportive faculty who “do not hesitate to mentor students.” In fact, the program is designed specifically to build math and analytical skills “from the ground up” – with a math basics workshop available for anyone who requires additional review. Amarnath’s classmate, Hensley Sejour, echoes her sentiments that MBAs don’t need to be engineers or analysts to thrive in the program.

“The professors start from a basic level, so everyone moves along at a common pace. If you do struggle there are plenty of opportunities with tutors, study groups, and office hours to help you along the way. Our class is full of non-engineers who performed extremely well in the program. That being said, I did lean into the strong design and computer science reputation of Carnegie Mellon as a whole. I took advantage of classes in CMU’s School of Design and Human & Computer Interaction department to prepare myself for my role in the technology industry.”


That’s just one path that the Class of 2024 could take during their time in Pittsburgh. In fact, Shravya Aranath, who seemingly left no student unturned as a Tepper MBA, could act as the blueprint for Tepper first-years. “As a person of many interests, I was quite surprised by the diverse and abundant opportunities that are available at Tepper for students to explore different interests and career paths, she tells P&Q. “I learned and honed my leadership style with Tepper’s 1-1 accelerate leadership coaching and put these learnings to practice with club leadership roles. I thoroughly enjoyed my engagement with CMU Swartz Center, which let me deploy my prior startup experiences and business knowledge gained through the courses to work on high-priority strategic projects at global companies. I also dabbled with pro-bono consulting to put my newfound skills and knowledge to good use and give back to the larger nonprofit community. I built a strong network of supportive peers, faculty, and staff with these various roles and activities. I have truly seen myself grow personally and professionally over the last two years and I would not have it any other way!”

That’s where the Class of 2024 is going…but where have they been? Toluwa Jobi, for one, is a globe-trotting account executive who has already visited 6 out of the 7 continents. In contrast, John Kim Song is a project planner and father who grew in Chile. Hence, he jokes, Spanish is his native language even though he is ethnically Korean. When it comes to leadership background, Jaime Hernandez offers an impressive resume. A fisherman in his spare time, Hernandez has served as a “Signal Platoon Leader, a Signal, Intelligence, and Sustainment Company Executive Officer, and a Division Planning Officer with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum.” However, his experience with leadership with a more nuanced lens.

“Success in each position relied on my ability to solve complex problems while influencing people without authority over them. I constantly faced new challenges and am grateful that I understood how to create relationships which helped me solve problems. I truly believe I received awards and was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility because of my willingness to understand the people and how I could leverage resources and knowledge to accomplish difficult tasks.”

As a teacher, Tyler White approached leadership differently than Hernandez. Rather than acting as an influencer, White played the role of a servant – always seeking ways to bring out the best in his students in whatever context they needed support. “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.”

Interior of the Tepper Quad


True to form, some of the Class of 2024’s biggest achievements involve data. Before Tepper, Leonardo Hernandez Sanchez worked as a data analyst. Recognizing that the right “arrangement” and “interpretation” of data was key, she used it to uncover a new business opportunity – a syringe that could hold two fluids without mixing them. The result? Think a business partnership projected to boost revenue by 300% in three years!”

For John Kim Song, quantitative analysis is “where the world is headed.” He sees its impact every day. That may involve football teams using data to determine probabilities in various game situations or (in Song’s case) applying it to determine the effectiveness of various machine repairs when he worked at General Electric. The same could be said for Imani Coney.

“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.”

That’s just one of the benefits that Liem Kadas expects his Tepper MBA to yield over the long haul. “Technology is advancing, which means data can be found in almost every facet of business,” writes the Sacramento native. “To not utilize data means you are opting out of meaningful insight. To remain competitive, companies must adapt and tap into how data can transform into vivid stories. Tepper’s MBA program emphasizes an intelligent future where students will gain valuable data and technology skills to keep pace with the evolving future. I’ve leveraged this approach by building productivity matrixes that entice colleagues to improve performances by personalizing the metrics, ensuring each colleague is on their own path and timeline.”


By the numbers, this year’s class features 198 students. 31% of the class are women – a 10% improvement from the previous year – with another 16% being underrepresented minorities. The biggest news, however, came from the international ranks. This year, 57% of the class hails from overseas, a 23% jump from the previous year. By the same token, the class averaged a 702 GMAT.

What sets Tepper apart? For one, it is popular among students and administrators alike. The MBA Career Management Center consistently ranks among the ten-best according to recent student and alumni surveys conducted by The Financial Times and The Economist. In a separate student survey from The Princeton Review, Tepper earned Top 10 marks in Teaching, Campus Environment, Management Curriculum, and Resources For Women. In a U.S. News survey of business school deans and directors, the school notched the second-highest marks for its programming in Business Analytics, Information Systems, and Production and Operations (and 6th for Supply Chain).

And that doesn’t count Tepper’s online MBA program ranking 2nd in the world last yearlet alone its move into the accelerated part-time MBA mix. When it comes to Entrepreneurship, Tepper ranks 11th in the world according to P&Q, while also finishing 2nd for financial support per MBA ($4,398). Another 22% of Tepper faculty teach entrepreneurship-oriented courses and 41% of MBAs are involved in entrepreneurship. What’s more, the Tepper Quad has emerged as the center of the Carnegie Mellon campus – both literally and figuratively. Covering over 300,000 square feet, the Tepper Quad was designed to bring the campus’ innovation ecosystem under one roof. And the plan has worked to perfection, with over 2,500 patent filings, licenses, and agreements coming out of the quad since it opened four years ago. On top of that, the Tepper Quad houses the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. Each year, the center accommodates 300 Carnegie Mellon entrepreneurs and provides coursework for 1,200 students across campus.

And let’s not forget Pittsburgh itself, which climbed 10 spots to 13th this year in Startup Genome annual ranking of startup ecosystems. A leader in robotics and life sciences, Pittsburgh’s ecosystem has been pegged at $11.6 billion dollars in value, with the area’s strengths including affordable housing and a high concentration of college-educated tech professionals. In fact, according to Startup Genome, nearly 60% of Pittsburgh’s tech talent hold a degree from a Top 25 university.

Next Page:

A Q&A with Assistant Dean Tad Brinkerhoff

Profiles of 8 Tepper First-Years

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