2023 MBA To Watch: Rebecca Bearse, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

Rebecca Bearse

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

 “Aspiring HR leader passionate about inclusion, people analytics and people development.”

Hometown: Alpine, Utah

Fun fact about yourself: I love making Neapolitan pizza and homemade ice cream. It makes for a great Friday night in!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University, International Relations major

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Qualtrics, Diversity and Inclusion Recruiting Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Intel, Remote

Where will you be working after graduation? Intel, HR Business Partner

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: McGowan Scholar, VP of Professional Development Organizational Leadership Club, Head of People Strategy Carnegie Autonomous Racing

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
I’m proud have been selected as the McGowan scholar from the Tepper School of Business. When I heard about the opportunity, I applied because I was driven by the mission of the fund to create ethical business leaders. I fought back my own self-doubts and thought I would apply, even though I wasn’t sure I would meet the expectations of my school or the fund. When I was selected, it was one of my proudest moments. Since becoming a fellow, I have come to find that the other McGowan Fellows are a group of outstanding leaders. I am so privileged to have the chance to know them and to work together to make an impact for social good during our second year.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I stood up the first DEI-Focused team at the company. I was a recruiting manager at the time and was tasked with creating a more diverse interview pool and equitable interview experience for candidates. This task aligned strongly with my own values of inclusive and safe workplaces, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to improve DEI at an organizational level. From my work in that role, I am most proud of the changes I made that created transparency around the diversity of talent pipelines, best practices for managers to implement to improve the inclusiveness of their teams, and the partnerships I created with organizations dedicated to supporting and developing underrepresented groups in the tech sector.

Why did you choose this business school? I knew coming to Business School that I wanted to remain in the HR space. My long-term goal is to become the Chief People Officer for a growing tech company so I can help shape the culture to focus on inclusiveness, equity and diversity from the earliest stages. To achieve this goal, I knew I needed to strengthen my data analytics muscles and stay deeply connected to the tech community. Tepper is known for its analytical depth and its footprint on companies in the tech space. For these reasons, I chose to attend Tepper.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Laurence Ales – he teaches Global Econ and Technology and the Future of Work at Tepper. He teaches in a way that is meaningful to me, that I remember and that is always filled with energy, even at 8 am. I feel that he truly cares about his students and that they remember what he teaches us.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Technology and the Future of Work – This class was so interesting because it focused on some of the most bleeding edge research about what AI and other technological advancements might mean for the labor economy. It’s like a myth busting class about why AI isn’t necessarily taking over all our jobs with all the data and theory to prove it!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I enjoyed having the Accelerate Leadership Center (ALC) and Coaches available for the support of students as they progress. Getting your MBA is like turning on a firehose of feedback for two years and the coaches are there to help you sift through it all. The ALC program also provides workshops for students to attend and improve their leadership and development skills. These workshops and the focus on coaches reflect the intention Tepper has towards providing resources for students to make a successful transition from school back to the workplace.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I would not have worried so much about the opportunities everyone else was telling me I should do. The hardest part about starting my first year was being overwhelmed by all the opportunities like clubs to join, people to meet, classes to take, networking to do, and events to attend. Even though I came to school with a clear focus of what job I was interested in next, there were several times that I questioned if I really knew what I wanted.

I am an advocate for trying new things and exploring different career possibilities and I did a little of that as well. However, at the end of the day I wish I would have told myself to have more confidence in myself and my original plan. Once I found that confidence and surety of what I wanted to do, the opportunities to specialize and really dig deeper in the HR space became more apparent. Building confidence takes time but I wish I realized that I had that confidence in me all along.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Tepper is known for being very quant heavy and analytically-focused. I was nervous I wouldn’t be accepted because I didn’t have a heavy quantitative background. I’m here as proof that you don’t have to have a degree in engineering or CS to get into Tepper. There was support for me from my classmates, professors and refresher courses that caught me right up to speed after not having picked up a math book in over 6 years. The biggest myth about Tepper is that you don’t have to be a math genius to do well at this school.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I enjoy that Pittsburgh loves putting fries on everything, even salads! French fries are one of my favorite foods and so I am happy to find them on almost any menu in this city.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by how many students were planning on pivoting their careers into something totally different after graduation. I had an preconceived notion that you went to business school to further specialize in what you had previously done in your career. It has been really impressive to see my classmates move into totally different jobs, industries, or career paths. This was actually a relief to me, because it meant we were all learning new things together. No one was going to business school for a “refresher course”; each classmate had different experiences and we leveraged all of our backgrounds and experiences to help each other learn through our time at school.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? My background in human resources and my time as a people manager set me apart. I’m one of the only students that has a significant portion of my career in HR. I think my focus on people, both management and strategy, set me apart from the other. While more common, parts of business – like maximizing profits and driving decisions with data – are important, you can never neglect the people part too!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Cole Mysinger – They have been a great leader, friend, group member, advisor, and sounding board throughout the last two years. Cole is an example to me of how to live your values during challenges and adversity. Cole has also shown deep compassion, patience and activism for me and our fellow classmates.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1. Become the Chief people officer of a growing tech company to shape a culture of safety and inclusion.

2. Create an evidence-based solution for reducing bias and improving interviewer calibration for technical and behavioral interview for tech companies (large and small) to benefit from when interviewing and selecting candidates to hire.

What made Rebecca such an invaluable member of the Class of 2023?

“Rebecca has made her mark at the Tepper School by being a voice of both curiosity and compassion.

She joined the program looking to focus on HR and the impact of DEI&B within the workforce as well as improve her analytical skills.  Tepper was a perfect fit for Rebecca, and she excelled in the classroom completing concentrations in Communications and Organization behavior and completing her Leadership Certification through our Leadership center. But she also found an opportunity to apply her background and training as the People Strategy Officer for the Carnegie Mellon Automatous Racing organization.

As the Tepper Schools’ representative to the McGowan Fellows, Rebeca was selected from a very competitive set of her classmates, and she has distinguished herself through the program.  Rebecca has also given back to the school by being a Teaching Assistant for an Undergraduate class in Org. Behavior and be a student voice on the section committees for the Executive Director of Admission and the Executive Director of the Accelerate Leadership Center.”

Wendy S. Hermann
Executive Director, Student Services
Master’s Programs
Tepper School of Business


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