Meet Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s MBA Class Of 2025

Academic rigor. Teaching excellence. Intensive support. Cutting edge facilities.

That’s the Tepper difference: a program focused less on what’s happened and more on what’s next. STEM-focused ad evidence-based, the Tepper MBA sits at the intersection of technology, analytics, leadership, and commerce. At its heart, Tepper nurtures a spirit that fuses the technical thinking and soft skills that together spur change. Even more, Tepper has emerged as the center of a top university in the middle of a growing tech hub.

THE ”INTELLIGENT FUTURE”

Interior of Tech Quad

Forward-thinking and data-driven. Innovative and interdisciplinary. Hands-on learning supplemented by multidisciplinary programming. The Tepper program has it all. Among its differentiating features is ongoing coaching through the Accelerate Leadership Center (or ALC for short). Each year, Tepper MBAs complete over 2,000 one-on-one professional coaching sessions. Call it a “firehose of feedback”, in the words of ’23 alum Rebecca Bearse – two years of self-discovery and practice so graduates possess the self-awareness and interpersonal skills to connect at every level: c-suite, peers, reports, clients, and outside stakeholders.

Indeed, the Tepper MBA seeks to build an “intelligent future” – one designed to enhance students’ emotional quotient to complement their complement their technical prowess. That means an emphasis on personal development, communication, teamwork, and empathy. In the ALC, for example, MBAs can complete workshops on topics ranging from giving and taking feedback to coping with failure and moving beyond perfectionism. That doesn’t count the Tepper Masters Career Center – ranked 8th in the world by The Financial Times – which features wide-ranging functional and industry expertise, deep connections to leading and emerging employers, and an enviable portfolio of training and coaching services. Combined, the ALC and Career Center provide the staggering number of opportunities for students to build on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses, to boost their potential and recognize the possibilities around them.

This combination of holistic programming and all-out support appealed to incoming students like Keyon C. Powell, a senior consultant at Deloitte. “One of the many reasons I fell in love with the Tepper MBA program is its intense focus on one-on-one coaching, specifically through the Accelerate Leadership Center (ALC). Having the opportunity to work with full-time coaches through a personalized approach to developing my executive presence through communication is a focus area I’d like to strengthen to be a generational leader for my organization.”

AN ACCOMPLISHED CLASS

Powell isn’t alone among an accomplished class seeking to sharpen their listening and problem-solving skills. At Shell, Taylor Blanchard developed several marketing programs from start-to-finish. A first-generation student who grew up homeschooled, Emily Torrealba moved from design engineer to project manager before joining the Tepper Class of 2025. At the same time, the class features an award-winning architect, Ruben Antonio Quesada.

“In 2020, I was awarded the John Wiebenson Award by the American Institute of Architects and the Washington Architecture Foundation,” he tells P&Q. “This honor recognizes architects who have made a significant impact on the Washington DC community through their work in the public interest. Over the past seven years, I dedicated myself to supporting small philanthropies in the DC community, fundraising for organizations such as So Others Might Eat, aiding the homeless, and Liberty’s Promise, and assisting immigrant students in acclimating to American society and excelling academically. While I take pride in the buildings and projects I’ve worked on, what truly brings me the greatest sense of fulfillment is knowing that I’ve made a positive difference in my community.”

Military veterans account for 8% of the Class of 2025. That includes Jack Martin, who majored in operations research at West Point and served as an infantry officer n the U.S. Army. He is joined by Maressa Guynn, a U.S. Naval Academy grad who rose to being a deputy director of operations b before becoming a program manager and naval science instructor at the University of Texas.

“One of the most unforgettable moments in my life was during my tenure at VAW-116,” she tells P&Q. “I achieved the designation of Mission Commander and commenced overseeing Large Force Exercises. Managing over 20 airplanes operating in confined airspace was undeniably stressful. Still, it proved to be an incredibly fulfilling and gratifying experience that I will always cherish and be thankful for.”

Outside the classroom, Emily Torrealba teaches yoga classes at Tepper and Keyon C. Powell is busy working towards his private pilot certification. Paul L. Grech, a program manager at Bloomberg, has cliff jumped in three different continents, while Caroline Campbell brought her husband along with her to the MBA program. And how is this for a cool story?

“I worked at NASA during an undergraduate internship supporting International Space Station living support systems,” writes Tatiana Imler. “It was an unforgettable experience!”

MBA students gathered for a meeting

A CLASS PROFILE

By the numbers, the Class of 2025 boasts 171 students, down from the 198 MBAs it enrolled the year before. As a whole, 53% of the class hails from 24 countries, including Kenya, Kuwait, Singapore, and Uruguay. Among the American cohort, the Mid-Atlantic comprises 30% of the segment, followed by the Northeast (21%), Midwest (18%), West Coast (16%), Southwest (8%), and South (7%). At the same time, 49% of the American cohort features minorities, 26% of whom are underrepresented minorities. Women make up 36% of the class, a 5% bump over the previous year. The LGBT community account for another 8% of the class.

On average, the class scored a 705 GMAT, up three points from 2021-2022. The class also brings a 324 average GRE and a 3.26 undergraduate GPA. This year, the class is, on average, 29 years-old, with ages ranging from 25-35 in the mid-80s range. In addition, the class brings 5.8 years of average work experience.

The largest percentage of the class – 21% — last worked in Hospitality and Tourism. The class also includes sizable shares of students who held positions in Technology and New Media (20%), Financial Services (18%), Consulting (15%), Consumer Products and Retail (9%), Manufacturing (7%), and Healthcare (5%). As undergraduates, nearly half of the class majored in STEM-related fields, including Engineering (42%) and Math and Physical Sciences (6%). Business (24%) and Economics (8%) majors hold nearly a third of the class seats. The remainder of the class is divided up between Social Sciences (6%) and Arts and Humanities (5%).

Tepper School of Business

THE CRADLE OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCE

Over the past year, the Tepper MBA has seen upticks in several key indicators. In this fall’s Bloomberg Businessweek ranking, the school rose from 25th to 18th. In a student survey released by The Princeton Review in February, Tepper earned the 6th- and 7th-highest marks for its Professors and Campus Environment respectively, along with placing 5th for its Management curriculum. Among business school deans and MBA directors surveyed by U.S. News last winter, the Tepper MBA ranked 1st for Production and Operations – and Top 3 for Supply Chain Business Analytics, and Project Management. And that doesn’t count Tepper boasting a Top 5 Online MBA program or enjoying increased pay and placement for its 2022 grads.

At Tepper, you’ll often hear that the school invented management science. By that, the school means that it adopted a data-oriented and research-based approach, grounded heavily in applied mathematics and economics. In management science, problem-solving and decision-making are driven heavily by quantifiable means: analytics, modeling, forecasting, and algorithms. Using these tools to gather and analyze data, managers can identify patterns and probabilities that can show them how to design systemic solutions. In other words, management science evaluates situations using data and process over experience or intuition – or even best practices that may not fully envelop the problem-at-hand.

Tatiana Imler describes Tepper’s approach as “making higher impact decisions and focusing on the right data to use.” Such data provides MBAs with credibility when presenting findings. Even more, it lays the foundation for storytelling that’s both persuasive and memorable. In Maressa Guynn’s experience, these skills will give Tepper MBAs a decided advantage in the marketplace after graduation.

“Data holds a narrative that can significantly impact businesses by providing them with a crucial competitive edge,” Guynn explains. “With a Tepper MBA, employers recognize our proficiency in handling and analyzing data, making us valuable assets to their organizations. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, I successfully utilized data-derived insights to enhance Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps enrollment, emphasizing the power of data-driven decision-making.”

Tepper School of Business

AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP HUB

While that may sound intimidating to ‘poets’, Tepper alumni say MBAs are given plenty of support in quant areas. Christopher Elston, a 2023 P&Q Best & Brightest MBA, notes that first-years complete a math skills workshop during basecamp to “brush up” on calculus basics used in Managerial Economics and Optimization. The Tepper community is equally supportive, adds Rebecca Bearse, a ’23 alum.

“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.”

Tepper’s focus on management science and innovation also place it at the forefront of emerging disciplines reshaping both the sciences and commerce: artificial intelligence, robotics, and analytics. However, there is another area where Tepper excels: Entrepreneurship. Ranked 11th in the world in P&Q’s Entrepreneurship ranking, the program also placed 2nd for startup money per student in 2021-2022 ($4,032) and 3rd for the percentage of entrepreneurship-focused electives (35%). The program is centered around the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, which Ruben Antonio Quesada describes as a “think tank for entrepreneurs, dedicated to testing ideas, and fostering innovative businesses.” Rob Miller, a ’22 alum, launched his startup, ByMe, as an MBA student. His success, he believes, stems from advantages he couldn’t find anywhere else.

Tepper, we have the entrepreneurship track within the MBA program. During my time in this track, I had the opportunity to develop real businesses with my peers, test them in the market, pitch in front of investors, and network across the country. It was the true “out of classroom” experiences that the MBA at Tepper was able to give me that prepared me to dive into the startup space. Tepper, and more broadly Carnegie Mellon, are extremely well prepared to give their students the best opportunity they can to succeed.”

TAPPING INTO THE LARGER UNIVERSITY

The Pittsburgh startup ecosystem doesn’t hurt either, Miller adds. During his initial pilot, Miller notes that he connected with several “influential folks” who helped him connect with “influential folks”, gain access to the food space, and set up partnerships. They even pitched in on operations after launch. Overall, the region boasts over 500 startups worth a combined $35.6 billion dollars according to Startup Genome. As a whole, the region’s top startups cluster in the fields of robotics, life sciences, and SpaceTech. Even more, Pittsburgh ranks 2nd in the United States for producing graduates with information technology degrees. While the ‘City of Bridges’ is known for its affordability, alum Christopher Elston points to another advantage.

“My favorite thing to do is to take the Duquesne Incline up Mount Washington around sunset. You get such beautiful views of the city, bridges, stadiums, and the three rivers converging at Point State Park. Grab a cocktail and dinner at one of the restaurants at the top of the mountain and enjoy the city Lights.”

Carnegie Mellon University itself offers a distinct advantage to Tepper MBAs as well. According to U.S. News, the school ranks as the 2nd-best Computer Sciences program in the United States, best known for Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Game Development, and Software Engineering. At the same time, it is a top ten school for Engineering, Such expertise provides the spark for collaboration and commercialization. That’s one reason the Tepper Quad has become the go-to spot for undergraduate and graduate students to coalesce. In true Tepper interdisciplinary style, MBAs can take several electives outside the business school – something that alumni like Tyler Knittel urges the Class of 2025 to do.

“CMU is a hub for some of the brightest minds in the world. We have the #1 ranked CS program, #3 Drama school, and so much more. All of these courses are available to us to take as part of our program. It can be easy to just stay within Tepper and take all of the courses with your graduating class. However, I think it is good to put yourself in uncomfortable situations in life and I wish I would have done that more with my course work.”

Next Page: Profiles of 9 members of the Class of 2025 and an interview with assistant dean C. Tad Brinkerhoff.

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