Tuesday Tips: Carnegie Mellon MBA Essay Tips

The Carnegie Mellon MBA program is a welcoming environment with a diverse community of students.  Carnegie Mellon MBA admissions also demonstrates transparency in the process, and even provides a new tip each month for applicants.  The resources available though admissions are invaluable as you prepare your application strategy and approach for Tepper.

1. What are your short term and long term goals? How will a Carnegie Mellon MBA help you achieve these goals? (Please include any information regarding what steps you have taken to learn more about Tepper.) (two-page limit)

Tepper allows plenty of space for you to answer this standard career goals essay. As you would approach the same question for Wharton, Columbia or Kellogg, start by brainstorming your long-term goal, the short-term goal that will lead you there, and the MBA that will provide the bridge between your past experiences and your career vision. You will want to demonstrate that you have thought about your goals and done any necessary research to understand the steps to accomplish them.

In addition, Tepper asks you to describe how you have learned about the Carnegie Mellon MBA. This section of the question clearly asks for your level of engagement and interest in the school, and it will be worth citing specific steps you have taken to learn about the program. Personal interaction with members of the Carnegie Mellon MBA community will be especially impressive, though certainly demonstrating familiarity through research and understanding the program will be helpful as well.

2. Describe an instance in which you made an impact as part of a team or as an individual. How did this experience help shape you as a team member or leader and how will it enable you to contribute to the diverse Carnegie Mellon MBA community? (two-page limit)

This question seeks to understand your leadership style, and allows you two options to demonstrate your own personal leadership approach. You may choose an example that is team focused, or focus on an individual accomplishment that demonstrates leadership.

To be most effective in this essay, make sure you answer all three parts: the situation, how the situation changed you, and how you will contribute to the Carnegie Mellon MBA program. You will want to describe the situation succinctly and specifically. Provide examples and demonstrate how you are a strong leader or team member. Then you will discuss what you learned from the situation and how you have applied your learnings to subsequent experiences, therefore shaping your overall leadership style. Finally, you will want to demonstrate how this experience will benefit Tepper.

3. Please answer two of the following three questions or statements: (two-page limit)

A. Describe an obstacle you have faced in your professional or academic life. How did you overcome this obstacle and how did it foster your development?

Overcoming obstacles successfully is a great way to demonstrate persistence, a positive attitude, and the ability to learn from challenging situations. When discussing the situation, make sure you were able to learn from the situation and preferably turn it around to end up with an ultimately positive outcome. If you could not turnaround the specific situation, how did you apply what you learned to new situations, to make them ultimately successful? You will also need to address your development as a professional or student, and how this challenging situation taught you something about yourself or was an opportunity to mature as a person.

B. Describe a time in which your ethics were challenged. How did you deal with the situation and what did you learn from it?

Ethical dilemma situations are one way for the admissions committee to understand your unique moral filter and how you deal with challenging situations. Choose your ethical dilemma carefully to make sure it is not a situation with a clear cut answer, leading to little ability to learn. Ethical dilemma’s can be tricky for applicants, and are the sort of question you will want to seek several readers to comment upon, to ensure you appear to be honest and mature in the example.

C. One thing people would be surprised to know about me is”¦

This question is entirely open ended, providing an excellent opportunity for you to put in anything you have not been able to communicate to adcomm in the various other essays. This type of question is perfectly suited for personal topics, and could be the perfect opportunity to reveal an interesting or diverse fact about yourself. Be sure to explain the surprising attribute and comment upon why people would be surprised to know it about you.

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