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Real Humans of Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s MBA Class of 2020

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Seoweon Yoo, Tepper MBA Class of 2020

Seoweon Yoo, Tepper MBA Class of 2020

Age: 28
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Korea University, English Literature & Business Administration

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
Twinword (April 2018 – July 2018, Korean tech startup), Business Technology Manager (This was a temporary job for 3 months to experience a tech startup).

Reddal (August 2014 – April 2018, a Helsinki-based professional services firm), Business Developer

Why business school? Why now?
Learning how technology and advanced analytics can improve business processes dramatically, I wanted to advance my quantitative skills to the next level to be able to create that change for businesses. Pursuing an MBA at a quantitatively focused school like Carnegie Mellon was the natural next step for where I wanted my career to go.

Why Tepper? What factors figured most prominently into your decision to where to attend?
My criteria for selecting schools was a curriculum focused on hard business analytics skills, and a relatively small class size. As for the curriculum, I wanted to throw myself in the deep end and learn the quantitative skills I didn’t have a chance to learn during university, or on the job. In addition, I wanted to dip my toes in computer science since I am also interested in programming and building automation tools for operations. The option to attend courses from different departments other than the business school was a big attraction point for Carnegie Mellon, since their computer science school is one of the best.

A relatively small class size was also important for me, since I wanted to be part of a tight-knit community of classmates that would support each other rather than compete for limited opportunities. The staff-to-student ratio was also important, especially as an international student that may have more administrative assistance needed in the recruitment process.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
I have a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, and self-learned programming to use it on-the-job as a consultant. Coming into a program populated with business and liberal arts folks, as well as engineers, I can bring the translation skills needed for these two groups to understand each other and work together.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love making 3D models with Sketchup – I have models of my dream house/interior layout, as well as product ideas such as a better model for a cell phone stand in my collection.

Post-MBA career interests?
I wish to get a job at a tech company in an operations role. Current dream job is Amazon’s Senior Program Manager. I am also interested in going back into consulting, with a focus on operations.

Advice to current prospective applicants?
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Reach out to admissions officers and foster a relationship early on. Coming from Korea, where networking is less emphasized, it was nerve-racking at first to reach out to the admissions officer and ask for advice.

But I knew that personal interactions with admissions officers would be crucial since, as an international student, it is rare to have an opportunity to interact face-to-face with a school representative. Maintaining a continuous relationship through emails with Meg throughout my admissions process was valuable in getting a good understanding of the school and gauging whether I would fit in there.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would cold-email current students and alumni to learn more about the school before applying and accepting an offer. Surprisingly, current and graduating students who have provided their contact information on the school homepage are open to receiving cold-emails from prospective students.

Also, they are much more willing to take time out of their time to reply to emails, connect you with more relevant people, and even take a call to make a more professional connection with you. I did not reach out first to Tepper students during my application process, but would have gotten a much better understanding about the program and life in Pittsburgh if I did.

–Part you would have skipped if you could – and what helped you get through it?
Going through an existential crisis while writing essays. I went through an emotional roller coaster while writing admissions essays. Answering the basic question of “who are you” put me through thoughts ranging from “I’m a high-achieving, strong, powerful person” to “I’m a worthless human being.”

What I realized later on was that admissions essays aren’t about personal discovery, but rather a tool to understand how the puzzle pieces of your resume fit together. Admissions officers are looking to understand how an MBA program will benefit you, and how you will benefit the school and community.

What is your initial impression of Tepper’s students/culture/community?
Genuine and always ready to help! I imagined an MBA environment to be cut-throat and competitive but was surprised to find that current and incoming students are all ready to just roll their sleeves up and help each other out.

One thing you have learned about Tepper that has surprised you?
The tight-knit community of Tepper that continues even stronger after graduation. 93% of the 2017 graduating class followed a long-standing tradition and gave back to the school for future growth of the program and students. These funds were used for building our new building, the Tepper Quad. The new building is a shining recognition of the school’s community that cares for future generations to come.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Recruiting. I initially thought the hard part was over when I got admitted to Tepper. Now I am realizing there are more challenges to come in recruiting for a summer internship position as well as a full time job afterwards. It’s applications and interview cycles all over again.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning from our brilliant faculty, as well as my fellow classmates that come from diverse backgrounds excites me.

Clear Admit Resources
As you work on your Carnegie Mellon MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s CMU / Tepper offerings:

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.