Real Humans of Carnegie Mellon Tepper’s MBA Class of 2021
Marlo Abramowitz, Tepper MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Flagstaff, Arizona
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Northern Arizona University, Civil Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 Years, Civil Engineering
Why business school? Why now?
An MBA has always been on my radar both for career development and for personal growth. I plan to build on my technical background to better understand businesses while strengthening my analytical and leadership skills. Ultimately, timing with other things in life made this the ideal time to pursue an MBA.
Delaying until now provided me an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a technical engineering field, while also being able to pursue exposure to business development, marketing, project management and operations. These firsthand experiences with other functions of an engineering firm solidified my desire to get my MBA and leverage the degree to help businesses at a higher level.
Why Tepper? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
After my visit to Tepper during the Diversity Weekend event, I already felt like a part of the Tepper family and I hadn’t even interviewed yet. All of the current students were extremely involved in the weekend and made a genuine effort help me understand the program.
While searching for programs, I found there were many schools that would provide a robust MBA degree, but the key to finding the one where I would be successful and develop into the business leader I hoped to be was meeting the students, staff, faculty and alumni to get a holistic look at the program.
What stood out the most is Tepper’s focus on preparing students to be at the intersection of business, technology, and analytics all while focusing on developing in the future. The school is constantly thinking about the future and how to better prepare students to thrive in tomorrow’s business world. The constantly changing business landscape is in the forefront at Tepper and I knew that I would be fully prepared to launch my career after graduating.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
My most valuable contribution to the Class of 2021 is my passion for career development and connecting people on a human level. I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects related to this within my companies as well as within professional organizations at the local and national level.
In my favorite project, I developed a monthly coffee-chat connection program to randomly match up colleagues across the organization, which helped break down artificial barriers to collaboration and promote a sense of connectedness. I’m excited to share this passion and my experiences with my classmates to help foster interpersonal connections and to contribute to our interdependent career development.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I grew up an hour from the Grand Canyon. I have hiked to the bottom 5 times and spent 16 days rafting on the Colorado River (at the bottom of the Canyon). The first time I hiked the Canyon I was 7 years old and the only way I would keep hiking was if my parents kept my fanny-pack full of candy and let me sing camp songs the entire way.
Post-MBA career interests?
I’m looking to leverage my background in engineering and connecting with clients to pivot my career into the technology industry. I’m passionate about making an impact and leaving a positive mark on the way people live their lives while connecting with customers. The fast-paced innovative nature of tech energizes me to get involved and accelerate my career.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Absolutely visit the schools. What you read online is valuable, but it is not enough to fully understand the culture of the program. Once you start your MBA program, you’ll be spending a significant majority of your time with your classmates. Make sure you’re a part of a group that you’ll thrive in. In addition, getting to know the staff and faculty who support you as a student makes a big difference. The in-person interactions before you make your decision to attend is key.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started earlier on the process. I rushed myself when putting together my application and I wish I could have spent more time on the process. In the end, it worked out and I could not be happier where I am!
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
In an ideal world, I would have skipped the GMAT. That was the most time-consuming part of the application process. What got me through it was knowing that once I had it completed, I could work on the applications and that meant I was even closer to pursuing my dreams.
What is your initial impression of Tepper’s students/culture/community?
All of the students are down-to-earth. Everyone I have met has been extremely easy to connect with, open, and honest. No one has tried to one-up anyone else or flaunt their previous successes. They are coming with an inspiring curiosity to learn more about their classmates and to start this adventure as a team.
One thing you have learned about Tepper that has surprised you?
During the application cycle, MBA programs seem like a sort of magical place that you only wish you could be a part of. After just the first week at Tepper, I realized that everyone here is just another human being and I really do belong here!
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Being able to balance my time appropriately. I am really excited to be fully engaged in all facets of the program, including classes, clubs, and giving back, but that comes with a very full schedule. They have told us that we will come out of this with a “Ph.D. in time management,” so I am looking forward to having a better handle of it all.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most looking forward to participating in the Tepper Women in Business Club. Previously, I was a female civil engineer in a field that women make up less than fifteen percent of the workforce. More often than not, I was the only woman engineer in the room or on the design team, which inspired me to participate in organizations that help women thrive in engineering. I found particular personal and professional growth through involvement in organizations that promote women in the industry. I’m excited to be a part of the club here at Tepper and to foster an inclusive community.