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Carnegie Mellon / Tepper Essay Topic Analysis 2023-2024

The following essay topic analysis examines Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business (Tepper) MBA admissions essays for the 2022-2023 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all of the other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper Essay Topic Analysis 2022-2023

Let’s take a closer look at each prompt.

Required Essay

The Tepper community is dynamic and unique with students who strive to be collaborative, supportive and inclusive. Please provide an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the community reach their full potential. (Maximum 500 words)
This is a chance to tell the adcom who you are, and to provide insight into one’s personal and professional maturity and collaborative nature over the course of a narrative. An effective approach might be to create context about the environment–whether you experience or created it, establish the who, what, where, when and why of the situation in a few sentences. Then, explain your actions whether engaging in the situation and facilitating the inclusive nature of the situation, or detailing how you created an inclusive environment. You may then consider concluding the example with lessons learned and insights gained. These lessons/themes should then be carried through to the next section of the essay–how you will contribute to Tepper.

The adcom also wants to know that you’ll be supportive, inclusive and collaborative while on campus at Tepper and be a good addition to the student community. Applicants should aim to connect their history with potential future contributions to Tepper. Whether you choose to draw on your professional, personal or academic life, it’s important to create context before connecting to how you would contribute to Tepper. As you approach the contributions, specifically, think about how you can translate your experience and related lessons into involvement on the CMU campus. Creating a link between your past and your potential future at the program will enable you to present a consistent and clear picture of your candidacy, as well as your professional and personal interests. The more information you can provide about how exactly you would contribute (playing a certain role in organizing a particular annual event, for example), the more reason you’ll give the adcom to admit you.

Video Essay

We know this is an important component of your decision to attend business school. We take it seriously as well. Please describe your post-MBA career goals.

It would be helpful to consider the following information in your response:

  • You have up to 2 minutes to respond to this question.
  • Please be as specific as possible. If you have not yet identified specific companies, that is okay. Just tell us what interests you for your next role or company. What about the industry, company, or functional role is appealing to you?
  • If you have any criteria you are using to evaluate career opportunities, please share those as well. We may have great opportunities to add to your list.
  • How does this post-MBA career goal relate to your long-term career plan?

CMU Tepper has taken a standard career goals essay and requested that applicants deliver this information via video. In light of the format, be sure to review our tips on Video Essays. In regards to the content itself, follow Tepper’s directions in presenting your plans. They want to know your immediate post-MBA goal, in as specific terms as you can provide. You can then share the thinking/motivation/decision making behind your plans, as they request the related criteria. Finally, wrap up by explaining how your short-term plans are a bridge to your long-term goals. You will likely not have enough time to dig into as much detail for your long-term goals, so just try to leave the adcom with a sense of the impact you hope to have in the long term. You may be able to speak 200-250 words in the allotted two minutes, so keep that limit in mind when drafting a “script.”

Optional Essay

Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.
While there is no set word limit for this essay, it would be wise to keep this under 500 words, given the length of the required essay. Optional materials also create more work for the reader, so it’s important to keep that in consideration while being concise in one’s explanations.

For first-time applicants, this optional essay should be reserved for addressing potential liabilities in one’s application. Such discussions should be direct and to the point, providing an explanation and pointing to mitigating factors without being defensive or making excuses. This essay is optional, so should not be used if there are no issues to explain.

Meanwhile, reapplicants should detail the steps they have taken to become a stronger applicant and learn more about the Tepper MBA program since their last application. Candidates in this situation should comment on how they have spent the past year, taking particular care to highlight improved quantitative records, new professional skills and responsibilities, progress toward their ultimate career goals, and/or increased community involvement.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Tepper essay topics! As you work on your Carnegie Mellon MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s CMU / Tepper offerings: