CMU Tepper 2006 MBA Admissions Chat with Laurie Stewart

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Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 9:59:51 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to's CMU Tepper Admissions Chat.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:00 AM)
I also want to welcome Laurie Stewart, Carnegie Mellon's Director of MBA Admissions; Carolyn Hess Abraham, Associate Director of Admissions; Carolyn Gould, Associate Director of the Career Opportunities Center; and Courtney Freeman, MBA Class of 2006 who have joined us today.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:02 AM)
Thanks for joining all :-) Thank you for inviting us, Linda.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:08 AM)
You're most welcome.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:15 AM)
Here is a Courtney's short bio:

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:22 AM)
My name is Courtney Freeman, and I am a second year MBA student at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon. I am originally from Pittsburgh, although I had not been living in the area prior to school. I have a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis is Food Processing. After graduating from Purdue University in 1998, I went to work as a Food Technologist at the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, MI. In this role, I managed the implementation of new products and product improvements in various domestic and international manufacturing locations. I was in this role for four years prior to transferring to one of Kellogg's cereal manufacturing plants in Lancaster, PA. In my new role, I still managed the implementation of new products; however I supported the manufacturing side of the business. After six years in a technical position, I chose to attend B-school in order to move into operations/supply chain management and eventually general management. My husband was fortunate to obtain a job transfer which has made my lack of income much more bearable. At Tepper, I have pursued a general management track with concentrations in Operations, Finance, Strategy, and OB. This summer, I interned at Johnson & Johnson's Sales and Logistics Company where I led the development of the Consumer Companies' RFID strategy. I have now completed the first of my last four minis while actively looking for my next job. I am very pleased with my decision to come to B-school and particularly the Tepper School of Business. I have been able to develop strong business and quantitative skills within an extremely collaborative environment with many amazing and talented individuals.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:00:36 AM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:02:03 AM)
To start off, let me ask what's new at Tepper?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:03:03 AM)
We have a beautiful fall day and a building full of visitors as our first deadline for applications approaches.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:03:22 AM)
Well--one thing that is still relatively new is our entering MBA class -- we had 160+ terrific new full-timers and more than 100 great part-time students join the program this fall. We've also introduced a new track this fall -- "Technology Leadership" which includes coursework in the School of Computer Science for students interested in expanding their technical base while doing their MBA.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:03:40 AM)
All students are in Week 2 of Mini 2, so classes are very busy at this time. The job search is also in full swing for second years.

Satya (Nov 7, 2005 10:03:48 AM)
I have done my masters at University of Texas at Arlington. Do I have to explicitly request to waive the TOEFL? Any form that I need to fill up or can I just write my own form? I want to apply for the part time MBA at Tepper. I am not a US resident. Do I need to submit the financial affidavit forms and other forms?

Kamal (Nov 7, 2005 10:04:30 AM)
Laurie Stewart: I found out from your website ( that the class size is declining from year to year: 249 in 2004, 236 in 2005 and 151 in 2006. What is the reason of the decline? Does it make the admission more competitive from year to year?

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:04:51 AM)
Courtney, can you tell me the difference between the specialization tracks for MBA and the full time MBA program core curriculum.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:04:51 AM)
Satya, first of all, with your degree, you do not need the TOEFL and no form is required saying that. You only need to send us the financial forms if you are accepted and you choose to attend.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:05:24 AM)
Laurie, could you take a minute to explain how CMU's tracks differ from traditional majors and concentrations?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:05:38 AM)
Sairaman, most students choose the General management Track. This would be your typical MBA. This allows for various concentrations and class choices. The tracks are for individuals who know specifically what they want to do or what industry they will work in. This provides an opportunity for the students to take classes across many disciplines at CMU. It does however limit the elective classes that you can take.

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:06:25 AM)
Carolyn, what are the kind of venture capital firms recruit at Tepper?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:06:27 AM)
Kamal--our Dean and faculty made the decision to reduce our full-time class by a third--the goal is to make best use of resources, faculty, courses, facilities--so our current second year class is 151 and first year is 165. It has made the admission process a little more competitive the last couple of years.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:07:00 AM)
Venture Capital firms generally do not recruit at all -- at Tepper or any other business school. VC is extremely competitive to get into, since they don't need many people, so they tend to do it through networking.

Babak (Nov 7, 2005 10:07:11 AM)
Laurie: Regarding researching the Tepper MBA: What do your recommend to students who cannot visit your school but who want to know exactly what the Tepper MBA stands for and what it is aspiring to stand for, and therefore what drives the adcom in selecting the applicants?

a7mad (Nov 7, 2005 10:07:54 AM)
Laurie, how would you recommend an applicant make up for a bad GPA?

Irena (Nov 7, 2005 10:08:04 AM)
Carolyn Abraham: What are the opportunities for international exposure in business while at Tepper?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:08:06 AM)
Linda--our goal with the tracks it to provide a General Management MBA with concentrations for our students--or for those interested in expanding their studies to other colleges on Carnegie Mellon's campus--to unique depth tracks in areas like Technology Leadership (Computer Science) or Biotech (Mellon College of Science).

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:08:25 AM)
Sairaman, in the tracks, you are also required to take a project course. This is a course with a real world problem that students in the track and others try to solve. The students in the tracks get first pick of the project courses for the particular tracks.

Kamal (Nov 7, 2005 10:08:30 AM)
Can we choose more than one track, for example, General Management and Technology Leaderships?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:09:09 AM)
Irena, First of all, 1/3 of our students are non-US, which means you get wide international exposure on a very personal level, through your classmates. We also have a track called leadership in the global economy and plenty of international professors and speakers.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:09:33 AM)
Babak--one thing that is helpful for candidates that cannot visit is to connect with one of our current students--you can do that through the 'Tepper Talk' section of our website. The admissions office can also help connect you with local alumni in your area--or you could attend one of almost 100 events we are participating in around the world (MBA Fairs, etc.)

amit (Nov 7, 2005 10:10:00 AM)
Laurie: On the basis of statistics provided by the CMU website, it can be seen that there is a trend of the average work experience of admitted students decreasing (from 5.5 years to 4.2 years) and the average GMAT scores increasing (from 657 to 690). Is this a trend you see continuing? Are B-schools (CMU in particular) becoming open to the idea of admitting students with lesser work experience?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:10:25 AM)
Kamal, I'm not sure if you technically can take two tracks. The school generally looks at the track as you are either in a specialty track or the general management track. Depending on the course load that you take, you can get additional concentrations while taking a track, but your schedule may be very full.

claudia (Nov 7, 2005 10:10:29 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Hi from Hanoi, Vietnam. My question - CMU's proportion of women MBA students is a lot lower than every other program on my list. Why do you think it is so low? How does it compare to the proportion of women who apply?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:11:07 AM)
Carolyn Gould, how is recruiting going this year? Are there more companies recruiting on campus this year? More interviews scheduled?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:11:52 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham, do you have study abroad opportunities?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:12:33 AM)
a7mad--regarding GPA--we use a candidates previous academic performance to understand how they might do in our MBA program--but other things can help us with that like GMAT, experience since undergrad, etc. If you're concerned that the GPA is on the low side, you do want to prepare the optional essay to help us understand it. We don't use GPA to make admission decisions--but look at your individual courses, grades, trends, etc.

amit (Nov 7, 2005 10:12:42 AM)
Courtney: Once admitted, can a student change from say Operations Management option to a General Management or any other option?

saurabh (Nov 7, 2005 10:13:49 AM)
Laurie: I have done my undergraduate from an English school. Do I need to mention this some where in the application to have the TOEFL waiver?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:14:08 AM)
amit--in the last few years, we have become more receptive to having students with less experience in our MBA program, which has impacted the averages you mentioned.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:14:09 AM)
Linda, recruiting is going well this year. We have not counted the number of companies -- we don't tend to do that during the year, since it changes on an almost daily basis. We do have fewer students this year than previously, and we suspect that more students received offers off their internships, so students are not applying for positions in numbers as large as previous years. The employers are also getting the sense that it will be a more competitive year for them this year.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:14:17 AM)
Claudia, you are introducing a really important topic. We are committed to raising the percentage of women in our program. We recently jointed the Forte Foundation which promotes women in business and top business schools. Through Forte we offer scholarships to talented women and provide programming specifically for women. Check us out at

Satya (Nov 7, 2005 10:14:41 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Wonderful. Thanks for the answers. I am planning to apply by Nov 14th. The decision date is Jan 9th. What is the time allotted for me to accept the offer letter in case I do get accepted?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:14:42 AM)
Amit: When you apply to Tepper you apply to the general MBA program. Once you have completed the first semester of school you can apply into the track programs. If students are accepted into a track it is typically done prior to your second year, although you should consider taking some of the required courses in your first year. This systems lets students to get to school and then determine where their passion lies and then they can choose the best path. Also, once you have chose a "track" you can choose to drop the track, but you cannot change into a different track as it would be difficult to meet the requirements before graduation.

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:15:19 AM)
Laurie: What are the kind of opportunities available at Tepper for a candidate interested in VC?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:15:40 AM)
That's good hiring news. Are any sectors particularly active?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:16:32 AM)
Sahil--academically, both our finance and entrepreneurship programs are key strength areas at the school--I think I saw Carolyn Gould commented from the career opportunities perspective earlier.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:16:37 AM)
Linda, we have a study abroad program for our final mini semester of the second year. Students travel to Germany and Eastern Europe. Topics include emerging economies and students tend to love it.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:17:11 AM)
Courtney: What is the student government concept? Can you share more information on it?

Babak (Nov 7, 2005 10:17:42 AM)
To Carolyn: In Germany, military service is mandatory. However, if one makes a good case against it, he can serve his country by volunteering to do community service instead (13 months). I did that and had a great learning experience. Will you view this community service as a “volunteer” activity?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:17:58 AM)
Satya, we give students about two months to respond, however we can be flexible if students require extra time.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:18:04 AM)
Linda, this year and last year, consulting and financial services have been recruiting heavily.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:19:22 AM)
Carolyn: Based on BusinessWeek data, CMU grads seem to have been widely accepted for consulting roles; can you share some data on percentages of grads in the various tracks employed; my main questions is how do these tracks relate with employers?

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:20:02 AM)
Laurie: In a country like India many students pursue diplomas after finishing their undergrad. This is considered a rung lower than a Masters degree. Yet the application form (academics/education section) does not make allowance for diplomas. Is the Certificate program category considered equivalent to a diploma in the US?

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:20:10 AM)
Sairaman, can you clarify what you are referring to when you say "tracks"? Do you mean Tepper's tracks or type of consulting?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:20:29 AM)
Sairaman: I can definitely help with that one. The Tepper School of Business has a student government that oversees the general affairs of the masters student body. This organization is made up of roughly 15 individuals who support the administration and the students in areas such as Academics, Admissions, Career Opportunities, Community Outreach, and Technology to just name a few. This organization is one of many organizations that students are involved in. Some students choose different paths by being involved in functional or industry clubs, like the Graduate Finance Association, the Consulting Club or the Operations Management Club.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:20:40 AM)
Babak, did you do this community service full time? Sorry, but I'm not sure I understand your question.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:20:52 AM)
Thanx Carolyn, yes... I meant the technology leadership track or entrepreneurship track, etc.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:21:03 AM)
Sahil--many candidates list diplomas there--thank you for bringing it to my attention. We'll take a look if there is an option missing on the online application form.

Babak (Nov 7, 2005 10:21:49 AM)
To Carolyn: Yes, I did the community service full time for 13 months.

mbapro (Nov 7, 2005 10:22:04 AM)
Hello Laurie: CMU is supposed to be one of the most costly MBAs. What kind of financial aid does CMU offer?

bmandel1 (Nov 7, 2005 10:22:24 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Could you please talk about the kind of work experience you are looking for in applicants?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:22:59 AM)
Courtney, what do you like best at CMU? What would you like to see improved?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:23:17 AM)
babak, you can certainly put the community service as a position on your work history and perhaps describe it.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:23:37 AM)
mbapro--all admitted students are reviewed for Scholarship opportunities--our top scholarship is called the 'Dean's Scholarship' which provides full tuition. This year 12 (of 165) first year MBAs are Dean's Scholars. There are also a variety of loan programs--federal and private.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:23:46 AM)
Sairaman, very small numbers of students have done these tracks so far -- small enough generalizations about them are difficult. I would say that clearly, technology leadership would lend itself to technology consulting and management consulting. I don't think those employers would have to be convinced!

tushar (Nov 7, 2005 10:23:50 AM)
Laurie: What is the maximum scholarship amount student can get? What is the criteria for disbursing scholarships/aid?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:24:32 AM)
Linda: There are two key aspects that I truly appreciate from my Tepper education. The first is the community. This is an extremely collaborative environment with what I consider "healthy" competition. We are all here to help each other to succeed while we each further our own careers. The second aspect of the Tepper program that I enjoy is the schools quantitative focus. I have really appreciated having exposure to various numerical methods of analysis that can be applicable to real world problems.

zsmith (Nov 7, 2005 10:24:33 AM)
Carolyn Gould: Are the fulltime, part-time and online programs viewed differently by employers? If so, how?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:25:03 AM)
tushar--maximum is full-tuition (Deans Scholars, for example). Criteria for most of our scholarships is merit. No separate application is needed--it is based on the competitiveness of our admission application in our pool.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:25:04 AM)
bmandel1, great question. There is no one type of work experience we are looking for. Our students come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and the length of full time work experience ranges from zero to more than ten years.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:25:42 AM)
Zsmith -- no, employers view these programs the same -- and we do not make any distinction between them in the Career Opportunities Center.

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:26:00 AM)
Laurie: How does CMU evaluate a candidate? Considering undergraduate GPA, working experiences, volunteering experiences, and GMAT?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:26:18 AM)
Courtney, thanks. What would you like to see improved?

bmandel1 (Nov 7, 2005 10:27:02 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Is a strong math background considered an important requirement for Tepper's MBA program?

Ankur (Nov 7, 2005 10:27:13 AM)
I wanted to know about the evaluation process. How many people or group of people read the application?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:28:02 AM)
Linda: As for areas that the school could improve, I do wish that our facilities were a little bit more up to date. Group study space within Posner Hall is somewhat limited so it can be challenging to find quiet areas to work as group. I will say though that the Administration is aware of issues like these and they have continued to try to make improvements to the facilities over the last two years. This has been facilitated partly through the "Tepper" gift.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:28:09 AM)
Rachel--we use everything in the MBA application to gain insights to several dimensions--these are potential for academic and career success, personal qualities such as teamwork, leadership, integrity, communications skills, and finally the candidates rationale for an MBA--especially at Tepper.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:28:31 AM)
Carolyn Gould, how are international students doing in the job market?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:29:04 AM)
Ankur--our process includes several levels of reviews--first read by an admission staff member, committee review and final review by myself.

claudia (Nov 7, 2005 10:29:05 AM)
It is nice that you are taking some action to address the low number of women students. I am just wondering if you have any insight on why it is so low at the moment? And what is the program that is specifically for women that you mentioned? Courtney F., have you participated in this program and if so did you enjoy it?

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:29:18 AM)
Laurie: Will a good GMAT score compensate for a weak undergraduate GPA?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:29:37 AM)
Bmandel, rather than a specific background, we do require an aptitude for math because of the analytical nature of our program. We have some students with very strong quantitative backgrounds and others from liberal arts programs.

tushar (Nov 7, 2005 10:29:50 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: What is the acceptance rate at Tepper? What percentage of the class are international students?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:30:20 AM)
rachel--great question. In general, strengths in other areas can help offset an area of an application that is not as strong

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:30:23 AM)
Linda, international students undoubtedly face one obstacle that US students don't -- work authorization. Our international students tend to do well, at slightly lower numbers than the US students (assuming they wish to find employment in the US).

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:30:31 AM)
Laurie: Do you have plans to introduce a one-year program? The rumor-mill seems to indicate...

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:31:19 AM)
sahil--you can complete our program in 16 months by studying in the summer rather than doing a summer internship. No shorter MBA is in the works.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:31:38 AM)
Claudia: The Forte Organization is fairly new so as a second year student I have had limited exposure to it. I can say that we have a Graduate Women in Business organization at the school that is associated with the National Association of Women MBAs. This on campus group addresses women's business issues through the use of speakers on campus. One of our most recent panels focused on Working Mothers. Also, as an insight into the Tepper program, I think that the "quantitative" method that is used at Tepper can sometimes intimidate women. From my perspective, I think that it is a great program that can only enhance women's skill in business so I see it as a true asset.

Ankur (Nov 7, 2005 10:32:21 AM)
Could you please give us an idea on the financial aid process? What if I don't have a co-signer? Do you have a process like several other schools to get a loan for admitted students?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:32:23 AM)
Tushar, our acceptance rate is about 30% and our proportion of international students is the same.

Babak (Nov 7, 2005 10:32:24 AM)
To Courtney: I was not involved in any extracurricular activities during undergraduate. Instead, I was running a booking agency for signed music artists from Europe. Is it to my disadvantage that I cannot show extracurricular activities? I was heavily involved in my agency.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:32:36 AM)
Hi Claudia. We know that business schools in general have not attracted as many women as law and medical schools. We're doing our best to get the word out that the MBA degree is a great fit for a variety of future positions that may appeal to women. I think most top schools are in the same boat and we're all working to improve our image among women. There are loads of talented women here in the MBA program (like Courtney) so even if the percentage isn't as high as we'd like, our quality is great!

Am123 (Nov 7, 2005 10:33:28 AM)
Laurie: I think going forward it will be more and more important to associate yourself with highly prudent institutions in order to attract investors/customers. One of the things I looked at while assessing different MBA programs was the ethics ratings found in some publications. I noticed that Tepper has a good reputation and is highly rated. I am curious how you got to this level and what Tepper is doing going forward in the area of ethics training...Thank you

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:33:49 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Would an individual with a strong quantitative background have advantage with someone with much less exposure quantitative requirement at work?

Ankur (Nov 7, 2005 10:34:10 AM)
Laurie-Thanks for the answer. Could you please tell us about the Financial Aid process. What are the options for those who can not find a US co-signer and also don't get any scholarship?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:34:34 AM)
Ankur--we don't have a no-cosigner option for international candidates who don't have credit history in the US. Some of our international students have qualified for a loan without a cosigner through the Access group with 3 years of favorable US credit history.

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:34:47 AM)
Courtney: Are there any opportunities for working on professional projects during the program with companies/ research groups?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:35:11 AM)
Babak: I think that what is most important is being involved in activities other than just school work. Tepper is looking for well rounded individuals who can be successful within the school while also contributing to the general learning environment. In my opinion, it is best for the school to look at individuals with a broad range activities and exposures. That will make our student body more diverse.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:35:41 AM)
Carolyn Gould, do you have suggestions for steps applicants can take prior to matriculation that will improve their internship and job prospects?

amit (Nov 7, 2005 10:36:12 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: A majority of Tepper students have consistently come from an engineering background (near 50% every year). Is this a preference for the admissions committee?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:37:02 AM)
Hi Rachel, we do our best to foster diversity, and many successful applicants do not have technical backgrounds. I recently did an admissions event with a very successful alumna whose undergraduate background was in English literature.

Ankur (Nov 7, 2005 10:37:32 AM)
Carolyn, is it really beneficial to apply ASAP. Are there any disadvantage over applying to Round 2 VS Round 1?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:37:36 AM)
Am123-the discussion of ethics is really visible at Tepper--you can see it in our application essays, in our Orientation program, classes, scholarship award, Ethics discussions with our Professor in Ethics, Dr. John Hooker as examples.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:38:01 AM)
Amit, the proportion of technical background in our students reflects our applicant pool. What you are also saying means that half of our students do not have technical backgrounds. We welcome applications from both types of applicants.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:38:17 AM)
Sahil: Yes, there are definitely opportunities to work on professional projects during the program. Right now I am on a project team working with PPG Industries to identify supply chain sourcing solutions for their organizations. Last year there were projects with Mellon Bank, Genco, Caterpillar, Mine Safety Appliances just to name a few. I know there were a few more projects with Marketing/Product Development companies as well, but most of my work has been in Operations so that is where my list of companies came from.

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:39:13 AM)
Courtney: CMU has a reputation for engineering and innovation. Are there any inter-disciplinary activities organized at Tepper? Could you cite some examples.

hello (Nov 7, 2005 10:40:09 AM)
Laurie: How about interviews? Are they blind?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:40:27 AM)
Ankur, I would advise you to apply when you are ready. Students are accepted through all 4 rounds. The advantage for you to apply early is that you'll receive a decision that much earlier.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:40:55 AM)
Ankur--good question--we typically have space throughout all of our admissions rounds, so we recommend applying in the round where your application is most 'ready'. Quality of application is the most important factor--more so than whether you apply in round 1 or 2, but you don't want to miss the last round :-)

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:41:37 AM)
Sahil: The "tracks" themselves are very interdisciplinary as you will take courses in other programs on campus like Computer Science, Engineering, Biology. One of the most interdisciplinary groups is the Integrated Product Development Track. This track works on a two semester project in the spring to complete a design for a specific company. I would recommend taking a look a the track information on the website to get more information on the specifics.

Greg (Nov 7, 2005 10:41:40 AM)
Does indicating a particular track preference have any impact on the applicant's chances? Also, would you comment on the type of background you prefer to see for your Biomedical track?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:41:50 AM)
hello--the interviewer does have a chance to review your application before the interview--unless you arrange an interview before applying.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:42:22 AM)
Courtney, why did you choose Tepper?

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:42:24 AM)
Linda, in terms of steps applicants can take to improve their internship and job prospects, the number one thing would be to read about different careers and to know thyself -- the people with the easiest and most effective job hunts are those who are able to clearly articulate what they are looking for and why they are a good fit.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:43:18 AM)
Is a career changers at a disadvantage when looking for jobs post MBA?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:43:48 AM)
Linda: I chose Tepper because of its strong community, its small class size and its quantitative focus. I am also interested in Operations and it is consistently ranked in the top three in this field. I all really liked the location in Pittsburgh. It is very affordable with the amenities of a big city with out the "big city" cost.

Kiran (Nov 7, 2005 10:43:54 AM)
Laurie, if an applicant has both undergraduate and graduate degrees, which GPA is given importance?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:44:18 AM)
Courtney, CMU Tepper emphasizes its ties to the greater Carnegie Mellon University and its resources. Have you taken advantage of those ties? Do most students?

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:44:46 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: Would a candidate be viewed differently if the candidate has had various jobs experiences in the 5 years of employment record?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:44:58 AM)
Greg--some candidate's interest in a specific track can be really well articulated through their essays and why they are interested in Tepper (so can strengthen their application)--for the Biotech track specifically, there are pre-requisite requirements to be able to take some of the graduate courses in the Mellon College of Science (ie organic chemistry)--you can find details on our website.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:45:42 AM)
Linda, career changers may be at a disadvantage when looking for post-MBA jobs. I say "may" because no two job candidates are the same in all dimensions. If a career changer has networked, is able to communicate why they will be able to make great contributions, they will do fine. If they are able to convey the same message with passion and enthusiasm, they may even surpass candidates with prior experience in the area.

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:45:57 AM)
Laurie: How many candidates does Tepper intend to accept each year for the MBA program? How many of those candidates are accepted in the first round and how many in the second round?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:46:04 AM)
Kiran--we do look at grade trends--so a strong graduate performance can help offset a less strong undergrad performance.

bmandel1 (Nov 7, 2005 10:46:08 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: When is the best time to schedule a school visit?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:46:17 AM)
Linda: I would say that there is a small percentage of students that take classes outside of Tepper, but those students who do, found the experience to be very rewarding. I am especially aware of students who have taken art classes within the university and have appreciated the opportunity to broaden their experience. Also, for those student who want to heavily concentrate in an area, the Tracks provide great cross campus exposure. Outside of classes, I would say that Teppers are fairly involved in the Carnegie Mellon community. Many students participate in intramural activities. Some of us take part in the arts within the city of Pittsburgh (plays, symphony, etc.). Others take part in Graduate Student Association activities as well.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:46:31 AM)
Rachel, we do our best to understand your employment history. Some applicants stay with the same organization and some move around. You can use your essays and interview to explain your professional background-- everyone of course has a different story.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:46:52 AM)
That's what makes this work so interesting!

Ankur (Nov 7, 2005 10:47:31 AM)
Laurie/Carolyn----How important is the interview process? Is it resume based or overall application based (if conducted after the submission)? Who conducts the interview students/adcom/both? Thanks..

Nana (Nov 7, 2005 10:47:38 AM)
Laurie, to what extent does GMAT scores influence the admissions decision at Tepper?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:47:43 AM)
Rachel--we're looking for a class of 160-170 full-time students for Fall 2006. Our second application round is the largest in terms of volume--and for that reason at least twice as many candidates are offered admission in round 2.

hello (Nov 7, 2005 10:49:07 AM)
Carolyn: How are the internship coming around this year?

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:49:28 AM)
Courtney: Tepper is considered one of the most "unwired" schools. Can you help us understand how Tepper uses wireless technology and how this helps the student community?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:50:14 AM)
bmandel1, I would recommend Mondays to visit campus if you are able. We have an information session, class visits, and campus tours on most Mondays. You can schedule interviews most Mondays and also Tues. through Thursday. To schedule a campus visit, you can go to our website:

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:50:27 AM)
Hello -- Recruiters generally do not start interviewing for internships until January. This year our internship candidates will start interviewing January 9th.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:51:00 AM)
Sairaman: I am sitting on the wireless right now :) Within the Tepper building and across campus, the wireless access is great. This makes studying very easy and checking email addictive :)

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:51:26 AM)
Nana--good question--GMAT is an important part of our admission process, as much as all the other components of the application are important. We consider everything a candidate submits when making an admission decision and since the process is a competitive one (more candidates than spaces) it makes everything in the application key to our admission decision. You can find class profiles for the last several years on our website here and I'd recommend focusing on ranges rather than means.

claudia (Nov 7, 2005 10:51:35 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: What would be considered a weak score or percentage on the quantitative section of the GMAT, and if the score is weak, what kind of things on the other parts of the application might help make up for this?

Babak (Nov 7, 2005 10:51:55 AM)
To Laurie: How "hands-on" is Tepper? For example, do students work with a client company to fix a current and real problem? Or can students participate in "workshop style" classes -- write a business plan, find money, and then start building a product as part of a class? Also, do you support students who want to convert their business plan into real action by providing something like a business incubator?

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 10:52:26 AM)
Laurie: Taking a cue from Linda, how many students attending the program are career changers?

jeff (Nov 7, 2005 10:52:53 AM)
Courtney: I went to CMU undergrad and felt I got a great education but things could have been more balanced. I felt like I was always studying or doing homework. Is the MBA program structured to allow for "balance" in academics and other activities?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:52:54 AM)
Ankur, all of our successful applicants do have an interview with a member of the admissions team, either on campus or on the telephone. We do our best to get to know the applicants better and flesh out various parts of the application.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:54:13 AM)
Carolyn, do you view an on-campus visit as a sign of serious intent and interest, especially from applicants located in the US?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:55:30 AM)
Babak--glad to answer that--there are so many 'hands-on' options in the program--from class-based project courses for companies to outside of class case competitions--the options are considerable. In our entrepreneurship area, students generally work on their own project idea--developing a business plan. The Entrepreneurship Center provides lots of mentoring, contacts with individuals and agencies that can help get the project moving.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:55:40 AM)
Claudia, you can check out the class profile in Laurie's positing. If your quant score is a concern to you, you might consider taking a calculus or statistics class at a local university. Success in the course can help demonstrate your ability in that area.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:55:59 AM)
Jeff: I think the MBA program is what you make of it. If students choose to spend 100% of their time studying, there is certainly work that will fill that time. However, I truly believe that an MBA program is about both academic and social education. I am an active participant in clubs which is a great way to get involved at the school. Socially, I participate in our Friday happy hours called B**Rs and also our weekly pub crawls on Thursday nights (we don't have classes on Fridays). I am here to meet people and learn from their experience, so I take advantages of the social opportunities available to me.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 10:56:19 AM)
Courtney: Who are you favorite professor? What's been your favorite class?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:57:16 AM)
Sahil--I'd say the majority of our full-time MBAs are looking to use the MBA to help transition to something new professionally.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:57:20 AM)
Linda, of course we love to have prospective students visit so we can show off our campus and our program. However, we understand that not everyone can make it to Pittsburgh, and absolutely do not hold lack of a visit against a candidate.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 10:57:45 AM)
Thanks Courtney. How is the sharing of recorded lectures and other study material, etc.?

hello (Nov 7, 2005 10:58:01 AM)
Thanks Carolyn. How about jobs. Do they start by now?

Nana (Nov 7, 2005 10:58:07 AM)
Caroline, what has been Teppers' experience with visa applications by accepted international students?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:58:28 AM)
Linda: That is a tough question as there are many professors that I have enjoyed. Right now I would say that Prof. Dammon is amazing. He teaches Studies in Corporate Finance which is a case based course designed for the application of the information you learn in the initial corporate finance classes. I have also enjoyed Prof. Trick's class, Operations Research Techniques for Consultants. This class provided a great view into the world of operations research and its applicability to many real world problems.

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 10:58:49 AM)
Laurie: It was mentioned earlier that the Tepper program welcomes any well-rounded individuals. Will the strengths of a candidate's experiences in music/piano be considered one of the prospect?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:59:44 AM)
Nana, I think a good reason to apply as early as possible is to give yourself plenty of time to get a visa. As I'm sure you've heard, post 9/11, it is not as fast as it used to be.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 10:59:55 AM)
Sairaman, the majority of the classes are not taped so students get additional class information from blackboard or fellow students. "Blackboard" is a web environment where professors place notes, assignments, solutions, cases, interesting articles, etc.

CarolynGouldCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:00:32 AM)
Hello, yes the second year students' interviews are in full-swing right now, and seem to be going well.

co (Nov 7, 2005 11:00:39 AM)
Carolyn Hess Abraham: How does one convert percentage scores to GPA scores? I'm trying to self-evaluate my applications before deciding on my school list and I feel this could be a helpful piece of information. Thanks very much!

Kiran (Nov 7, 2005 11:01:25 AM)
Laurie, is an applicant disadvantaged if he(she) does not request an interview?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:02:04 AM)
rachel--that depends entirely on how the candidate presents that information in their application--explaining how their background experiences make them a great MBA candidate, how it has shaped their goals and why it has led to their interest in Tepper, etc. We're definitely looking for diversity of backgrounds.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:02:11 AM)
Courtney, what do you wish you would have done before starting your MBA that would have made the beginning/transition easier? Did you do anything especially effective that helped you?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:02:46 AM)
Hi Co, I do not have a formula. We would like you just to explain your grading system to us in your application.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:02:58 AM)
Kiran--there is no disadvantage in our process--if a candidate hasn't requested an interview with us previously and we'd like to interview them, we contact them to request it--can happen at any time up until our admission decision is released.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 11:03:06 AM)
In the Tepper website there was an interesting reference to Intrapreneurs, meaning companies view the entrepreneurship as some thing that is of strategic interest. Has the Entrepreneurship program produced more Intrapreneurs? Can you share some percentage data on the this, if possible?

bmandel1 (Nov 7, 2005 11:03:09 AM)
Courtney--Besides drinking, what other social activities are there at Tepper?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:04:28 AM)
Linda: In general, I was very pleased with my preparation prior to B-school. I took some accounting and finance classes at a local community college in order to get a basic understanding of key concepts prior to school. I also attended Tepper's QSRP (quantitative review program) for three weeks prior to school. This was a great way to brush up on my quantitative skills prior to school.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:04:47 AM)

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:05:35 AM)
Sairaman--great question--I can think of anecdotal evidence of both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs and although we have some data on entrepreneurs (about 40% of our alumni said they were involved in a start-up), I don't have similar data on intrapreneurs.

Guest (Nov 7, 2005 11:06:00 AM)
At school-level I was very much into debates n sports. But at college-level I was not into extracurricular. However one notable activity I was involved in was developing a website for my hostel which was a self-initiated voluntary activity. Will it count as an extra-curricular activity favorably?

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:06:10 AM)
Bmandel1: There are many other activities to get involved in at school. There is Business to Community day were students volunteer to support miscellaneous activities in the communities two days out of the school year. There is City High day. This is a day where high school students come to campus to learn about business and the current B-school student help the high school students in case competitions. There are also tours and organizations to get involved with. One in particular is Net Impact, a great organization that focuses on corporate social responsibility. They have some great tours and events throughout the year.

sahil (Nov 7, 2005 11:07:13 AM)
Tepper displays strength in quantitative skills as part of the program. However very lit is mentioned about how a global perspective is promoted. Other institutes mention a "china" program, global politico-economic trends as steps to promote this. Could you tell me some strengths of the program in promoting this outlook, of course with diversity being one of them.

CourtneyFreemanCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:09:39 AM)
Sahil: First of all the student population is extremely diverse which provides opportunities to discuss global issues in classes. Some of the cultural organizations on campus also bring speakers to campus to highlight some of the issues you mentioned. Finally, our Asian Business Association is organizing a trip to Japan and China over the winter break and I believe the South Asian Business Association is scheduling a trip to India over spring break.

hello (Nov 7, 2005 11:10:25 AM)
Where in the application should I explain the grading system of my country?

classymk (Nov 7, 2005 11:11:33 AM)
Does one have to decide on a major when applying?

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 11:11:47 AM)
Does Tepper provide an international exchange program for the MBA students? i.e. working or lecture experiences in another country? Or is there a exchange student program with another European based MBA program?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:12:42 AM)
Classymk, you do not decide on concentrations or tracks until later in the program. No need to decide in advance.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:12:46 AM)
hello--there is a question on the online application that asks you to briefly explain the grades system from where you come (on the academic info page). Some students also submit info as part of an optional essay.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:13:21 AM)
Laurie and Carolyn Abraham: If you are looking at an application and the numbers and basic profile is in the ballpark for a Tepper student, what distinguishes an application that is accepted from one that is rejected?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:14:00 AM)
Rachel--we do offer a study abroad option to our MBA students in their second year--it is based in Germany.

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 11:14:06 AM)
Thanx Carolyn for the information on employments and tracks. What I wanted you to help me understand was this - do employers look at these specialized tracks as a silo - for example wealth and asset management track might interest the banks/broker-dealers - so is the perception of these tracks considered important?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:16:03 AM)
Linda--I think candidates can really distinguish themselves by making it clear in their essays (and interview) why they are seeking an MBA degree from Tepper--candidates with clear goals and understanding of how our program works will help them achieve their goals.

Nana (Nov 7, 2005 11:16:45 AM)
Laurie: Some schools require international exposure prior to applying Is it the same with Tepper?

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:17:01 AM)
Nana--not required, no.

classymk (Nov 7, 2005 11:17:14 AM)
Thanks Carolyn! I already have a post graduate degree, not an MBA, but studied few basic management subjects. How will this affect my candidature?

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 11:18:24 AM)
How technology specific is the technology leadership track? What are the business courses that balance the highly focused technology curriculum? What are the backgrounds of the professors teaching these courses? Are they academicians or people who have good experience in the technology industry?

co (Nov 7, 2005 11:18:26 AM)
Do you encourage TA-ships / RA-ships for MBA candidates? Or rather, do MBA candidates find time for such assistantships?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:18:48 AM)
Classymk, about half of our students do have another advanced degree. Sounds good to me! What is your degree in?

classymk (Nov 7, 2005 11:20:01 AM)
My degree is specialization in Operations Management; specialized in supply chain! Does that still sound good? :)

rachel (Nov 7, 2005 11:20:10 AM)
Regarding international exposure - one can have many aspects when it comes to international exposures - how would it be considered? i.e. residing in one country but studied in another? How about various travel experiences? Or business travels across the region for company visits or visits to the local regulators?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:20:40 AM)
Co, Good question. We do not encourage other jobs or TA positions, because the MBA program is very demanding and time consuming. We keep you pretty busy!

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:21:11 AM)
Sairaman--Technology Leadership track students also complete all the core MBA courses, while taking 8 mini-courses in the School of Computer Science. The faculty have academic and industry experience, via consulting for example.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:22:27 AM)
Classymk, I think the key will be for you to explain why you would like to enter an MBA program. We give you opportunities to do this on your essays and interview.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:22:51 AM)
Laurie and Carolyn Abraham: Is there any advice that you have specifically for international applicants?

Vasil Dosev (Nov 7, 2005 11:23:28 AM)
Laurie: How does a mini differ from a full semester? It's half the time, but is it half the coursework?

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:23:39 AM)
Rachel, Of course tell us about any of the things you mention if they apply to you!

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:24:59 AM)
Linda--the advice is very similar for both international and US candidates, though I would say making sure we have everything on time is even more critical, since timing delays can really impact international students (visas, etc.)

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:25:03 AM)
Linda, one piece of advise for international applicants would be to apply early enough. As we mentioned before, the visas and paperwork can take some time, so sooner is always better.

classymk (Nov 7, 2005 11:25:20 AM)
Thanks Carolyn! I was wondering about treatment to "older applicant". I will be 31 by Fall 06. I am from supply chain consulting background and want to join strategy consulting after school. Will my age affect my candidature in any manner?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:26:20 AM)
classymk, has an article on applying as an older applicant: It is not specific to CMU Tepper in any way, but it could be of help to you.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:26:49 AM)
Are there any special considerations for re-applicants at Tepper? Should reapplicants obtain recommendations from different recommenders.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:26:54 AM)
classymk, No worries about age. We have a wide range of entering ages and you're not too much above the mean, anyway.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:27:23 AM)
Vasil--a mini may be half as long, but not necessarily half as much course content. We try to move through the core MBA classes quickly in the mini-format to allow students to get to electives sooner--especially before the summer internship.

classymk (Nov 7, 2005 11:27:32 AM)
Thanks Linda - I have read that article! But I am finding it hard to convince myself that I could be consider "OLDER" :). Thanks Carolyn!

vikram (Nov 7, 2005 11:28:29 AM)
Laurie/Carolyn: Tepper has an excellent financial aid office that helps students plan their finances during their term. Is this facility available for international students as well? Especially, help in securing loans or through other resources?

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:28:54 AM)
Thank you again all for participating today.. Special thanks to Laurie, Carolyn, Carolyn and Courtney.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:25 AM)
Vikram, of course our financial aid office is open to all.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:27 AM)
vikram ,our financial aid office works with all of our Masters students!

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:46 AM)
Please check the Web site ( ) for details and exact time, because we are varying our chat times this year to facilitate attendance from applicants in different time zones.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:48 AM)
Linda--many thanks for hosting us.

CarolynHessAbrahamCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:52 AM)
It was great talking to all of you.

LaurieStewartCMU (Nov 7, 2005 11:29:58 AM)
Everyone--thank you for the great questions and good luck with your applications!

Sairaman (Nov 7, 2005 11:30:46 AM)
Thanks a lot for all the CMU folks and the folks for this wonderful opportunity to interact . CMU you rock!!!

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:31:43 AM)
You're most welcome. Thank you so much for joining us and for your wonderful participation.

Linda Abraham (Nov 7, 2005 11:32:10 AM)
Good luck with your applications!
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