2008 CMU Tepper MBA Admissions Chat with Laurie Stewart

2008 CMU Tepper MBA Admissions Chat with Laurie Stewart

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending an e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 12:57:48 PM)
Hello! First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com’s Carnegie Mellon Tepper Admissions Chat. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants to the Tepper chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about CMU Tepper. To make a sound decision and to get accepted you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask the experts about this outstanding business school.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 12:57:58 PM)
I also want to welcome Laurie Stewart, Carnegie Mellon's Director of MBA Admissions; Dr. Ken Keeley, the Exec Director of Tepper’s Career Opportunities Center; and Jeremy Hastings, Tepper MBA 2008 and President of our Graduate Business Association. Thank you for joining us today.  Thanks to everyone for joining.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 12:59:24 PM)
For all of you: What’s new at Tepper?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 12:59:55 PM)
LLU - I would definitely discourage a part-time job during the first semester, although people do it. You need good time management skills in an MBA program, so I recommend waiting through the first semester to see how you feel before diving in with a part-time job. That said, I did some consulting during my second semester last year, and I managed it (although I took a reduced course load to make it work).

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:00:00 PM)
Jeremy, when you have a minute, if you could report that very impressive bio for latecomers to see, I would appreciate it.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:01:09 PM)
Hi Linda--well, I should mention that our first year class is still pretty new at Tepper--a great group of 182 full-time students, representing 24 countries--they are pretty busy with classes right now. Here is the latest profile info: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/mba/admissions/successful-mba-candidates/class-profile/index.aspx

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:01:33 PM)
A little about me, I'm 28, second year MBA from Boston, and I worked on presidential campaigns before coming to business school. I worked for Al Gore in 2000, ran the state of New Hampshire for John Kerry in 2004, and worked on Governor's races in Massachusetts in 2002 and 2006. My undergrad was at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where I was a molecular biology/biochemistry major. I did my internship at Bain & Company this summer in Boston, and accepted an offer to go there full-time starting next summer.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:02:10 PM)
We're also introducing a couple of new tracks this year--including a Financial Engineering track for those interested in gaining skills in quantitative finance along with their MBA.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:02:27 PM)
Ken, how is recruiting going this year? Are there more companies recruiting on campus this year? More interviews scheduled?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:02:57 PM)
The Career Opportunities Center has been creating a counseling staff that includes some individuals with traditional counseling or student services backgrounds, but more recently individuals who possess an MBA and professional backgrounds in consulting, financial services, marketing, and human resources. That way we can better help students seeking to further their own careers in those areas. One of our Assistant Directors is originally from Pakistan.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:03:35 PM)
Jeremy, what do you like best at CMU? What would you like to see improved?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:04:27 PM)
RC--thanks for the question--the broad qualities we're seeking are: potential for academic success here at Tepper; potential for professional success in the future; personal qualities like leadership, teamwork, work-ethic, personal integrity (and many more); and then a clear rationale for why someone wants to be here at Tepper. We use all the info in the application to gain insights to each of these dimensions.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:04:42 PM)
Laurie, what are the other new tracks?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:04:54 PM)
Every indication so far is that this is another very good year. Many students entering their last year appear to have received an offer from the company they interned with. The number of companies booking recruiting on-campus is higher than last year, and we achieved very good results then.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:05:26 PM)
For me the piece that stands out about CMU is the skill development. One year ago I heard the word "model" and thought of some scary Microsoft Excel macro that required hours to build and even longer to understand. The first year at CMU gave me a grounding in business, finance, accounting, and operations that allowed me to really shine at my internship this summer.

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:05:29 PM)
Ken: What opportunities exist for those wanting to go into business for themselves?

Keith (Oct 16, 2007 1:05:41 PM)
Jeremy: What kind of experiential learning opportunities do you have other than Management Game?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:05:52 PM)
Linda--also working on adding a new track called Dynamic Investment Strategy--more info will be posted about it on our website soon.

fahad (Oct 16, 2007 1:06:10 PM)
I would like to know if the MBA programme might be offered at CMU Qatar anytime soon.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:06:35 PM)
Ketih - there are a growing number of project courses that you can take as electives in your second year, one or two are offered each mini.  One that just completed was an Operations project course with Deloitte consultants, the students who took it loved it.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:07:23 PM)
Fahad--no plans as of now.

PR (Oct 16, 2007 1:07:34 PM)
Laurie: Could you talk a little about the application review process. Do current students read the application? How many reviews does the application go through before a decision is made?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:07:38 PM)
Janine, the school has an excellent Entrepreneurship Center. We probably have 5 to 10 students per year who focus their attention on starting a new business by working with that Center (Art Boni is the Executive Director). Most of those students register with us as a "safety net" in case it does not appear that they can realize their dream in the short run.

Puneet (Oct 16, 2007 1:08:05 PM)
Ken: During which semester of the two year MBA do most of the companies recruit?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:08:30 PM)
Keith - there are additional projects you can participate in through a track, such as Biotechnology or Quantitative Marketing (Laurie knows the full list).

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:08:46 PM)
Ken: Do students compete in order to work with the Center?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:09:32 PM)
Puneet, we begin summer internship interviews in January. Of course, the effort begins before students even enroll. Graduating students have the bulk of their interviews beginning in October and extending through December.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:09:32 PM)
PR--all of our reviews are conducted by members of the admissions staff members and we do 3 reviews; 2 by admissions committee members and one by me before a decision is made.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:09:55 PM)
Jeremy, why did you choose Tepper?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:10:04 PM)
Janine - the great thing about the COC is that it is open to all. If you make an effort to go and build a relationship with a counselor, you will get tremendous use out of it. There are enough counselors for every student to have individual attention, and the recruiting season for first and second years is separated enough that everyone can have an opportunity.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:10:14 PM)
You can find more info on our MBA tracks here: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/mba/mba-programs-coursework/mba-tracks/index.aspx

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:10:16 PM)
Laurie: I had a question related to Technology Leadership MBA track.  Is it focused towards the IT industry alone or it is for a general technology role?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:10:25 PM)
I chose Tepper for a few reasons: 1 - a small program: I wanted to make sure I had a group of friends I would know when I left, not just be 1 of 600.
2 - pushing my own skill set: I had very non-quant work experience, and I wanted to challenge myself to learn how to analyze data and make decisions based on it. 3 - change the trajectory of my career: going to Tepper meant no one was ever going to ask me if I could do the work. It's a given. You go to Tepper, you can run and interpret regressions, you can do data analysis, you can build models. That is a statement only a few schools can make, Carnegie Mellon is one of those schools.

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:10:28 PM)
Hi Ken: It would be great if you could provide me insights about the MSCF vis a vis a MBA with finance concentration in terms of: Brand Equity ,Career prospects ,Career growth.

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:11:19 PM)
That's pretty cool about the COC! Jeremy, what's the interaction like between students and faculty?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:11:38 PM)
Shantanu--the Technology Leadership track is offered in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon's renowned Computer Science department--and the focus is more on information technology (ie CIO or CTO)

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:12:05 PM)
Laurie: The optional essay is a great way to feed in bits and pieces about one's profile that may not have been represented in it's entirety in the other essays. It is likely that one may want to dwell on 2 or 3 rather disconnected areas in the optional essay - a kind of "catch all". Is such a thing frowned upon- i.e: would you rather want all applicants to focus on just one aspect in the optional essay or is it OK if one covers a 2 or 3 disconnected areas as well?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:12:25 PM)
Shantanu-- there are other options for more general technology study--including our Biotechnology track or even Entrepreneurship.

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:13:16 PM)
Peekay, both degrees provide an excellent education. The MSCF is relatively narrowly focused. If one is interested in the fixed income, risk management, or quantitatively oriented functions (e.g., equity derivatives) within the major investment banks or asset management firms, there is probably no better preparation in the world than our MSCF program. On the other hand, if one is more interested in general management, or M&A work with an investment bank, or finance within major corporations, then the MBA is probably the way to go.  The new financial engineering track within the MBA program is a welcome addition (the math requirement will be high).

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:13:46 PM)
Ken: For the current year would you have an estimate on the placement breakdown for consulting, finance and industry jobs?

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:14:32 PM)
Jeremy, Janine asked (while you were busy typing your excellent answer above) what is the interaction like between faculty and students.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:14:47 PM)
LLU--great question--we really look for the optional essay to do one of two things (or both): highlight areas that candidates think are strengths that they didn't have a chance to address elsewhere in the application and also to address anything they are concerned might be perceived as a weakness in their application--as such, it isn't uncommon to have the optional essay cover more than one topic, although you do want to make sure to make decisions about what is really important to cover.

fahad (Oct 16, 2007 1:14:59 PM)
Laurie: Is it a requirement that the work experience is post graduation?  I mean if some one has his own startup company..and now wants to pursue an MBA to help his business, his is getting college education...so would his experience be counted...since its pre graduation

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:15:30 PM)
Janine, interaction between students and faculty is something we've been building over the last two years. We have a joint student-faculty ad hoc committee that looks for opportunities for interaction, as well as developing a program for first-year students this year where each student is put in a group with a faculty liaison, to help with the transition back to business school and to give some context to the first year and to the program in general. Faculty are incredibly approachable, but you wind up learning more from your classmates than you do from faculty.  Outside of the classroom I should say :-)...

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:16:17 PM)
Jeremy, you are currently president of the Graduate Business Association. I assume you participate in other extra-curricular activities too. What do you enjoy the most about the extra-curriculars? What are you attempting to achieve as president of the Graduate Business Association?

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:16:47 PM)
Jeremy: So I would assume then you guys have a close-knit alumni community then...

marathoner (Oct 16, 2007 1:16:57 PM)
Ken: Why is the salary range very high for Tepper grads? Heard it is from 55K to 110K (big range).

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:17:12 PM)
Wow, need to go back to the speech I gave when I was running...and yes, Janine, we have a very close-knit community. It's one of the highlights. As for GBA...

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:17:16 PM)
Fahad--we do accept some students with minimal post-undergraduate experience, including some directly after undergraduate study. This year it is about 7% of the class. If you are thinking of applying without much post-grad experience, your application really needs to be strong on other dimensions and you have to have a strong rationale for why an MBA now.

Puneet (Oct 16, 2007 1:17:27 PM)
Laurie: Could you please brief us with the pros and cons of applying in the second round of application?

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:18:01 PM)
Dust if off Jeremy. :-)  Or just tell us what the GBA does and what you're doing as its head.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:18:43 PM)
I am fairly involved in extra-curricular activities, although more so as a first-year. I was active in a bunch of clubs: Graduate Finance Association, BioPharma Club, Wine Club (my favorite), as well as Intramural Sports (flag football and racquetball), and I made it a point to attend every speech or presentation I could, we get some seriously top-flight speakers into CMU and Tepper.

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:19:07 PM)
Marathoner, by the way I was scheduled to run my 18th marathon this autumn before I tore a muscle in my calf. If a school develops and records their statistics according to the Employment Standards provided by the MBA Career Services Council (and we do), than all accepted offers are to be reported whether they are in the United States or in any other portion of the world.  Our statistics for the past year (all schools had until 9/30 to finalize them) will probably be on the web by sometime next week. The mean and median are probably most revealing, but you can also look them up by geography.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:19:32 PM)
My son is currently training for his first full marathon. His mother has NO such ambitions.

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:19:48 PM)
Thanks Ken, but does that mean a graduate from MSCF will have a more functional role rather than managerial role? Also will a MSCF graduate in future require an MBA (may be executive) to further his career progression (if he wants to become CFO or CEO) ?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:19:55 PM)
Puneet-- the second round is a great time to apply (as are later rounds-- since we accept students in all rounds). My advice is not to rush your application and apply in the round when you're sure it is ready. We have the largest numbers of applicants applying in our second (January) round, but also make the most offers in that round too.

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:20:10 PM)
Thanks Laurie. Would General Management track have any concentration for technology?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:20:36 PM)
As for GBA, we are the student government for Tepper, so we interact with the Administration to advocate for what students want, and we provide mentorship for each incoming class of students. Our terms run January-January, so mine is almost up, but we focused on initiating a brand new program during Orientation this year, where 25 second year students came back to lead the first-years through the week of Orientation. By all accounts it was a very successful week, and it helped form a bond between first and second years in those first few critical weeks of school.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:21:08 PM)
Shantanu-- yes, there are concentrations in Biotech, Info Systems, and Entrepreneurship (as well as technology opportunities in other concentration areas).

PR (Oct 16, 2007 1:21:15 PM)
Laurie: As far as admissions decisions are concerned, are applicants who have not visited campus viewed less favorably than applicants who have?

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:21:26 PM)
Hi Jeremy, how helpful has the alumni been in your search for internships/jobs?What is their involvement level?

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:22:12 PM)
Ken, do you have companies from abroad recruiting at Tepper? If yes, for example?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:22:53 PM)
Peekay, most folks within the major investment bank are practitioners, without much desire to become managers such as a CFO or CEO (there are exceptions of course). Their focus tends to be on their personal financial reward for the work they are doing. So, I do not think that many of the MSCF would eventually think of going on for an MBA.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:23:00 PM)
PR-- not at all, we've admitted lots of students who haven't had the opportunity to visit before. I think the challenge is how to do meaningful research about Tepper and we make lots of resources available through our website to help with that including discussion boards, ways to contact a current student, etc. We can also help connect you with local alumni to learn more about Tepper.

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:23:37 PM)
What is Tepper's compatibility with career changers?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:23:43 PM)
Shantanu- alumni are the lifeline for jobs. One of the benefits of a small program is alumni feel like they know you, even though you haven't met. They remember the program, some things like Management Game are similar 20 years later, and they are so thankful to CMU for elevating their career that they are happy to help. Most students will tell you they got interviews or job offers thanks to alumni. That's how I managed to get my first-round interview at Bain, thanks to an alumnus who is working in the Boston Bain office. He agreed to meet me last holiday season and then flagged my resume for a first round interview.

PR (Oct 16, 2007 1:24:01 PM)
Jeremy: How would you describe the culture of the student body?

Keith (Oct 16, 2007 1:24:47 PM)
Ken: How many offers do students receive from private equity areas including both internship and career opportunities?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:24:49 PM)
Janine - almost everyone is a career changer. Not just at CMU, but at business schools in general. Recruiters know this, and most of them like the fact you will bring a fresh perspective to their company. That is one of the value-added services an MBA student can provide.

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:26:13 PM)
Linda, I do not think I would claim to have a large number of companies recruiting from abroad. Johnson & Johnson sends recruiters seeking international applicants. Deutsche does send recruiting teams from both London and New York. Many of the banks, and many of the consulting firms, advertise how students interested in their organizations should apply for overseas positions. The one thing they all have in common is that they are seeking language skills appropriate for the country of employment.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:26:59 PM)
Ken, I am asking more for international students studying at Tepper. How does the COC help them in their job search?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:02 PM)
PR - tough to sum up in an online chat. You should definitely come visit to experience it for yourselves. In a sentence, though, we don't take ourselves too seriously. We take our school work seriously and our job search seriously, but we are incredibly down-to-earth about it. Laurie and her team does a great job in admitting people who fit in with our culture. People come here to be part of an exceptional group of students, not to stand out as the best. We are all about "we" at CMU and Tepper.

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:13 PM)
Thanks Ken.

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:23 PM)
Janine, most students in MBA programs around the world are career changers. So you represent the norm. The others are the "odd" ones:)!

marathoner (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:26 PM)
Linda, lets strike a deal. I will train your son for a full marathon. You train me for MBA apps. Just kidding!

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:29 PM)

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:39 PM)
Thats heartening to know Jeremy, how would you describe your working relationship with your batchmates?

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:27:58 PM)
Lol, thanks Ken, that puts me at ease!

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:28:28 PM)
Laurie - a rather bland question perhaps - is it true that all other things being equal, there are greater chances for tuition waivers / scholarships in Round 1 than in subsequent rounds?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:29:03 PM)
Linda, perhaps because so many of our international students have engineering or computer science degrees, our international students have been very successful (normally around 90%) finding employment opportunities in the U.S. The key is facility with the English language.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:30:22 PM)
Ken, Keith asked above about opportunities for internships and full-time positions in private equity for Tepper MBA's. Can you comment?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:30:31 PM)
LLU--not at all-- we make scholarship offers throughout the admissions season. Our scholarships are given on a merit basis and range from small ones to full-tuition Deans Scholarships. This year we have 16 Dean Scholars in our first year class of 182--and they were admitted across all the rounds.

PR (Oct 16, 2007 1:30:40 PM)
Laurie: Is there an advantage in applying in the first round rather than the second round? Are acceptance rates for each round about the same, or are they higher in the earlier rounds?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:30:58 PM)
Shantanu: You learn a lot about yourself and about others working in groups, most of the work at CMU is group work, and every experience is a beneficial one, if not a perfect experience. Your group work will prepare you for the real world where you will need to negotiate different wants and needs, strengths and weaknesses. The group as a whole is contentious and recognizes that school is a means to an end, not the end itself. You aren't going to love every group you work in, but that's true at any program. At Tepper, the number of challenging group experiences is likely to be very small (like one).

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:31:43 PM)
Jeremy, what are you favorite classes, professors?

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:32:19 PM)
Thanks Jeremy...I got the picture.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:32:42 PM)
PR-- the acceptance rate doesn't vary much at all-- the most predominant factor in your chance of being admitted is the quality of your application, not the round when you apply. The profile of students admitted looks really similar across all the rounds. You definitely don't want to rush your application to make the first round.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:32:46 PM)
Laurie, do you interview in cities and countries outside the US? Or do you just do telephonic interviews for US non-residents? I have heard some schools do just personal interviews in the US if you do not apply to their Round 1. Is that applicable for Tepper as well?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:34:13 PM)
Keith, sorry I missed that question. I believe that it is rather challenging (perhaps daunting) to try to find a position in private equity (no matter what school you attend). The supply of students interested is extremely high, and the demand by the PE firms is extremely low. One's best chance are connections, or having something special to offer such firms. For example, if one had an extensive intellectual and experiential background in robotics, and the PE firm had a new interest in investing in that area, then they might decide they need you. Without that magic, one is probably going to have to obtain additional work experience (e.g., M&A) to increase their market value.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:34:26 PM)
LLU-- members of the admissions team do make treks to do in-person interviews in cities inside and outside the US where we have a lot of candidates. Usually those occur in February (round 2). If we can't meet someone for an in-person interview, we do offer telephone interviews with a member of our team.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:34:27 PM)
My favorite classes are Organizational Behavior, perhaps fitting with my non-quant background. When you ask alumni what they wish they knew more about, they invariably say, "I wish I took more OB courses."  Think business-training crossed with psychology, and we have fascinating and experienced faculty in OB. I'm taking two or three OB courses every mini until I finish - they are amazing.

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:34:42 PM)
Laurie: What international opportunities does Tepper offer?

fahad (Oct 16, 2007 1:34:46 PM)
Ken: Do graduates have problems in getting companies to sponsor their visas. I am sure a lot of international applicants aspire to work in America after the MBA...

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:35:04 PM)
Jeremy, what is the #1 take-away so far from your experience at Tepper. How are you different or how has your perspective changed as a result of your Tepper education?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:35:19 PM)
Fahad, it is always more difficult for students who do not already possess the legal right to work (this is true no matter where you attend in the U.S.). I do think our international students get frustrated when company X will talk to their classmates, but not to them. Again, if you look above, our international students are quite successful finding opportunities in the U.S. (about 90%) because they are great students and have a great background. But is it more frustrating, YES!

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:35:24 PM)
Janine--just clarifying your question, do you mean for admissions interviews or more general international opportunities while you're an MBA at Tepper?

Keith (Oct 16, 2007 1:35:33 PM)
Thanks Ken!

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:35:45 PM)
International opportunities while at Tepper.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:38:00 PM)
Janine-- great, thanks for clarifying. We offer a 'Global Enterprise Management' track, a minisemester study abroad option-- as well as other short-term treks during school breaks, etc. Since about a third of our students are from outside the US, the entire experience has an international perspective. Our annual International Festival is one of Tepper's highlight events of the year.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:38:12 PM)
Laurie: I forgot to ask this in the earlier question - approximately how many % of students end up getting either full or partial tuition waivers / scholarships?

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:38:31 PM)
Ken: If one aspires to be a CIO / CTO of a technology company (in the longer term of course after the MBA), what opportunities does Tepper offer?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:39:09 PM)
Linda, the #1 take-away from my experience at Tepper so far: understanding business drivers. I came into school without any sort of business knowledge, and I can sit here today and read an article in the Wall St. Journal, and have a pretty good understanding of what is happening with a company. I can look at a balance sheet and an income statement and make some educated assumptions about what is happening, and I can take a ton of data, I mean pages and pages and pages of data, and distill it down to the three or four key points. Understanding the drivers for a company is an invaluable skill.

Puneet (Oct 16, 2007 1:39:15 PM)
Jeremy: Do you have a committee for international students which takes up different issues or concerns faced by them?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:39:54 PM)
LLU-- about 9% received Dean Scholarships this year (16 of 182), in total about a third of our students receive merit scholarships.

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:40:00 PM)
Laurie: For international applicants...do the alumni hold interviews or is it a telephonic one?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:40:49 PM)
Fahad, the two industries that have historically been most open to students from other countries are consulting and I-banking. They also hire large numbers of students. Outside those areas, international students are most successful when they can demonstrate to the companies how their background (country, cultural awareness, language skills, business skills) can provide them with a competitive advantage.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:41:08 PM)
Ken, are you feeling any fallout from the sub-prime credit crunch in terms of MBA hiring? Do you anticipate any impact from it?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:41:34 PM)
Shantanu-- we like to have a member of our admissions committee who has 'met' each candidate, so alumni don't do admissions interviews (though we would be glad to help make a connection with local alumni to learn more about Tepper). We rely on telephone interviews when we can't meet in person.

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:41:49 PM)
Laurie: What is the % of students with less than 2 year of work experience admitted in your programs. Also the work experience that you consider is at the time of applying or at the time of admission?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:42:51 PM)
LLU, yesterday we had recruiters from Apple, Intel, and IBM. I am not sure that any of them were recruiting specifically for the IT function, but high tech companies have always been very popular with our students because so many of them have engineering or computer science backgrounds.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:42:58 PM)
Puneet, GBA works for students across the program, domestic or international, lots of work experience or very little, and we try to provide services and address concerns for everyone. There are a number of cultural clubs on campus that help with the transition to the States or to business school. In addition, CMU and Tepper both offer services directly for international students. Ultimately, the COC is where most international student concerns arise, and then mostly because of visa and work permit issues. We have a GBA rep for Alumni/COC services, and that person helps out in any way possible.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:43:35 PM)
Jeremy, are you taking advantage of the opportunity to enroll in classes outside Tepper at CMU?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:43:51 PM)
Peekay-- About 10% has a year or less of post-undergraduate experience, and we do consider internships when evaluating applications. Our tracking of experience is till they enroll in Tepper (not the time of application).

Keith (Oct 16, 2007 1:44:04 PM)
Laurie: How many courses can we take from other departments out of graduation requirement?

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:44:48 PM)
Thanks Laurie.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:45:33 PM)
Sort of. I am enrolled in tennis this fall (advanced tennis lessons) and I am considering taking Spanish next semester. GBA doesn't allow for a lot of time outside of the building, but a bunch of my friends are in classes in robotics or the Heinz School for Public Policy or the Integrated Product Design program with the Design school. If you are looking for an opportunity, you can find it. :-)

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:45:40 PM)
Linda, when our current students ask us about the job market given the sub-prime mortgage situation, I tell them that I am paid to be nervous, and I am nervous. However, we have not yet seen much of an impact. A good number of our graduating students have come back from their summer internships with offers in their pocket. I can tell you that some of them accepted those offers as soon as they received them because they were nervous as well. But so far no real evidence of a problem. Can I keep my fingers crossed?

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:46:01 PM)
Ken: Do you have any special support for entrepreneurs who want to start their business right after the school? For e.g. financial or infra support in the incubation period?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:46:05 PM)
Keith--you can take up to 18 units (about 2 classes) outside Tepper toward your MBA requirements--you can do more than that if you take more than the minimum to earn the degree. Hope that makes sense.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:46:11 PM)
Laurie: I asked this earlier to Jeremy before most participants logged in and the chat started but he advised that I re-confirm. If the official transcripts reach Tepper after the 29 Oct deadline but if one "submits" the online application before this date, is that application considered for Round 1? Or is it pushed to the later rounds?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:46:50 PM)
Keith-- one of the benefits of joining Tepper is the chance to take classes across the Carnegie Mellon campus.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:46:59 PM)
Tennis sounds fun! Jeremy, 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?

Keith (Oct 16, 2007 1:47:35 PM)
Thanks Laurie!

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:47:40 PM)
LLU--that should be fine (as long as the transcripts don't take more than a few days to reach us)!

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:48:02 PM)
For all of you: What advice would you give applicants preparing to submit applications?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:49:26 PM)
Peekay, if you can see the earlier answers, there is an excellent Entrepreneur Center within the Tepper School. Beyond classes, and business plan competitions, they are in touch with successful entrepreneurs and VC/PE firms around the country. Our students have earned first place in several national business plan competitions (with cash awards).

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:50:07 PM)
Linda--my advice would be to visit if you can, but since many candidates can't visit--use our 'Tepper Talk' resources to learn more about our community--including the discussion boards and the 'contact a current student' feature. The link is here: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/mba/online-community/index.aspx

PR (Oct 16, 2007 1:50:36 PM)
Laurie: Can a student in the MBA program take a couple of classes from the MSCF program?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:51:05 PM)
Linda: Go to QSRP. It stands for Quantitative Skills Review Program and is basically 3 weeks of math camp, but it is worth every second and every dollar ($500 last year). You come to Pittsburgh at the end of July to start QSRP and Orientation begins at the end of August. For three weeks you get to meet almost 70% of your class and learn a lot of how the school and the program operates. It provides a smooth transition back to school. The only thing I would have done differently is I would have tried harder to get my then-girlfriend, now-fiance, to move to Pittsburgh with me. Long-distance relationships can be hard while getting your MBA. We're getting married, so it worked out, but you wind up being busier than you expected.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:06 PM)
Laurie / Jeremy - What would you advise students without any formal training in finance and accounting to do to make the transition easier? Any extra courses before the studies commence?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:09 PM)
PR--the new MBA track in Financial Engineering gives MBAs the option to take MSCF courses--and we do offer a dual degree MBA/MSCF that requires only one additional semester after the MBA (5 vs 4).

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:17 PM)
Jeremy, anything you would advise in addition to the program you mention?

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:36 PM)
Laurie: 2 questions about financial aid:

shantanu (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:43 PM)
Thanks Laurie. I would like to know about financial aid for international applicants? Is it advisable to opt for a US bank when going for a loan? Are there any special tie-ups with any financial institutions offering low rates?

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:45 PM)
Continuing with the sub-prime discussion will it provide any hindrance in availing non-cosigner loans in US for MBA. Does CMU offer any special service to international applicants in availing non-cosigner loan?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:49 PM)
Linda, I would advise all applicants to any business school to insure that the schools' employment statistics are compiled in accordance to the MBA Career Service Council's Employment Standards. That enables the student to better be able to make an apple to apple comparison between programs. That data is subject to audit by KPMG under an agreement between GMAC and MBA CSC.

Janine (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:52 PM)
Congrats Jeremy!

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:52:57 PM)
Yes. Congratulations!

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:54:05 PM)
LLU - don't worry about the finance and accounting - you will be fine even without formal training. I had never taken an Economics course prior to Tepper, and while I'm not going into Finance, I understand and appreciate the basic levers. You will get an accounting workbook prior to starting that will walk you through basic Accounting principles before you start school, too, which was very helpful. Again, you don't need to spend time worrying before you get the workbook.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:55:00 PM)
Ken, any particularly active sectors recruiting at Tepper?

KenKeeleyCOC (Oct 16, 2007 1:55:04 PM)
Let me say goodbye as I need to sign off as I have a 2:00 appointment (in other words, the day job awaits me). Best wishes to all!

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:55:05 PM)
LLU--we do provide all of our entering students with some summer prep materials for accounting and totally agree with Jeremy's suggestion about attending QSRP. Other than that, we provide the fundamentals of finance and accounting in our core MBA classes in the first year fall semester. (For many of our students, this is the first time they have formally studied these topics).

abhi (Oct 16, 2007 1:55:18 PM)
Laurie: How important are things apart from the academics...i.e. sports, extra-curricular activities, social activities, etc.?

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 1:56:07 PM)
Thanks Ken.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:57:12 PM)
Additional suggestions prior to starting: give yourself enough time to get settled, do not show up in Pittsburgh on Friday and start classes Monday, it will be a very difficult transition. Real estate: come to Pittsburgh for two days in the spring to find an apartment, DO NOT only search online. I made that mistake and wound up moving between first and second year (which was far from fun). Meet the people: make sure you come to campus and see what Pittsburgh is like. It gets a bad rap as an old steel town, and the reality is far from the image. If you can't make it to campus, find some people who have been to Pittsburgh and can tell you what is like.

gaurav puri (Oct 16, 2007 1:57:20 PM)
Laurie: Does CMU accept applications from candidates who wish to do a 2nd MBA?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:57:31 PM)
peekay and Shantanu-- unfortunately, we don't offer a loan for international students that doesn't require a co-signer, although the access group does consider candidates who have 3 years of credit history in the US. You can find more info on the financial aid section of our site here: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/mba/tuition-financial-aid/index.aspx

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 1:58:45 PM)
Abhi--we're looking for well-rounded people for our program and outside academic or work activities can sometimes really add to a candidate's application--it may for example, be where their leadership skills really shine.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:00:15 PM)
Gaurav--we have accepted candidates who have previous graduate business degrees--including an MBA, but the candidate needs to present a compelling rationale for why.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 2:00:40 PM)
Laurie: Most under-grad academic grades vary from University to University and from country to country. Add to that that many countries outside of US (eg: mine) do not provide GPAs. How does the ad com compare and benchmark academic performance?

gaurav puri (Oct 16, 2007 2:00:44 PM)
Thanks a ton Laurie.

abhi (Oct 16, 2007 2:01:19 PM)
Thanks Laurie.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:02:13 PM)
LLU--great question--we ask candidates to explain the grading system to us in their application and don't try to convert to GPA. We will also do research on programs/systems we're not familiar with to fully understand a candidate's academic history.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:02:25 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions everyone!

PR (Oct 16, 2007 2:03:05 PM)
Laurie: Are there international study treks in the MBA program at CMU?

gaurav puri (Oct 16, 2007 2:03:29 PM)
Jeremy: What are the USPs that stand CMU from other b-schools is USA?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:03:44 PM)

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 2:04:02 PM)
Unique Sales Propositions.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:04:43 PM)
PR-- there are international treks including study abroad in Europe and study break treks to other areas including China and Japan.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 2:04:58 PM)
Laurie: I understand that CMU does not insist on a TOEFL if a candidate has earned an under-grad in a Uni where the language of instruction is English. But can giving a TOEFL help corroborate ones academic credentials (assuming one gets a good score) and thereby helping with getting a scholarship or tuition waiver?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:06:51 PM)
LLU--good question, we use TOEFL for evaluating English communication skills and it really wouldn't make a difference in the scholarship review process.

gaurav puri (Oct 16, 2007 2:07:02 PM)
Laurie: Could you please dwell on the GMAT range for the present batch-I mean from the lowest to the highest.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:07:27 PM)
Gaurav--the mid-80% range is 650-760.

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:07:27 PM)
Gaurav: Not sure I want to compare b-schools too much...I have friends at most of the other top schools around the country and most seem to enjoy their programs. One place CMU students stand out is execution. If you come to CMU, you WILL be able to tackle the toughest business problems. I know choosing a program is difficult, but there is something I've been telling first-years when they come to ask for advice on getting into consulting:  I tell them that I was not looking to be a consultant. I was looking for a company where I could work with amazing people who were, like me, committed to making a difference every day. There are lots of consulting companies I didn't apply to because their goals did not fit mine. So when you are searching for a school, make sure you think the other students are amazing and the work they do is interesting and exciting. Otherwise you won't have any fun. And taking two years out of your adult life to go back to school should be fun AND challenging.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 2:08:09 PM)
Laurie: You mentioned that you allow candidates to explain the local grading system in the application itself. Can you let us know where in the application can one elaborate on this?

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:09:27 PM)
LLU--there is a question on the academic info page of the online application that asks candidates to elaborate on the grading system.

kumar (Oct 16, 2007 2:09:47 PM)
Laurie: Hi, I am Indian/Australian, 33 yrs., 720, 12 yrs. in IT. If I apply to Tepper, will I be severely disadvantaged due to my age? Does Tepper accept candidates in 33-35 age-bracket? I am not a career-switcher, but a career-enhancer. As Tepper is strong in IT (Tech), it is one of my top choices.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:12:07 PM)
Kumar--we have a range of experience levels in our MBA program and 12 years is within it. We don't consider age in the admission decision--but if someone has more experience, we're looking for more accomplishments, continued growth in responsibility/scope, etc.

LLU (Oct 16, 2007 2:12:21 PM)
Laurie: How important is international work experience in terms of strengthening the overall application?

JeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:12:28 PM)
For those who want to ask additional questions when the session ends, please feel free to email me at jhasting@andrew.cmu.edu.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 2:12:50 PM)
Thanks Jeremy.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:13:22 PM)
LLU--for those candidates who have had international experience, it can be a plus--depends on how they share that in their essays, how it relates to their goals, etc.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 2:13:28 PM)
Thank you again all for participating. Special thanks to Laurie, Ken, and Jeremy for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you at future chats. On deck:

  • MIT Sloan Oct. 22 
  • Cornell Johnson Oct. 24 
  • INSEAD Oct. 29 
  • Michigan Ross Nov. 7 
  • Wharton Nov. 15

Please check the website (http://www.accepted.com/chat/schedule.aspx ) for exact dates and times.

LaurieStewartCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:13:55 PM)
Thanks everyone for joining today--good luck to all of you and thank you for your interest in Tepper--my email is lstewart@cmu.edu. Thanks again, Linda

peekay (Oct 16, 2007 2:14:06 PM)
Thanks a lot Ken, Laurie, Jeremy and Linda for your time and insightful answers.

Linda Abraham (Oct 16, 2007 2:14:12 PM)
You're welcome.

JeremyHastingsCMUJeremyHastingsCMU (Oct 16, 2007 2:14:21 PM)
Thanks all!! Good luck in the admissions process - work hard on those essays!!

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