Carnegie Mellon MBA: Everything to Know Before You Apply

Ah, Carnegie Mellon. The name has quite a ring to it, doesn’t it? Carnegie Mellon, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, houses the Tepper School of Business, whose full-time program is currently ranked #16 in best business schools by US News and World Report. US News ranks the part-time program as #7, and the online Carnegie Mellon MBA as #1. (Additionally, Carnegie is in Magoosh’s very own top 25 MBA list!)

This means Carnegie Mellon is a very competitive business school, so if you’re considering getting a Carnegie Mellon MBA, you’ll need to be a strong candidate to get in. Tepper accepted just under 28% of the applicants for its class of 2022. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the program before applying, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide covering what you need to know to put your best foot forward.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of getting into the Tepper MBA program!

Carnegie Mellon MBA Class Profile

First things first: let’s look at the data on who Carnegie Mellon is accepting.

The most recent class profile for Tepper School of Business is for the class of 2022. Here’s a quick overview of what that class looks like, starting with Carnegie Mellon’s MBA acceptance rate:

Acceptance Rate27%
Class Size141
GMAT (Average)680
GMAT (Middle 80%)626-730
GPA (Average undergraduate)3.32
Average Work Experience5.4 years
Women25%
International Students28%
U.S. Minorities48% (19% underrepresented minorities)
LGBTQ6%

As you can see, you’ll have to be a strong candidate to get into Carnegie Mellon, but we believe in you! Now, let’s take a look at the actual application process.

Carnegie Mellon University

How to Apply to CMU Tepper

Review Tepper’s Mission and Values

At the heart of Tepper’s values is a “data-driven future” and, according the admissions department, Carnegie Mellon “prize[s] a growth mindset, an enthusiasm for collaborative approaches to problem-solving, and an openness to joining a diverse and supportive community where everyone feels free to be their full selves.” Furthermore, they note that the admissions process reflects these values, meaning they’ll be looking for you to showcase them in your application materials.

To put it simply, the Carnegie Mellon admissions committee will want to see the following reflected in your application:

  • An appreciation for data acquisition and application
  • An open, ever-evolving mindset
  • A collaborative approach to learning and problem-solving
  • A desire to be part of an authentic and diverse community

Necessary Application Materials

According to the Carnegie Mellon application instructions, the entire online application should only take about 30 minutes total to complete.

Here’s what you’ll need to collect and complete to apply:

Resume

Admissions would like to see a 1-2 page snapshot of your education and work experience, and asks that your resume be submitted in standard 12-point font such as Times New Roman or Arial.

Education requirements and transcripts

CMU Tepper requires you to hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the United States or a comparable degree from a university in another country. You must also have completed a college-level calculus class with a B or higher. Finally, you will be asked to upload copies of scanned/digitized unofficial transcripts (see pointers on uploading transcripts correctly here).

Official test scores

Tepper accepts official scores for the GMAT, GRE, and EA (executive assessment). If you submit EA scores, you must also demonstrate extensive quantitative coursework and have STEM-related professional experience. See this page for instructions on requesting your scores and obtaining official school codes. Note that scores for these exams remain valid for 5 years and must be valid when you submit them.

English language proficiency exam

If you did not earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from school where English was the only language of instruction, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo exam and providing official scores. Again, see this page for further instruction.

Essay and goals

There is one standard essay prompt that the Tepper application requires:

“The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350-500 words.)”

You may choose to complete an optional essay providing any additional information you think is relevant to your candidacy. For example, you may wish to discuss resume gaps, the broader context of why you chose your professional recommender, the ways in which you are now a stronger candidate than when your previously applied (if you have applied before), etc.

Lastly, if you’re a senior undergraduate student applying through Tepper Future Business Leaders, you must also complete an additional essay prompt.

And while this isn’t an essay, per se, the online application will ask you about your professional goals upon completion of your Carnegie Mellon MBA.

Professional recommendation

You are only required to submit one professional recommendation to Tepper, and it should be from someone who knows you well professionally, for example, a current or former supervisor. Tepper uses the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR), which asks your recommender a series of questions about your strengths as a candidate.

Application fee

A $200 fee is due at the time of online application. Just a quick word on the application fee: while $200 may seem like a hefty amount to shell out, this is actually less than most programs and is intended to encourage very serious applicants only. Also, though they’re awarded to only a very few number of students, Waiver applications for the full-time MBA program and the part-time MBA program are available.

FYI, $200 is less than the fee at a lot of top schools, and all of the top ten other than UC Berkeley – Haas. Waivers are rare; schools are limited to 10 in any 12 month period.

Supporting documentation

You will have the opportunity to provide supporting documents as a part of your application, but really, if you’ve supplied everything else on this list, there’s probably not much else to submit. If you are accepted, you will be required to send your official transcripts and other official academic documents.

Evaluation interview

You will have the opportunity to provide supporting documents as a part of your application, but really, if you’ve supplied everything else on this list, there’s probably not much else to submit. If you are accepted, you will be required to send your official transcripts and other official academic documents.

Review Special Instructions

On top of your standard application, you may experience special circumstances that require additional materials and action. Examples of special circumstances include an international student applying for the part-time program, a reapplicant, or a Consortium applicant.

Tepper MBA Program Overview

As we noted before, among the most important of Tepper’s values is its commitment to a data-driven future. Make no mistake, CMU Tepper is a STEM MBA program.

What does this mean, exactly? According to Tepper, a STEM designation reflects, “the program’s analytical, data-driven curriculum with roots in management science.” In other words, if you’re looking to earn an MBA that is highly focused on the intersection of business and technology, this program is for you.

According to GMAT expert Cara Skikne, Senior Editor at Studyportals and former writer for GMAC’s BusinessBecause:

“[A STEM program] will have a more analytical focus than many general MBAs. You should therefore have some elements in your application that demonstrate your analytical abilities. The admissions committee would want to be comfortable that you can cope in classes.”

If you feel that a STEM MBA is right for you, then the next step is to choose which Tepper MBA program is the best fit. You should consider what your home life, work load, and schedule in general look like, and choose the program you believe will best foster your academic and long-term professional success.

Full-time MBA

You can read more here about the Full-Time MBA; here are some of the highlights:

  • The whole program is on-site
  • The program runs Monday-Thursday, from September to May
  • There is a required summer internship
  • The program runs a total of 21 months
  • There is a full range of career services included
  • Scholarships are available

Online Hybrid

Tepper also offers a Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA.

  • The program runs year-round
  • There is a large variety of online courses from which students may design their curriculum
  • There are six mandatory “Immersive Access Weekends” to attend in person over the course of the year
  • The program is 32 months total
  • Career services are included
  • Scholarships are available

Part-Time Flex

Another option is the Part-Time Flex MBA.

  • Online and on-campus courses are offered
  • This is a year-round program
  • There are six required on-campus weekends
  • The program runs 32 months
  • All career services are included
  • Scholarships are available

What is Carnegie Mellon MBA known for?

We already touched upon this, but the Carnegie Mellon MBA is known for its STEM program. In today’s rapidly changing technological landscape, a STEM MBA will put you at the leading edge of the fintech and data driven realms of the business world.

However, CMU – Tepper also has a reputation for its highly interdisciplinary curriculum. You are allowed and encouraged to take classes in Carnegie Mellon’s other six schools, all of which are also internationally renowned. This program is designed to make you as well-rounded of a leader as possible.

Additionally, Tepper’s is the #1 ranked online MBA program in the United States! If you’re thinking about getting an online MBA, you’d be attending the best of the best!

And finally, if you attend in-person, this program is in Pittsburgh, which is a vibrant, diverse city with plenty of fascinating history, networking opportunities, and proximity to the East Coast.

Happy applying and good luck!

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Authors

  • Nadyja Von Ebers

    Nadyja von Ebers is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. Nadyja holds an MA in English from DePaul University and has taught English and at the high school and college levels for twelve years. She has a decade of experience teaching preparation for the AP exams, the SAT, and the ACT, among other tests. Additionally, Nadyja has worked as an academic advisor at college level and considers herself an expert in all things related to college-prep. She’s applied her college expertise to posts such as UCLA Admissions: The SAT Scores, ACT Scores, and GPA You Need to Get in and A Family Guide to College Admissions. Nadyja loves helping students reach their maximum potential and thrives in both literal and virtual classrooms. When she's not teaching, she enjoys reading and writing for pleasure and loves spending time in or near the ocean. You can connect with her on LinkedIn!

  • Thomas J. Miller

    Few people are as familiar with the ins and outs of the GMAT's sections as is Tom Miller. Since 1995, when the exam was pencil and paper only, Tom has designed, taught, and edited programs for several international test prep companies and MBA programs to address each change in the exam’s content and format. His students have gone on to graduate from many of the world’s top MBA programs.   Tom has authored an acclaimed GMAT grammar crash course, “Verbal Boot Camp”, and has a long track record of helping the “math-phobic” successfully get their scores up to the level required to succeed in business school. He has also helped many students get the superior scores required for scholarships and admission to the world’s top MBA programs.   Tom’s business school experience goes beyond the particulars of the GMAT. He has taught Economics and Statistics as an Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor at the Butler University MBA program and taught Business Business Law at Stenden University in Qatar, where he was the faculty Senior Lecturer.   Tom has won numerous awards for his publications on leadership, core values, and peak performance in “Proceedings” of the US Naval Institute and is the first enlisted man to win the Navy League of the United States’ Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement.   Tom holds degrees in English, German, and Art History from Indiana University, and a law degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of law. You can connect with him on LinkedIn for further information.

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