Tepper Business School, Carnegie Mellon University (I)

CMU is the university where Dr.Lee Kaifu(李开复) got his computer science PhD degree. Dr.Lee is an amazing person and a role model for all chinese students, especially those who are in the major of computer science.  I studied computer science and have followed Dr.Lee’s news and stories since i was a university student.  After his dazzling career with the most prestigious high-tech companies, Dr.Lee chose to found his own company, Innovation Works, a VC-style company that help young entrepreneurs to found their own companies. Dr. Lee is the captain of the ship and he is the mentor of all these ingenious software programmers and entrepreneurs. It’s said that Dr. Lee and his company received thousands of CVs everyday and even a lot of young talents are willing to work with him and in his company without getting pay. No doubt about his influence in China within IT industry and among university students.

CMU is a well-known university in US, even though it has small campus and student enrollment. Also it has fewer colleges than other top-ranking universities. However almost all the majors provided by CMU are ranked highly in specialties ranking.  The most famous is its World No.1 computer science major

So what about its business school, Tepper business school? I have a description from 3rd party about Tepper attached below. With my computer science background, I was immediately drawn to Tepper’s analytical approach and management science, which it invented and introduced first among all business schools.  Tepper is the school I’d like to apply to. Even though its essays for 2011 enrollment haven’t been released yet, i have finished my first drafted answers to its old essays. I will give an analysis in next session.


Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program is highly analytical, as quantitative rigor is integrated throughout the entire curriculum. The school’s proper name—Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration—invokes images of a program turning out leaders for the manufacturing sector. Although this is partially accurate, the school is also well-known in finance circles, where Carnegie Mellon grads’ quantitative skills are also highly prized.

While many schools have a minimum math requirement for applicants, Carnegie Mellon expects its applicants to have at least completed one college-level calculus course along with another high-level course in calculus, statistics, or linear algebra. Don’t worry, you can take a course part-time before enrolling, but realize that quantitative skills are something that will have to come through in your application no matter what discipline you want to pursue. Also, more than half of each full-time class holds an undergraduate degree in a technical major. Make sure that you’re capable of keeping up with applicants that have computer science and engineering backgrounds (if you don’t have one yourself). This capability will mostly be represented in your GMAT score, your undergraduate studies, and your previous work experience.

The school’s emphasis on analytical abilities is apparent in its core curriculum. Required courses in Probability and Statistics, Decision Models, and Operations Management have the usual dose of quantitative lessons. But classes such as Finance and Economics also have a heavy dose of analytics. One unique feature of the program is its mini-semester system. Students have four mini-semesters a year, instead of the more typical two-semester system. Starting in the spring semester of their first year, students can begin taking electives at the business school as well as at Carnegie Mellon’s other schools. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge in such fields as biotechnology or computer science while earning your MBA, explore and consider discussing these opportunities. They provide great ways for you to demonstrate fit and enthusiasm for the flexibility of Carnegie Mellon’s program.

Carnegie Mellon also touts its practical, hands-on approach to learning, exemplified by its Management Game, a highly involved computer simulation that runs from the last mini-semester of the first year through the first semester of the second year student teams each run their own simulated business, making decisions affecting operations, finance, marketing, and labor relations. Admitting a level of realism to the game, each team is assigned a board of directors, comprised of local business leaders. Teams also practice contract negotiations with local labor leaders and consult with law students at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Management Game requires not only superior quantitative skills, but also strong communications and teamwork abilities, both of which the school also looks for in its applicants. If you are an applicant coming from engineering or an otherwise technical background, be sure to bring out the teamwork dimension in you application. Carnegie Mellon values strong thinkers, but values most those strong thinkers who can turn in- sights into action.

Nearly half of the 2002 graduates pursued careers in finance, especially corporate finance in the manufacturing sector. Healthcare is also a popular choice for graduates (including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology). Carnegie Mellon alumni are also active entrepreneurs, and the school looks for entrepreneurship traits in its applicants. If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, discussing them in your essays and during your interview can be a great way to establish fit with what the school looks for in its applicants.

You won’t find any majors at Carnegie Mellon, or any academic departments for that matter. The school promotes an interdisciplinary approach to learning, encouraging faculty members from different fields to teach courses together. The result is a fairly broad approach to management education. While students can choose from concentrations in 12 different subjects, most tend to choose multiple concentrations, further broadening their learning. While Carnegie Mellon’s deep analytical focus makes it very different from other general management programs such as Harvard or Darden, keep the school’s interdisciplinary philosophy in mind as you build your application story.


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