CMU Tepper MBA Essay: Tips for 2023-2024

Wondering where to start and what to write for your CMU Tepper MBA Essays? No worries, we have all the tips you need to get a nice start on writing a quality essay for CMU Tepper. 

At Menlo Coaching, we noticed that most MBA essays will fall into one of a number of categories: personal essays, career goals essays, and behavioral essays etc. Read ahead for our expert guide on approaching these essays for Tepper. 

The Career Goals Essay (Video)

  • Now, let’s hear directly from you! We know that your career goals are an important part of your decision to attend business school, and we are excited to hear them. Please describe your post-MBA career goals. You have up to 2 minutes to respond to this question.
    • Please be as specific as possible. If you have not yet identified specific companies, that is okay. Just tell us what interests you for your next role or company. What about the industry, company, or functional role is appealing to you?
    • If you have any criteria you are using to evaluate career opportunities, please share those as well. We may have great opportunities to add to your list.
    • How does this post-MBA career goal relate to your long-term career plan?

The Behavioral Essay

  • The Tepper community is dynamic and unique with students who strive to be collaborative, supportive and inclusive. Please provide an example of when you experienced or created an inclusive environment and how you will use that experience to help members of the community reach their full potential. (upload file, 500 words)

The Personal Essay

  • List an interesting fact about yourself that you’d like to share with your future Tepper classmates. (text box, 1 or 2 sentences)

Optional Essay

  • Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application. (upload file, no word limit)

Applying to CMU Tepper

The Tepper MBA application can be difficult and time-consuming, but with these tips and tricks, you can be more confident about one of the biggest parts of your application: the MBA essays. This article will cover how to compose Tepper MBA essays that will fit the criteria for admissions and hopefully earn you a place in Tepper’s graduating class.

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business is a prestigious MBA progarm with renowned faculty and a focus on academic success. Tepper wants to admit students who are intelligent, determined, and prepared to undertake a rigorous curriculum. Further, Tepper has a long affiliation with computer science and related fields such as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Applicants should pay attention to the specific requirements and expectations set out by Tepper’s admissions committee when writing Tepper MBA essays. Through these MBA essays, applicants have a chance to demonstrate their skills, accomplishments, and personal interests.

The Career Goals Essay 

The Tepper career goals essay provides applicants with a place to let the Tepper admissions committee know how the MBA program you want to attend will help you achieve your professional goals. This Tepper MBA essay is a great place to explain why Tepper is truly the best fit for you. 

Interestingly, the Tepper career goals essay is actually a video essay this year, so you need to have clear, realistic, and ambitious career goals, and you will have to articulate them in a way that feels authentic and natural—all in front of a camera.

When it comes to video essays, we have some advice:

  1. Practice—but don’t memorize: it’s always clear if someone has memorized what they intend to say in a video essay verbatim, and this can make your content seem staged and inauthentic. If you find that you’re repeating the same speech over and over again, change the first sentence. You’ll be surprised at how this will throw you off!
  2. Make sure that your setting is appropriate: you want to make sure that your lighting is good and that there are no empty tequila bottles in the background.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly: clear diction can make a big difference when it comes to reviewing your video essay.

Beyond the format, it is vital for Tepper applicants to have a solid plan for their post-MBA career aspirations. First and foremost, this is because Tepper wants its graduates to succeed. However, there are a few selfish motivations for the career goals essay, including the fact that Tepper wants to have an impressive employment report and produce graduates who will become donors someday. Further, the Tepper admissions committee wants to ensure that applicants have a career plan that plays on their past experiences and thus ensures success. They also want applicants with the foresight to develop an alternate career plan in case their first choice does not work out. 

Other things to keep in mind for this essay is the necessity to have a career goal that is both ambitious and practical. Applicants should have meaningful goals that fit with what is offered at Tepper’s MBA program. Along this vein, networking is extremely important when preparing to write your career goals essay. The more you know about the program and how it can help you achieve your personal goals, the better. 

Tepper’s Behavioral Essay

Tepper’s behavioral essay involves demonstrating how you have overcome adversity in real-life situations. This Tepper MBA essay gives you a space to rethink your individual journey towards becoming a collaborative, supportive and inclusive community member. Tepper’s MBA admissions committee wants assurance that you are self-reflective and able to identify a moment in which you have overcome some type of adversity. 

In the Tepper behavioral essay, it is important to be truthful and sincere and to tell your personal story in a compelling manner. You should include as much detail as possible for this type of Tepper MBA essay, discussing your role in an inclusive environment. You should reflect on what this situation taught you and how you might have changed after this experience. Tepper is looking for MBA candidates who can understand how and why inclusivity matters. 

In this Tepper MBA essay, you might want to reflect on what you have learned from and how you contributed to inclusive environments. 

The Personal Essay

The personal essay is a hallmark of most MBA applications. Writing this genre of MBA essay involves divulging information about the core values, morals, and passions that guide your behavior and motivate your decisions. Tepper’s MBA admissions committee wants to know more about the actual people to which they are offering admissions, because each applicant is more than their transcript and resume. 

In personal essays, Tepper’s admissions committee wants applicants to provide information about personal relationships, hardships, and other individualizing information. It is important to provide concrete examples to demonstrate how your values have influenced you in different areas of your life. Further, Tepper wants applicants to demonstrate leadership skills and articulate their reasons for wanting an MBA at CMU Tepper. 

When writing your personal Tepper essay, you should keep in mind that the best strategy for approaching this type of essay is being open and letting your personality shine through. Successful personal statements often include an engaging story told with an authentic voice. Therefore, as long as you are true to yourself, your Tepper MBA essay will be a success.

Optional Essay

Once you’ve completed your application, the optional Tepper essay gives you an additional opportunity to provide the AdCom with any additional information or clarity that you feel would enhance your application.

One trap that MBA applicants fall into is using the additional space provided by this essay to write on a whole new topic. However, this is not always the best idea.

You should only make use of this essay if you what you write will provide context to an element of your application to improve your candidacy—you don’t want to jeopardize your chances by adding unnecessary noise to your application.


Applicants to CMU Tepper should pay close attention to the specific expectations for each type of Tepper MBA essay. Although it may be tempting to look up sample essays and draw from these formats, it is most important to let your personal background guide the construction of your Tepper MBA essays. Menlo Coaching can help you throughout your MBA essay writing process, offering one-on-one coaching and exclusive materials. 

Need help with admissions essays for Tepper MBA? Let us guide you through the prompts and share advice on how to tackle each essay type with our expert MBA Consultants.

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