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2014-15 Tepper MBA Essay Tips

Tepper MBA Essay TipsTepper School of Business has released the essays for 2014-15 MBA admission season. There are two essay questions with 300-word limit each, which comes to roughly 2/3rd of a page for each question.

Essay 1: Describe a defining moment in your life, and explain how it shaped you as a person. (Maximum 300 words)

AdCom wants to know the foundation of your value system.

Did individuals or events influence it?

Most applicants will have moments of epiphany through life events, both negative and positive. It can be death of a close friend; standing up for what is right and achieving something greater that what was anticipated, or overcoming an impossible challenge.

What changed after that event?

Did it change how you looked at life and outcomes?

Did it build resolve in every action you took?

Did it change how you looked at challenges?


List at list 10 important moments in life, and pick the one that can be easily articulated in 150 words, supported by how it shaped you as a person in the next 150 words.

Some Examples worth considering:

• Funded a sibling’s education
• Turned around a non-profit from a bad financial year.
• Recruited and organized a large group of volunteers for a green initiative
• Learned Spanish and spoke in a Latin American conference.
• Travelled to Africa and volunteered for the build-a-home project
• Travelled to flood affected region, and lead a group of volunteers

The options are many if you dig deep. Even the not so spectacular initiative can be articulated as a life defining moment if the event has truly changed you as a person.

Essay 2: Based on your research and interactions with the Tepper community, please share why you are a good fit with the Tepper MBA program. (Maximum 300 words)

The school expects you to interact with current students, alumni, and MBA Admissions team before writing this essay. Make sure that you meet with at least one current student. If you are an international student connect through skype, and get to know “What it is like being in Tepper?” – the class experience, the campus, the community initiatives, the academic rigor, and the opportunity to network with recruiters, and other like-minded MBAs.

Before you explain the fit, you should define a clear post-MBA goal. If you are looking at consulting as a job function, demonstrate how you used your listening and mentoring skills for solving problems in the past, and how the courses offered in Tepper MBA program would be useful for your consulting initiatives in the future. The pre-MBA experience and post-MBA goal should be in alignment. 32% of recruitment happens in consulting. Therefore, pick a niche within consulting: technology, management, financial or strategy.

More than what you want to achieve with an MBA, you should also explain how you will contribute for the student clubs that include Alpha Club, Biopharma & Healthcare Club, Business and Technology Club, Consulting Club, Energy Club, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, Graduate Finance Association, Marketing Club, Operations Management Club, Tepper Sports Business Club.

The clubs play a key role in facilitating opportunities in the chosen job function, and as a member, you can coordinate seminars, workshops, and even offer your speaking time in subjects where you had considerable experience. Perhaps, you offered consulting service for a start-up in a niche domain. Your can share the experience through a speaking engagement. If you had demonstrated that you were good at managing events, you can specify how you will help the club organize events beyond what is being done now. To learn how to improve the activities organized by current student body members, you have to contact the member responsible for each club separately.

Student Clubs Full list here


Don’t interact with the club members as a consultant but learn how they organize events. What more can you add to the list of events? Can you use your personal contact to widen the initiative? Mention that in your essay. The admissions team is looking for specific answers about your contribution not general improvement strategies.

Tepper MBA students choose from six career paths: Consulting / Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Operations & Technology. Align your career path accordingly.

Next Step

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