Tepper Business School Admissions Interview (cont’d)
What should applicants most heavily emphasize in their work experience?
I think the short answer is making an impact. What difference did this person make in the role that they held? Sometimes it is important to look at not only their contribution as part of a team but also individually what they contributed to the group effort.
Why do you require an employment record accounting for all the time since high school graduation as well as a resume from the applicant?
We really want to see where the person has been spending their time. We want to fully understand the applicant’s professional growth and how a person transitioned from one role to another. Candidates can expect questions about this in the interview.
What specific applicant traits are you using the interview to gauge?
We spend time walking through a candidate’s background and then we ask behavioral types of questions. The interview is important for us to fill in any blanks we have as we review their application. Most of the time we have reviewed the application before the interview. One key objective during the interview is to get an understanding of the candidate’s communication skills. We also like to explore their goals more fully. Another key component of the interview is to give the applicant a chance to ask any questions they may have.
Is it always an admissions representative conducting the interview?
It is always a member of the admissions team who will conduct the interview. We do not have alumni conduct interviews off campus. Members of our admission team travel in the fall and in the spring to conduct interviews. If we cannot meet anyone off campus or on campus, we do arrange telephone interviews as a last resort.
How important is an applicant’s GMAT score?
It is important like everything else is important in the application. When you have a competitive admission process, all the different components of the application weigh heavily on our decision. We don’t have a minimum or cut off score for the GMAT. We look at all the components. We tend to look at the quantitative score first. The overall score is very important and we do pay attention to the analytical writing assessment. We always tell candidates that if they are not satisfied with their GMAT score or feel that it is not their optimum, then we encourage them to retake it. We always use the candidate’s best score when we evaluate their file.
What was the GMAT score range for admitted applicants this year?
The middle 80% range is 640 to 750.
How are re-applicants viewed by Carnegie Mellon and what do they need to do to be successful the second time around?
We keep the process relatively streamlined for re-applicants. They only need to submit supplemental information the second time around. We don’t ask for another application fee. When evaluating re-applicants, there are two levels of review. The first is how their application is competitive to the pool this year or in the year that they are re-applying. The second is we want to see what changed from the time they applied previously. We do provide opportunities for candidates to get feedback and use that feedback to strengthen their application. At minimum we ask that the candidate submit an updated resume and a current letter of reference.
Describe how the financial aid process works and what admitted students can expect in terms of scholarships, assistantships, and loan guarantees.
All of our admitted students are reviewed for merit scholarships at the time of admission. Some candidates who receive scholarships will get notification as part of their admission letter. We recommend that all U.S. citizens and permanent residents complete the FAFSA form and they can apply for various loan programs as well. We do have work study awards that are given as part of financial aid generally in the second year of study.