Posted on September 29, 2023

CMU Tepper MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2023- 2024

CMU Tepper

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Tepper School of Business of Carnegie Mellon University seeks candidates who will enrich its tight-knit community and are interested in a highly analytical course structure.

From Tepper WebsiteThe vision of CMU Tepper is to create value for business and society by providing intellectual leadership, advancing the science and practice of management, and developing ethical leaders to be the agents of change in a world driven by technology and innovation.

Application Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decision Date
Round 1 October 02, 2023 December 06, 2023
Round 2 January 08, 2024 March 06, 2024
Round 3 March 04, 2024 May 08, 2024
Round 4 May 06, 2024 June 05, 2024

All deadlines are 11:59 PM Eastern Time (U.S.)

Note for international applicants: Round 3 is the final round that you can apply for the full-time program.


There is one required essay (maximum 500 words) for all Tepper MBA applicants (except college seniors). There is no change in the essay question. Like last year, Tepper asks applicants about their experience in an inclusive environment. Additionally, applicants will submit a video about their post-MBA goals. The applicants can also write an optional essay to provide additional information about their candidacy.

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.

Business schools value diversity, equity, and inclusion in MBA admissions. Therefore, more and more schools, such as Darden, Haas, and Wharton, to name a few, are asking for diversity essays to ensure a great educational experience for students from diverse religions, demographics, ethnicities, cultures, or sexual orientations. To brainstorm ideas for this essay, reflect on times when you worked with people from different cultures, geographies, races, and skill sets in your personal (at school/ college) or professional life. Then, ask yourself these questions: Did you encourage and respect people who are different from you? Did you take conscious steps to promote inclusion? If yes, how did you do it?

Perhaps you helped a person from a different sexual orientation or cultural background feel welcome and accepted into the team. Or maybe you grew up in a multicultural environment that made you culturally adaptable and open-minded, naturally enabling you to promote DEI at work.

This question has two parts:

1. Your experience/ story where you promoted DEI

2. Your potential contribution in this area to the Tepper community

To organize your ideas, provide context about your perspective on DEI. Then, narrate an experience about how you have supported diversity and inclusion at the workplace or in your personal life. Since the essay prompt doesn't specify the type of experience, feel free to choose a personal or professional experience or community involvement.

As always, we recommend using the STAR method to organize your story's details. STAR stands for Situation/ Task/ Action/ Result.

Situation: Provide context to your experience. What was the situation? Was there a crisis, a conflict, a challenge, or a problem?

Task: If so, what was the requirement? What was expected of you?

Action: What steps did you take? What challenges did you face, and how did you deal with them?

Result/ Outcome: What was the outcome of your experience? How did it impact someone's life? How is the experience meaningful to you?

In the second part of the essay, please explain how you plan to leverage that experience to help members of the Tepper community reach their full potential. Think of different ways to promote inclusivity as a Tepper student and alumnus. Again, a thorough knowledge of Tepper's resources is crucial to composing an authentic response to your potential contribution to Tepper's small, tight-knit, and supportive community. You can organize your details by allotting 50-60% of the essay to the background and diversity story and 40-50% of the essay to how you see yourself contributing to the community.

Video Essay: Goals

We know this is an important component of your decision to attend business school. We take it seriously as well. Please describe your post-MBA career goals.

It would be helpful to consider the following information in your response:

  • 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 appeals 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?

In this portion of your MBA application, you will record a video for the Ad Com to discuss your post-MBA goals. To prepare, it is essential to create a script and practice speaking confidently in front of the camera. Here's how to go about it:

Step 1: Define Your Post-MBA Goals: Start by identifying the position you aspire to hold immediately after completing your MBA. Be specific about your role, function, and industry, and pinpoint 1-2 organizations/ companies you aim to work for.

Step 2: Articulate Your Goal and its Significance: Then, articulate your goal and explain why this goal is exciting and vital to you and how it aligns with your professional and personal values. Please note that your post-MBA plan should show a logical progression from your professional experience, current skill set, and the skills and knowledge you expect to gain through Tepper MBA. Also, your post-MBA goals should be ambitious and realistic, propelling you to your long-term aspirations.

Please go through the following blog to learn about the mistakes you should avoid in your goals essay:
Avoid these 13 Common Mistakes in Goals Essay

Practice is key to delivering an effective video essay. Since this is a recorded presentation, investing time in rehearsing and speaking confidently in front of the camera can make a significant difference in the quality of your essay.

For valuable tips on preparing video essays, you can refer to our blog post:
Helpful Tips to Ace Video Essays

Optional Essay

Use this essay to convey important information you may not have been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc. However, do not feel obligated to complete the optional essay.

If you are a reapplicant, use the optional essay to explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

An optional essay is an opportunity to give the Ad Com relevant information you may not have found a place in any other parts of your application. In addition, the optional essay is a great place to address extenuating circumstances, meaning you should explain any weaknesses in your profile. For example, if you have a lower-than-average GMAT score, grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or a significant employment or education gap, you can explain it in this essay. Also, if you cannot obtain your recommendation letter from your current supervisor, please explain that in the optional statement.

To provide context for a weakness in your profile, make sure your reason is genuine to convince the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Your response should be positive, straightforward, and fact-focused and not sound like you are making excuses for your weakness. Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality. For example, if you are discussing your employment gap, you may explain that you did something productive during that period, such as traveling, volunteering, or handling a family medical emergency.

In case you do not have any weakness in your profile, but there's a significant aspect of your profile that you haven't had the chance to highlight in other parts of the application, seize this opportunity to share that vital information. For example, if you have done considerable community work, have a compelling leadership story, or have an entrepreneurial experience you did not get a chance to showcase anywhere else, you can elaborate on it in your optional essay. Since Tepper asks for only one required essay, we highly recommend submitting an optional essay.

To explore the reasons why you might consider writing an optional essay, please refer to our blog post:
12 Reasons You Should Write an Optional Essay

Tepper does not ask for a separate re-applicant essay, so if you are a re-applicant, you will also use this essay to explain how your candidacy has improved since your last application.

Please read our blog on 11 helpful tips to craft a reapplication strategy:
11 Helpful Tips to Craft a Reapplication Strategy

Free Resources

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About MER (myEssayReview)

Poonam Tandon, the founder of MER (myEssayReview), is a Ph.D. in English with 12 years of MBA consulting experience and three decades of teaching experience in India and the US. A master storyteller, Poonam has successfully guided hundreds of students worldwide to gain admission into the esteemed MBA, EMBA, and specialized Masters's programs in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Throughout her four-decade-long professional career, she has reviewed 10,000+ essays written by applicants worldwide. Poonam is recognized as one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club (143 reviews).

Do you have questions about your application for the 2023-24 application cycle? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.