Tepper School of Business Campus Visit

I had my visit to Tepper on Wednesday, February 24. Overall, it was an interesting visit. I am from Pittsburgh, but this is actually the first time that I have been on the CMU campus.

With no traffic it would take me 35 to 40 minutes to get to CMU; with morning traffic, you never know! I was scheduled to have my class visit at 10:30, so I left my house at 8:30. Traffic actually wasn’t too bad and I was in the parking garage by 9:45. I had a little time so I took a brief walk around the campus. I got to the admissions office around 10:05. I was the first one there and they had a packet of information prepared for me. I read through this information as I waited for the other prospective students and current Tepper students. Shortly after, a first year student came in to talk and answer any questions. This format was pretty similar to Kenan-Flagler’s. There were only five prospective students visiting. Of the five prospective students, I was the only one applying for entrance in the Fall of 2011. All of the other prospective students were interviewing as R2 candidates. They were all in suits and I was in business casual (dress pants, buttoned shirt, and sweater). I felt very comfortable in that attire because I blended in with the students.

Class Visit
A student came to the admissions office and brought another prospective and me to class. We didn’t get an option in the class we were sitting in on. The admissions office scheduled us to sit in on a Macroeconomics class…. My first thought was Macroeconomics is not the most thrilling class to sit in on! Nonetheless, it was interesting as they discussed yield curves during class. There was a good interaction between the professor and the class. However, it was tense a few times as students challenged the professor on topics they didn’t agree with. I liked that the students expressed their opinions and tried to spur discussion. Overall, it was an interesting class but I would have preferred to sit in on a strategy, marketing, or finance class.

This was by far the best part of the campus visit. The tour guide was a second year student that was extremely outgoing and was very thorough! He showed us Posner Hall (the b-school building) and also took us around to other buildings on campus. He was extremely knowledgeable about CMU. He knew a lot of interesting facts. I asked him if he took a history course on CMU because he knew so much! Posner Hall was pretty nice and it seemed like the students were very collaborative. I didn’t feel there were enough study/group rooms in Posner Hall though. However, the library is very close by, so I guess it really isn’t a big issue. The one thing I liked about Tepper was that the business school was really part of the campus. At Kenan-Flagler, the business school building is kind of by itself, away from the rest of the campus. At least that is how I felt.

Three students took the five prospective students to lunch. The food was good, but we didn’t eat in the regular cafeteria. The students said we were only eating there because it was a campus visit and they don’t typically eat there. I spent most of lunch talking with two of the students. I had the opportunity to ask a lot of my questions. One thing the two students agreed on is that the mini (7.5 week classes) is good and you learn a lot, but it is too much sometimes. They felt like the school is just forcing too much on you. The other thing that was disappointing was that Tepper was a fall back for the two students. They didn’t get into their top choices, so they really had no choice but to go with Tepper. At least they were honest, but not necessarily something a prospective student wants to hear. I went on to ask some questions about recruiting. Both students were still interviewing for internships. It sounds like the recruiting on campus is down and the two students were doing a lot of searching for positions on their own. Overall, I was glad I had lunch with these students because they were brutally honest. At Kenan-Flagler, it seemed like the students were brainwashed to only say good things about the school.

On the way back to the admissions office from lunch, one of the prospective students was bragging about his GMAT score because he scored in the 99th percentile in verbal. The current students were visibly agitated with him for this. I just included this as a note to all prospective students, DON’T DO THIS!

Coffee with second year student
After lunch, I met with a second year student that worked at my company as an intern during the summer. We went to the library and grabbed a coffee and talked for an hour. It was great to be able to meet with him and ask him some questions about Tepper as well. He was very honest with me. From our conversation here are a few key points:
• He is an international student and recruiting on campus wasn’t very helpful for him. He has been searching on his own to try and find a job.
• Tepper wasn’t his top choice either.
• Tepper’s tuition is very high in relation to its ranking.


Ellipsing My Way...to Business School said...

i can definitely see how hearing those students say that Tepper wasn't their first choice can be disheartening. But like you said... at least they were honest.

i've never heard someone brag about their score... even if they've done well i've only heard people say "i did well".. it's like salaries... you don't talk about it hahah it's the unspoken rule

if their classes are 7.5 mini weeks how many are there in a semester? or do they go by trimester?

after visiting is it still on your short list?

Dave M said...

Yeah, I couldn't believe the guy was bragging about his score... He also talked about how he was dinged from HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg. I think I have an idea why he was dinged!

There are two 7.5 minis in a semester. So if you took 4 classes in a mini, you would take 16 by the end of year 1. If you took 5 classes in a mini you would take 20 by the end of year 1. It does seem like a lot for such a short time.

For now, Tepper is still on my list because it is only the second school I have seen. That could change after I see Darden and Fuqua in the next few months.

Biker317 said...

"He also talked about how he was dinged from HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg"

LOL I guess common sense not that common after all. talk about creating a first impression

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