For sophomore basketball player and business student Amanda McHenry, studying at Carnegie Mellon University was an easy decision – once she stepped on campus. As one of the new faces on the 2012-13 women’s basketball team, she played a significant role in pushing the program to new heights this past season, even though she wasn’t initially sure whether or not she wanted to play a sport in college.
A lover of both athletics and numbers, McHenry played a variety of different sports while growing up in New Jersey and her initial college search was focused on mostly large schools. That changed when a letter arrived from the Carnegie Mellon athletics coaching staff after her exceptional play in an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball tournament.
“I thought, ‘okay, that’s a good school,’ but I really didn’t know if it would be a very good fit for me,” McHenry said. “My mother suggested I check it out and see what it’s about. As soon as I stepped on campus and met the coaches and team, I fell in love.”
The opportunity to study at the Tepper School of Business was also a significant draw, as the self-proclaimed perfectionist sought to pursue a world-class business education. The undergraduate business program admits approximately 80 students each year and shares faculty with the school’s globally recognized MBA and Ph.D. programs.
The 5-foot-10 guard wasn’t quite sure what to expect during her first year of college, but quickly found that the small class sizes, which encourage interaction with faculty and other students, and opportunities for studying a wide range of subjects offered across the CMU campus presented an exciting academic paring with her athletic interests.
“I’m really happy I decided to come here,” said McHenry.
“I came in thinking I’d (pursue) accounting because I like math and numbers,” McHenry said. “But I was thrown a curveball when I got here and began liking things I didn’t think I would.” After her first year of classes and many insightful discussions with other students and faculty, McHenry is looking forward to learning more about finance and is considering a future career in consulting.
As for basketball, her collegiate career couldn’t have started much better as she played a key role in helping the women’s team finish with 13 overall victories and 5 University Athletic Association victories- their most successful season in a decade.
Thinking back on the year, McHenry said she couldn’t have asked for a better coaching staff.
“Everyone says how they’ve sparked us and are helping to build the program,” McHenry added. “I had a lot of fun. We all worked really hard. We had a successful season and I’m expecting us to do really well in the future.”
Not only is CMU building and fielding competitive teams in several sports, but the student athletes are showing how athletics and academics combine to generate a great collegiate experience.
Women's Basketball at Carnegie Mellon