Mixing Business and Pleasure: Reunion Weekend 2014

The events scheduled for Reunion Weekend 2014, which will be held April 11-12, are poised to celebrate the Tepper School alumni community by bringing together business school graduates from around the world and classmates from more than a half century of diploma ceremonies.

The weekend schedule is full of exciting activity. Social events include alumni B**rs, class parties and a celebration at Heinz Field. Networking opportunities include club breakfasts, a recent graduate gathering and break-time tea. For the intellectually curious, there will be a series of high-level presentations and panel discussions given by alumni and distinguished faculty, including Dean Robert Dammon and professor Allan Meltzer, the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy.

Alumni are coming back to the Tepper School for a multitude of reasons, some of which include the chance to see far-flung friends, catch up on what’s happening at the school and enjoy timely faculty presentations. Concurrently, alumni will get the chance to strengthen valuable personal and professional relationships while building new ones.

“My two years at the Tepper School were fantastic, two of the best years of my life,” noted Robert Wu (MSIA ‘99), who will be returning from New York City for his 20th reunion.

As a class volunteer, Wu performed the administrative work for his class Facebook and LinkedIn groups, keeping alumni connected by sending invitations and posting classmate news.

“I got an MBA from a world-class university, but for me, the most valuable thing I obtained are my Carnegie Mellon friends,” said Wu. “I feel a tie to nearly all of my classmates and I think seeing folks gives me the opportunity to maintain and strengthen my friendships. Without reunions, I wouldn’t have these treasured moments with friends who I so rarely see.”

Stuart Scantlebury (MSIA ’74), now a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group, voices much the same sentiment. He will be returning to campus from Boston, and helped to organize an international and professionally diverse group of classmates for their 40th reunion.

“I’m coming back to see the guys I knew back then, to see what the campus looks like now and to get news on what the Tepper School is doing,” he said. “Attending reunions certainly strengthens the relationship with my friends from years ago.”

Scantlebury was also on hand for his 30th reunion, and fondly recalls a special visit. “Going back to the pizza place we used to frequent brought back a lot of memories,” he said.

Tammy Geary (MSIA ’89), now living in Cupertino, Calif., will be traveling across the country for her class’s 25th reunion, her third trip back to Carnegie Mellon.

“I come back to see friends and to learn what’s new at the Tepper School,” explained Geary. “And the faculty/panel discussions are always stimulating.”

She has found Reunion Weekend to be both personally and professionally valuable. Reflecting on one of her previous Tepper School reunion memories, she recalls chatting with a classmate about his work, then seeking his advice when she was later asked to implement the very same process.

Geary volunteered for this year’s reunion planning committee, then formed and led the Class of 1989 Fellowship Fund committee.

“All of our lives were changed by the two years we spent at the Tepper School,” she said. “I want to believe we can change the world in some modest way by helping others through scholarship to achieve the same experience.”

“Being a member of the reunion planning committee was even more rewarding than I expected,” she added.

“The Tepper School was demanding, but in the end, it was my classmates/friends that meant the most to me. Reunions reconnect people as much on a personal level as a professional level. Through conversations and photos, you smile, remembering moments, and the amazing people who were your classmates. Family, work and life demands can take over, and I believe after 25 years, we’re all interested in reconnecting.”

Those who graduated just a year ago are equally enthusiastic to return, like Juhi Dudani (MBA ’13). Now a network services manager for AT&T, Dudani will be traveling in from San Francisco.

“I like to stay involved in the Tepper School community,” she said, pointing out that as our lives become busier, we often do not make time to see even nearby classmates.

As a student, Dudani was active with the class gift committee; they decided to fund this year’s Friday evening networking event, an informal reception where current students can interact with alumni in a small group setting.

She also was involved in student government, developing ties with this year’s students, whom she would like to help by sharing her own experiences as a recent alumna.

While attending student-alumni reunion events last year, Dudani found a networking panel on regional alumni life particularly helpful. “I was able to better understand the alumni set up in the Bay area, some areas where our chapter could be developed and where I could help as an alumna to keep that relationship strong,” she said.

Dudani added, “The main takeaway I would like to share with those who haven’t yet decided to come back is to get in the habit of reuniting with your classmates. Obviously, as time goes on, many things happen in your life and you move on very quickly. We all made a big decision to spend two years of our lives in business school. Be part of the community and maintain that tie — that’s why you chose the Tepper School.”