"…no matter what your background is, you will work hard at Tepper. But if you really want to build your analytical skills, there is no limit to what you can achieve here."

GET TO KNOW ALEX

Award-Winning Audio Engineer. Finance Enthusiast. Avid Cyclist. 

I grew up on a dirt road in rural Vermont, the youngest of three brothers. It’s a beautiful area with a rich history of farming and enthusiasm for the outdoors. I come from a tight-knit community, and I enjoy visiting my parents, who still live in the same house I grew up in. From an early age, my passion has been music, which has shaped my career path. As a musician who was interested in the technical side of music recording, I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. Following graduation, I moved to New York City to work as an audio engineer on pop music records by Christina Aguilera and Shakira, winning a Latin Grammy for my work with the latter. While every person you meet at Tepper comes from a unique background, I will say that I haven’t run into many people who were working on radio music prior to business school.

By the time the studio I was working for relocated to Los Angeles, I was already thinking about my long-term goals and had become interested in business. In the interim, I opened a new location for New York City’s largest bicycle shop, which taught me a lot about entrepreneurialism, leading teams and incrementally improving a business. While I enjoyed working in a retail environment, I knew I could only reach my full potential by pursuing an MBA at Tepper.

It’s often said, and it’s true – Tepper has a completely unapologetic view that its quantitative approach to business gives students an edge in their careers. It's a position that the school has taken for a long time, and as decisions become increasingly quant-based, business itself reflects this stance more and more. I was drawn to Tepper’s forward-thinking, analytical strengths from the outset, but visiting the campus, talking to both students and alumni, was what made my decision easy. It became immediately apparent that this is a purposely compact, tight-knit community; this dynamic has not only enriched my Tepper experience, but will stay with me throughout my career.

TEPPER ADVICE

It is incredible how quickly it goes by. Meet as many people as you can, both in your incoming class and the classes before you. Sign up for things outside your comfort zone. Always say “yes.” You’ll meet some amazing people at Tepper, and the stronger and more diverse those relationships are, the more value you’ll get out of this opportunity.

Take advantage of opportunities to build your leadership skills. While we have a strong reputation as a quant school, the broader focus at Tepper is absolutely on developing well-rounded leaders. I’ve made great use of the Accelerate Leadership Center, which offers vital communication training and feedback, in addition to providing valuable career advice based on your skill set. Student leadership is central to Tepper’s values, and it starts early with nearly all clubs transitioning leadership to first-years within the first five months.

YOUR LIFE + TEPPER

Tepper is very global, with (I believe) 72 countries represented, and I deeply value that diversity. The other day, some of my Japanese classmates held a sushi-making session, just for fun, to help others bond and share their experience. Earlier this school year, Indian classmates hosted a Diwali celebration, which became one of the biggest parties of the year. The culture is very supportive, professionally and personally, which extends from being able to talk one-on-one with any professor, to students gathering to help each other with interview preparation over winter break (an annual class tradition).

One of my favorite experiences thus far at Tepper was winning the A.T. Kearney Global Prize case competition with my team, which gave us the opportunity to fly to Chicago and spend time with Tepper alums at A.T. Kearney’s headquarters, working and presenting to partners at the firm. It was a great learning experience.

I and the majority of my classmates live within a couple miles of the school, so we’ll run into each other on the street or at the grocery store; there’s a real sense of community. And coming from New York City, Pittsburgh’s cost of living is great. I enjoy getting together with classmates, either checking out the superb food scene in Pittsburgh or meeting up to go for a bike ride to exercise and explore the city.