"Tepper is small but mighty. We’re the underdog you love to root for!"

GET TO KNOW COLLEEN

Former educator and leader. Organizational strategist. Pittsburgh culturist. 

My path to Tepper has been a bit different. I will always be an educator and a student, perpetually learning and growing. I grew up in a Midwestern town, and I come from a very Irish and devout Catholic family, which has framed my experiences. I am also generally a type-B personality. I did not come to Tepper with a quant background in the typical sense. However, my experience in education taught me the value of applying data, as opposed to producing information without meaning. I believe that focus has allowed me to truly value what an equation can reveal, instead of simply knowing or memorizing the equation.

I grew up (mostly) near Toledo, Ohio. Toledo has a bit of an identity crisis, due to our proximity to Michigan. We loved Ohio State, but cheered for all of the Detroit pro teams! I enjoyed living in Phoenix for the past six years, but also spent as much time abroad as possible. I’ve traveled multiple times to Rio de Janeiro, and even lived there for a summer while working at a hedge fund. I majored in Economics in undergrad because I love examining the big picture in order to learn about the details, but I was also inspired by my family in Brazil to study the country’s history and the Portuguese language, which led to my dual major in Latin American Studies.

Having worked for Teach for America, a non-profit, I wanted to pursue my MBA to broaden my experience and learn how a well-functioning organization creates and sustains systems and structures for their customers and employees. I also saw ample opportunity to apply my interest in adult learning to the business world and its tangencies to education. The advanced work of the school’s professors and staff in Organizational Behavior is one of the reasons I chose Tepper for my MBA. I am also continuously impressed with the Accelerate Leadership Center’s ability to provide students with individualized coaching and development with respect to their leadership journeys. Furthermore, Tepper is in Pittsburgh, the city with the most non-profit organizations per capita, which provides me with the opportunity to remain engaged in the non-profit sector.

TEPPER ADVICE

Spend time with your family and friends. I still have the opportunity to do so now, but it was truly a unique experience to be able to live at home with my parents and babysit my newborn niece for the summer before school. I was able to arrive refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for a new challenge because I filled my own cup. Also, save up any extra cash you can – it will help while you wait for the student loans to come in.

YOUR LIFE + TEPPER

I love the food, culture and people of Pittsburgh. Pittsburghers are so welcoming and engaging, and I’m happy to be so close to my family. My boyfriend and I are living in the same city after being long distance for three years, which has been a lovely change. I really like living in Squirrel Hill – it’s a great neighborhood, with plenty of new restaurants to try. Pittsburgh’s cultural scene is wonderful, and I’ve been visiting the city’s many museums. (Students get discounted or free admission!)

I have had the pleasure of being a part of organizations that have shaped my view of the Tepper community, including The Consortium and Tepper Women in Business. My closest friends are people that I have met through these organizations. However, continuing to be involved in multiple organizations has expanded my experiences with all of my classmates, and I know that I can call on anyone in my network if needed. People really want the best for you here. For example, I think it’s rare to see two people helping one another prepare for an interview for the same position, but I’ve seen it first-hand at Tepper. The Consortium, in conjunction with the Career Opportunities Center, helped me to streamline the internships I was pursuing, and coached me on how I presented myself and my experience (resume review, interview prep, etc.). I secured my internship through the National Black MBA Conference in the fall.