“I try to follow my gut at every turn, and that has led to a series of amazing opportunities. I hope I continue to have the courage to do what makes me happy.”

GET TO KNOW ERIN

From Professional Musician to Consultant. Out-of-the-box problem solver.

Growing up, I was very passionate about music and loved playing the trumpet. After graduating from Western Michigan University, I was particularly interested in orchestral trumpet playing, so I came to Carnegie Mellon for a Master of Music degree. It was amazing to study with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

After playing music for most of my life, I was ready to try something completely new. I hoped to work in a field that would leverage my creative thinking abilities and unique perspective, but I knew that I would need to strengthen my understanding of subjects like finance, operations and leadership to be a competitive candidate.

As I applied to MBA programs, I realized that I had strong qualitative skills but needed to work on my quantitative abilities. I knew that the Tepper School’s program would be a challenge but would also set me up to be well-rounded and able to contribute in any field.

In my free time, I love to cycle with friends, run with my dog, garden, attend concerts and travel.

YOUR LIFE + TEPPER SCHOOL

The CMU community is full of energetic and hard-working people. My favorite part is the way in which students support each other through the challenging academic workload.

The Tepper School community is diverse, supportive and dynamic. When classes were intense and recruiting was in full swing, a group of us met regularly at 7:30 a.m. to prepare for interviews. We gave each other cases and behavioral interview questions and commiserated together about our sleep deprivation. I believe that we all did better in the recruiting process because of that routine, and we grew together as a community.

The Career Opportunities Center was always available and helpful throughout my internship search, particularly in helping me craft my résumé and story. The summer before I started my MBA, I was exploring the financial services industry through the Forte Foundation’s FAST Track program. After making a few connections, I secured a first-round and then a second-round interview in investment banking. They passed me through to a third-round interview, which they said would be technical and would test my understanding of financial statements.

I had never even seen a balance sheet or an income statement; I asked Jackie Goslin from the COC for guidance. Jackie was willing to get on the phone with me at 7 a.m. (while I was in LaGuardia airport before my interview) to help me to prepare. The interview turned out to be a great experience, and thanks to Jackie, I felt confident throughout.

Through my leadership role with the Consulting Club, I hope to influence programming to be more participatory and inclusive. Diversity is a huge strength of the Tepper School community. I see opportunities for us to all benefit from an embrace of unique perspectives.

The Tepper School has completely changed the course of my career. Consulting with McKinsey is my dream internship, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Tepper School. It has given me an opportunity to merge my leadership and communication skills with my growing quantitative and analytical abilities.

A Tepper MBA has been the perfect way to make the transition from music into consulting.

TEPPER SCHOOL ADVICE

Networking prior to business school was crucial for me. Connections came through the Forte Foundation, through the Tepper School network and through friends of friends. I was able to create meaningful relationships with people who provided very helpful career advice.

YOUR LIFE + PITTSBURGH

I love Pittsburgh. One of my favorite activities is brunch in the Strip District on Saturday mornings, because of both the atmosphere and the coffee. Another is the Dirty Dozen, a ridiculous bike race held in November every year. The Pittsburgh parks are amazing, too — my personal favorite is Frick Park.