“People at Tepper expect you to be a leader. I’ve always sought out leadership opportunities, but it’s humbling to know that your peers see your potential and want you to lead.”

GET TO KNOW STEPHANN

Engineer-turned-project manager. Explorer. Professional tinkerer. 

When I was 8 years old, my dad asked me to help him change the brake pads on his sports car. He knew I loved that car, and in the process he showed me the inner workings of the brakes. By the time we finished, I was covered in dirt and completely hooked. Soon after, I started drawing cars, trucks and motorcycles – anything that looked cool and went fast. As a tinkerer, the technical aspect of design was a natural fit, and I went into mechanical engineering. My professional background is in product development engineering. In my previous role, I managed relationships across the organization, bringing together the competing interests of stakeholders, to deliver a product to market that met the needs of the customer.

As my career progressed, I noticed a shift in expectations from others. I was rewarded for strong technical skills early in my career, but as I moved through promotions, the expectation shifted to accomplishing more by working through others. I realized that this required a completely different skill set centered on leadership. Additionally, after working on several projects, I came to realize that the best invention in the world means nothing if it never reaches its intended customer. I’ve seen many projects cancelled due to funding, the market or strategy changes, but seldom for technical reasons. Over time, I grew increasingly interested in the business side of product development and decided that I needed to shift lanes.

I came to Tepper with a quant background, and I’ve found that the workload here hits you in waves, but the most difficult waves are weathered early on. I’ve found that Tepper’s name really carries weight in the marketplace. I’ve had several recruiters and high-level managers congratulate me on getting into Tepper and remark that they were not concerned with my technical capabilities. It was like they automatically checked the box and moved on to other areas of discussion. Everyone seemed eager and excited to talk to the guy from Tepper.

TEPPER ADVICE

Start apartment hunting well before June and jump at the opportunity as soon as you find something reasonable. Places are snatched up very quickly.

Make sure to leverage the leadership and career development programs offered by Tepper. I’ve had great conversations with my leadership coach about growth opportunities and specific tactics to generate results. As a direct result, I’ve enhanced my ability to make a positive impact in teamwork settings and increase group productivity.

YOUR LIFE + TEPPER

I love to explore cultures, ethnic foods and new places. I often choose my activities based on whether or not they’re new to me. I am an audiophile and motorsports enthusiast. I’m also a passionate tinkerer and do-it-yourselfer. I’ve found that fixing things that are new to me to be therapeutic because I get to solve a puzzle while learning how something works.

I felt an instant connection with the students I met during Diversity Weekend. I was able to attend social events for current students, so I had a glimpse of the culture in its truest form. The student community is very collaborative and our coursework provides ample opportunity to work in teams. Outside of Tepper, we have weekly meet-ups for happy hour or food specials during the week, and sometimes brunch on weekends.