Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a list of frequently asked questions related to Admissions information at the Tepper School of Business. If you do not see the answer you are looking for below, please contact our Admissions staff.
  • Admissions Information

    Who should apply to the Tepper School?

    Successful Tepper MBA candidates come from a wide variety of backgrounds and profiles. We encourage interested candidates to focus on the middle 80 percent range, rather than the mean or median, when reviewing class profile and considering whether or not they should apply. For example, half of our students have GMAT scores below the average, and although most students have between two and eight years of professional experience, there are several who joined the Tepper School directly after their undergraduate study or have more than eight years of experience. We are seeking candidates from all academic disciplines and generally our class includes approximately 50 percent who come from non-technical backgrounds.

    We like to remind students that the only sure thing to count on in the admission process is that you cannot get in if you don't apply! If you have any questions regarding your candidacy, the admissions team would be happy to speak with you. Feel free to contact us to arrange a meeting with one of our counselors.

    What are the Tepper School admissions process requirements?

    To be considered for admission, you need to submit a complete application portfolio that includes the following documents: online application form; unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended (including the associated grading scales) at both the graduate and undergraduate level; one letter of reference; official GMAT scores; official TOEFL or IELTS scores; affidavit of financial support (only for students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents); current resume; employment record; required essay; and application fee. Our application instructions provide further information on the application process.

    When should I apply? What are the application deadlines? When will I receive my decision letter?

    We keep our deadlines and decision release dates updated online, so our website is the best reference to check on deadlines that keep your process on track.

    Do you weigh some parts of the application more strongly than others?

    No single component in the application portfolio is more important than any other. We view each candidate in a holistic fashion and understand that one area of development may be effectively offset by a strength in another area.

    May I receive a fee waiver?

    While we strongly encourage you to apply, we do not issue fee waivers at the request of the applicant. We understand that the cost of an MBA education is not insignificant and requires financial planning and budgeting for many of our applicants and students. We encourage you to also start early to create your plan as you look towards the near future. All applicants are considered for merit based scholarships at the time of admission review. If admitted, our Tepper School Financial Aid office will work with you as a resource to help you navigate funding for your MBA education.

    If I am not admitted to the program, can I re-apply?

    Yes, we welcome candidates who wish to re-apply in a subsequent year. It is common for us to welcome re-applicants to a new class each fall, and we encourage re-applicants to learn more about the process and our guidelines. If you have submitted an application for the Tepper School MBA program within the last year, you will need to submit a new application. However, we will waive your application fee. Interviews will be granted only at the invitation of the admissions committee based on our review of your submitted MBA application. Note that interview invitations may be extended at any time after you submit your re-application, up until the date in which your admission decision is released.

    How will I receive my admissions decision?

    Our primary means of communicating with all candidates is via email, so please make sure to use a personal email address that you will be able to access throughout the application process. Also, make sure to update your online profile if your email address changes. All admission decisions are released to candidates using our online application system. You will be notified by email when your decision is ready for viewing and you will need your login/password to access your admission decision. A hard copy of admission offer letters will also be mailed to the postal address listed on your application.

    As a non-U.S. citizen living outside of the U.S., will I receive a sponsorship for a visa to enter the U.S. for the Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA program’s Access Weekends? 

    Non-immigrants are ineligible for student visas since the program is part time. However, non-immigrants may enter the U.S. for study under some other visa statuses; we recommend you consult with the Office of International Education regarding this topic.

  • Qualifications

    What does the typical student look like?

    There is no such thing as a "typical" student. He or she does not exist! Although our most recent class has a high proportion of students from engineering/science backgrounds, we are seeking candidates from all academic disciplines. Consider this: in a typical year, approximately half of our students come from non-technical backgrounds. In other words, you don't need to be an engineer to achieve great things at the Tepper School. Remember: the only sure-thing in the admissions process is that you can't get in if you don't apply!

    What is the average GPA?

    You can find the average GPA of our most recent class on our class profile. However, the admissions committee examines the applicant's entire academic record, not just the GPA. We look at grade trends, the major, courses taken as well as the rigor of the program and institution. We encourage interested candidates to focus on the middle 80 percent instead of the mean or median GPA.

    How important is the GMAT/GRE to my application?

    We are often asked about the role of test scores, and we encourage interested candidates to focus on the test score range, rather than the mean or median, when reviewing class profile factors and considering whether they should apply. Consider this: half of our entering class of students have GMAT scores below the median.

    Am I required to take the GMAT/GRE? When should I take the GMAT/GRE? What is the average GMAT/GRE score? Is there a minimum GMAT/GRE score required to apply to the Tepper School of Business?

    All MBA applicants must complete either the GMAT or the GRE. Since both tests are now offered year round, the examination can be taken at any time. However, you should take the test no later than the application deadline for which you are applying. There is no minimum score required for either test.

    What if I take the GMAT/GRE more than once?

    When reviewing your application, our admissions committee always uses your best GMAT/GRE score at the time of application.

    What is the minimum TOEFL score?

    A minimum score of 600 PBT/250 CBT/100 IBT is required for international students entering the MBA program.

    May I waive the TOEFL/IELTS?

    Candidates are required to demonstrate a level of competence in English to meet the admissions requirements of the University. You are required to take a TOEFL or IELTS exam unless:

    • You attended an undergraduate institution, earning a bachelors degree, where the sole language of instruction is English.
    • You earned a graduate degree that was taught in English. Although not required, we do recommend that you take the English Language Proficiency exam. 

    Candidates who are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS must have received their unofficial scores prior to submitting their application. Be sure to request the official scores be sent to Carnegie Mellon University by the testing agency. 

    On average, how many years of full-time work experience do most accepted candidates have?

    Most of our MBA students fall in a range of two to eight years of post-undergraduate professional experience, but there are several that joined the Tepper School directly from their undergraduate program and others that have more than eight years of experience. You can find the work experience average of our most recent class on our class profile. However, all factors are also reviewed and evaluated: the impact a candidate has made on his or her company, growth in responsibility over time, leadership experience, and other factors are used when evaluating experience. 

    Significant professional experience is not a requirement for application to the Tepper School. We recognize that the contributions students make to the Tepper School community come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We seek diversity in all dimensions and welcome applications from exceptionally talented and motivated individuals who may not yet have significant experience. When reviewing an application, the admissions committee is seeking to understand an individual’s potential for professional success and is more interested in the quality of a person's experience. Think about the impact you've already had on your organization, whether you've led a team, a project or an initiative. Be prepared to share examples of your teamwork and leadership experiences.

    Are there any pre-requisites?

    MBA applicants must hold the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree and demonstrate an aptitude for mathematics. Entering MBA students, at a minimum, must have completed one semester of college calculus or demonstrate other evidence of mathematics capability. Candidates who do not meet the math requirements may be admitted with the provisions that they complete the necessary math courses prior to joining the program. We offer a Math Skills Review Workshop during our BaseCamp orientation for students who would like a review before classes begin.

    Do you accept 3-year undergraduate degrees?

    We will consider applicants who hold a 3-year undergraduate degree. In general, due to the highly competitive nature of our applicant pool, candidates with additional education beyond their 3-year degree are more competitive.

  • Admissions Process

    Will I be notified of my application status?

    Applicants who use our online application system are able to monitor their application status online. To check on the status of your application and supporting documents, simply log into the application system of our online application provider (the same link used to prepare and submit the online application).  Scroll down to “Application Checklist” to view the status of your submitted items.

    Why has the school not received my supporting documents?

    There are several likely reasons why supporting documents might take some time to show on the online status. The most common explanations (and steps you can take in advance to ensure arrival of your supporting documents) are:

    1) Time: Due to the large volume of mail that we receive during our application deadlines, please allow 3-4 weeks for your application materials to be processed. As our office reviews and processes the supporting documents, your online status will be updated.

    2) Missing Information:  Many applications are submitted missing critical pieces of information such as grading scales or degree certificates for transcripts or test scores not being sent from the testing agency.  Be sure to read the application instructions carefully to ensure that all required documents have been uploaded/sent to the school.

  • Curriculum

    What makes the mini-semester system unique?

    The mini-semester system — now duplicated by most other top business schools — splits the typical semester in half, creating four mini-semesters per academic year. Each mini-semester is 6.5 weeks long, and students typically take 4 - 5 different courses each mini-semester. This system allows students the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide range of topics, and many unique courses. This format allows students flexibility to choose from among more than 120 electives in 13 areas of concentration.

    What are the degree requirements for the MBA Program?

    All MBA candidates enrolled in the MBA Program complete a required core curriculum in addition to 90 units of electives for a total of 192 units. (Please note that students pursuing a dual degree may have a different total unit requirement). Most business school subjects range from 6 to 12 units based on an approximation of weekly class hours and outside preparation time. 

    The MBA Curriculum is a helpful reference for reviewing course flow and specific core and elective courses as well as timing for Accelerate Leadership Center workshops, internship/job interviewing and Capstone courses.

    What are the different concentrations in the MBA program?

    Most Tepper MBAs choose to pursue 3 - 4 concentrations during their time in school. The concentration options include: Accounting, Communications, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Social Responsibility, Finance, Business Technologies, Marketing, Operations Management, Operations Research, Organizational Behavior, and Strategy.

    What dual degree programs are available at Carnegie Mellon?

    We are constantly seeking ways to tailor programs to meet new demands. At present, we offer several collaborative programs in law, software engineering, healthcare policy, engineering, and public policy. If you are considering a dual degree, please review the details as well as admissions requirements, which differ with each option. 

    Do you accept any transfer credit?

    No. The Tepper School does not accept any transfer credits from any other MBA Program.

  • Student Life

    What resources are available for my spouse/significant other?

    Among the advantages of being one of the smallest schools among the top 20 business schools is the rare, special culture associated with the Tepper School community. We are a tight-knit, collaborative, energetic community that values high performance and standards alongside humility and exceptional collaboration and teamwork. When a new class of students arrives, we ensure that all spouses and partners are included in key orientation events. The role of students' families is vital to a successful academic experience, and we don't take the valuable involvement of partners for granted! From our weekly Friday social hours (nicknamed B**rs) to welcome and award events, Tepper Partners are invited to become involved with many aspects of student life.

    Tepper Partners and their families have access to all Carnegie Mellon recreational facilities, libraries, Partners Club events, and a host of other services designed to ensure that life during grad school is a memorable highlight for students as well as their families.

    What about partners?

    Partners are a very important part of the Tepper School community. We welcome partners to participate in any school activity open to significant others. Also, partners can find an important community and network of their own in the Tepper Partners Club.

    What housing options are available to business school students?

    Tepper MBA students live off-campus. The Carnegie Mellon Housing Office is an excellent resource for locating affordable housing that is close to campus or near the public transportation system. We encourage prospective students to take self-guided tours of the nearby neighborhoods in order to become familiar with what Pittsburgh has to offer and the many affordable options.

    Where do most students live?

    Most students prefer the nearby neighborhoods of Shadyside or Squirrel Hill. Both are convenient to campus, affordable with many retail, recreational, dining and entertainment options. Likewise, these neighborhoods are along the popular bus and university shuttle routes. We often hear visitors remark on the area's affordability. The cost of living in Pittsburgh is well below that of comparable metro regions and is a welcome data point for prospective students! When tallying the investment necessary to attend a top-tier business school, students quickly rate Pittsburgh's affordability as a significant advantage. Likewise, we are proud of Pittsburgh's long-standing rank as one of the most family friendly cities in the U.S. From impressive safety records to plentiful options for both singles and families, Pittsburgh and the surrounding region consistently ranks among the nation's best for its neighborhood offerings.

  • LGBT

    Should I be out in my application essays?

    As with all candidates, the information you include in your application essays is a personal choice. One of our primary objectives is to get to know you better and evaluate how you will contribute to the Tepper School community. If you are comfortable sharing this information with the Tepper School’s Admissions Committee and you feel that your experience as an LGBT individual will help demonstrate your candidacy for business school, we would appreciate hearing your story.  Also, mentioning your participation in LGBT-related clubs and organizations can help show that you are engaged in your community, another attribute we look for in MBA candidates.

    What does Out&Allied do?

    Out&Allied provides a supportive environment to enhance the social, academic, and career experiences of current and prospective lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, allies, and partners at the Tepper School of Business. Out&Allied gives forum for students to voice career concerns as it relates to the work place understanding and acceptance of LGBT individuals. Out&Allied provides this support on campus by promoting respect for the diversity at the Tepper School and the value this diversity lends to our education and future work places. We aim to link the social and professional network of the LGBT Tepper community to similar groups from other business schools and facilitate dialog with employers who value a diverse workplace.

    Can I be put in contact with a LGBT student or alum?

    Certainly. The tight-knit community at the Tepper School is best appreciated upon meeting and talking to our current students. They are not only our best ambassadors, but they are a great resource to find out what it will be like to be a student, to live in Pittsburgh, and to have other questions about the program and culture answered straight-forwardly.

    A current student that might be helpful to you is Derek Jackman, President of the Out & Allied Club.  If you are interested in speaking with an alum, please contact Jackie Jones, Assistant Director of Masters Admissions. 

    Should I be out in recruiting?

    Like many aspects of the search for employment, that is up to the individual student. In our experience, being out has not negatively impacted students at the Tepper School. Each student is encouraged to understand what is important to them on all dimensions, and in exploring career opportunities, to seek employers who are a good match for them personally.

    What if I don't want to be out?

    Although we are able to provide you with a supportive network to discuss personal and professional matters, you certainly do not have to be out at the Tepper School, if you would prefer. This is your personal choice, and we are here to offer you our support, if you should need it.

    Does the University have a nondiscrimination policy which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity?

    Yes. For more information, please read Carnegie Mellon University's Statement of Assurance.

  • Military and Veteran

    As an US active duty soldier or veteran, am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

    Yes, as a GMAC Military-Friendly business school, we will waive the $200 application fee for active duty U.S. military personnel, veterans and retirees. Please contact Andrew Walizer to discuss their fee waiver.

    Does my military experience count as professional experience?

    Yes! You can utilize multiple areas in the application to highlight your military experience. Use specific examples in your essays and interview, give a brief overview in your resume including your titles, and additional details in the employment record. Show your role and growth as a leader by noting promotions and including details such as how many people you were leading or the value of the equipment for which you were responsible.

    Your recommenders can also highlight your roles, skills, and abilities in their letters. Candidates with military experience tend to have strong team and leadership experience (which we are looking for in applicants), so having your recommenders highlight how you performed in those situations adds another dimension to your application.

    Also, we understand if because of security reasons you are not able to provide specific details of certain roles, events or an extended period of time. Please make a note of that in the optional essay of the application if you think that it would be helpful to the Admissions team.

    I have a number of questions and concerns about the application process, the MBA program, career opportunities, etc. Who can I just talk to about this?

    Please feel free to email Andrew Walizer, Assistant Director of Masters Admissions, and he will be happy to schedule a time to talk over the phone. He can also help connect you with current students or recent alumni in the military community.

    What if I am admitted into the program, but then my deployment orders are extended or my release date is pushed back, and I wouldn't be able to start classes on time?

    While we usually do not grant admission deferrals, we feel that this situation is unique, and so we will defer your admission to the next year. Please make sure to contact executive director Kelly R. Wilson so that she can assist you through this process.

    Is the Tepper School participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

    Yes, the Tepper School is participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program under the new GI Bill which assists in meeting the cost difference above the amount provided by the new GI Bill.

    Also helpful for your financial planning would be reviewing your eligibility under the GI Bill as well as using the GI Bill calculator to get an idea of your eligibility in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also offers financial aid and grants to veterans and national guardsman.

    Are there any military scholarships?

    All full-time MBA candidates are reviewed for merit-based scholarships regardless of military status.

    How does the Tepper School assist in transitioning from the military to civilian career paths?

    Many of our students are making a career transition. The Career Opportunities Center (COC) assists in many ways, and they get you started at BaseCamp Orientation before classes even begin.

    They provide you with a suggested road map of tasks and things you should be doing in order to help make your career change successful and make you an attractive candidate for corporate recruiters. You also have the benefit of year-round coaching, mentoring, and interview skills workshops. And the support does not end with graduation, as the COC works with our alumni as well.

    What happens if there is a duty assignment that causes me to miss classes for some period (ranging from a couple of months to as much as a year)?

    We've had students in our program that have been in this situation, and they took a leave of absence. In this situation, you would work with the Student Services office to make the arrangements for your time away and for when you return.

    Does the Tepper School or Carnegie Mellon University have any military support organizations on campus?

    There is a Military Veterans Association on campus started by Tepper School MBA students. Also, second year students and alumni who have military experience help in the personal and professional transition and in positioning your military experience in an advantageous way for recruiters.

    Is there an advantage for a veteran to go full-time versus part-time?

    Both are great options and deciding which program will depend on what will fit you best – keep in mind that our full and part-time programs share the same facility and faculty, and in the end, you graduate with the same degree.  

    Some points to consider:

    We have veterans in both programs. Do you want to work full-time while getting your MBA? The part-time program allows that flexibility. Are your career goals a big transition from your previous experience? If so, the internship component in the full-time program would be advantageous. The Admissions team would be happy to discuss with you further which program might be a good fit for you and your individual goals and situation.

    What are some popular courses of study among military students at the Tepper School?

    Some of the more popular areas among our military students seem to be finance, operations/logistics, entrepreneurship, consulting, general management and the Dual MBA/MSPPM degree with Heinz College. But keep in mind that the flexibility of the program allows you many opportunities to explore and there are a wide variety of electives available — both at the Tepper School and across Carnegie Mellon’s campus. The Tepper School has among the largest offering of electives of any top 10 business school, so feel free to take full advantage.

  • Campus Visits

    May I visit the Tepper School of Business?

    Visitors are always welcome! As a prospective student, you are encouraged to explore our program, campus environment, classroom, student experience and the Pittsburgh region. Campus visitors are welcome Mondays through Thursdays, when classes are in session. Class visits, campus tours, and meetings with students are included when you visit. Schedule a visit today!

    How do I get to campus?

    Traveling to visit us is easy. Learn more about how to get to campus and where to stay.

    If I am unable to visit campus, are there other opportunities to meet in person with the admissions staff to learn more?

    Absolutely! We have an extensive travel schedule where we attend graduate school events, MBA forums and other informational sessions. If you would like to know if we will be in or near your city, check out our events. You are also welcome to phone or Skype to schedule a chat with a member of the Admissions team. Please email us to set up a time.

  • Tuition and Financial Aid

    What is the cost of the MBA program?

    To view complete budget estimates for each of the three Tepper School MBA delivery formats, please view our Tuition and Fees. We encourage students, as part of their budgeting process, to make note of the cost of living associated with Pittsburgh. The difference as compared to other top tier peer schools is material.

    What types of financial aid are available?

    All admitted MBA students (U.S. and International) are considered for merit scholarships using the information provided in their MBA application. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for U.S. federally funded loan programs through the school. Our Financial Aid information provides helpful information about all types of financial aid that is available.

  • Career Opportunities

    What career opportunities are available to MBA students? What are the employment statistics for the recently graduated class?

    MBA students have an excellent range of career opportunities available through the Career Opportunities Center. Corporations recruit heavily at the Tepper School for both internship and full-time positions. Because of the quality of our students and the school’s broad-based curriculum and generalist approach, the business school graduates are welcomed into many functional areas.

    Review our Employment Statistics to learn more about the success of our students and graduates.