Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper MBA Application Overview and Instructions

The Tepper School Admissions Team is committed to helping you navigate the admissions process. 

We have designed the application process to be as easy as possible and look forward to learning more about you.

Are you curious how long it will take to complete each application section? We suggest that you create your essay and goals and then sit down to complete the online form. We provide a time estimate at the top of each page in the online application. 

You'll only need about 30 minutes to complete the entire online application form.

Start by reviewing the application components to get an overview. We ask you to provide a bit of personal, professional, and educational information to get to know you better.

Good luck!

MBA Application Components

Upload a copy of your resume. The purpose of this document is to provide a snapshot of your education and professional achievements in your career. Use a standard (i.e. Times New Roman or Arial), 12-pt. font for your 1-2 page resume.

Pro Tip: It is important to include month and year for starting and ending dates for each position held. If this key information is not included, we will ask for an updated resume, which may delay your application.

Successful applicants will hold a four-year, bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or an equivalent degree from a foreign country. You will provide details of your education for each institution that you attended.

You will upload transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs you have attended or are attending. These may be copies of transcripts that you already have in your possession. However, these cannot be web transcripts. A web transcript is anything obtained from an online student portal, downloaded from your student record, or retrieved online.

Transcripts uploaded during the application process are considered “unofficial.” What makes a transcript "unofficial" is that you have it in your possession instead of us receiving it in a sealed, stamped envelope directly from your university.

Pro Tip: View a sample of a web transcript that you should avoid submitting.

All candidates are required to upload legible, scanned/digitized copies of their unofficial transcripts and degree certificates which include the following:

  • University Transcripts: All transcripts are copies of actual university transcripts (not web transcripts), usually on watermarked paper with a seal, etc.
  • Degree Name: If you earned a degree, the name is on the transcript (i.e. Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, etc.).
  • Degree Conferral Date: If you earned a degree, the date the degree was awarded is on the transcript.
  • Degree Certificate: If you earned a degree and the degree name/conferral date are not on the transcript, you must upload a copy of your degree certificate which includes this information. This cannot be a provisional certificate; it must be final. Still unsure what to submit? See sample degree certificates.
  • Grading Scale: Include for every university so we know what the grades mean. Often on the back of the transcript; otherwise, contact the university to obtain. Still unsure what to submit? See sample grading scales.
  • Official Translation: If the transcript is not in English, upload both the transcript in the original language and the official translated copy so that we can read it.

Pro Tip: If your uploaded transcript doesn’t include all the required information, we will need to contact you to send the missing items, and your application may be delayed.

Pro Tip: Official transcripts (those sent directly by the degree-granting institution) are not required during the application process. Should you be admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts later.

The Tepper School accepts the GMAT, GRE, and Executive Assessment (EA). Successful candidates submitting an EA score will have extensive quantitative academic coursework and/or will have professional experience in a STEM-related field. One of these tests is required regardless of previous advanced academic work or professional experience.

To provide added flexibility for applicants during the coronavirus pandemic, you may submit your test scores:

  • With a two-week extension for submitting the official score. This means that you can submit your application initially without a test score for Round 2.
  • With a self-reported score. Remember to send the official score to the Tepper School through the testing agency. 

Applicants wishing to be considered for the initial application round must submit their official test scores no later than Jan. 24, 2021. Applications will be held until the official scores are received and the application is complete. An application that remains incomplete after Jan. 24 will be automatically moved to Round 3 for review.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to accept the online versions of GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, and IELTs until further notice.

Once we receive the official score, we will update your application checklist accordingly.

Request that the official score is sent to us using the following instructions:

GMAT and Executive Assessment: Select the program that applies:

Full-Time MBA: 69H-XH-99
Part-Time Flex MBA: 69H-XH-02
Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA: 69H-XH-01

GRE Program Code: Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business: 4883

Pro Tip: GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years and must be valid at the time you submit your application.

Pro Tip: If you have taken the GMAT/GRE more than once, report the highest overall score from any one testing date when completing the online application.

All applicants to the Tepper MBA program at the Tepper School are required to submit a GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment (EA) test score with their application as part of our holistic candidate review process. However, the Tepper School realizes that ongoing challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic may impact a candidate’s ability to take the test under normal, standard conditions. For this reason, we are offering candidates the option to apply for a GMAT/GRE/EA waiver with their application.

When deciding whether to apply for the waiver, we encourage you to be objective about your academic preparedness. Please consider the following:

  • Waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Waivers will be evaluated based on mathematical preparedness demonstrated through advanced quantitative classes in undergraduate or graduate work. These classes include, but are not limited to, calculus, linear algebra, and statistics.
  • A waiver decision by the admission committee does not signal an admission decision. The admission decision will be based on a holistic review of the application.
  • Regardless of prior coursework, candidates admitted without a standardized test will be required to successfully complete the Tepper School "Calculus Fundamentals"  course to complete their admission to the program.
  • Test scores are considered in the decision to offer merit-based scholarships. In addition, some employers also consider test scores as part of their initial job applicant screening.

When completing your MBA application, please indicate that you are applying for a waiver request and provide additional information to support your request. Upon submission of your application, the waiver request will be reviewed, and you will receive a response to the waiver request within 10 business days of the application deadline.

Candidates Applying Through the Consortium in Round 2

If you are applying through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), make sure you have read the Consortium application instructions and meet the requirements to submit an application through the Consortium. In addition, if you would like to apply for a standardized test waiver, complete this form by Dec. 31, 2020. If you receive a test fee waiver approval from the Tepper School, forward a copy of the waiver confirmation to the Consortium to complete your application. Upon completion of your application, it will be forwarded to the Tepper School.

Candidates Applying in Round 1

Only admit and waitlist decisions will be made for Round 1 applicants. Any applicant who receives a waitlist decision may complete this form by Dec. 31, 2020 to apply for a test waiver and will receive a response to the waiver request no later than Jan. 11, 2021. If the waiver is granted, previously submitted test scores will not be considered as part of your application and we will reevaluate your application considering the waiver. You will receive an updated admission decision on March 10, 2021.

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, IELTS, or Duolingo exam unless:

  • You attended an undergraduate institution, earning a bachelor’s degree, where the sole language of instruction was English.
  • You earned a graduate degree where the sole language of instruction was English. (Although not required, we do recommend that you take the English Language Proficiency exam.)

You must request that the official score be sent from the testing agency to our program for us to verify the score entered into the application. Request that the official score be sent to us using the following codes:

  • TOEFL Program Code: Institutional Code = 2074; Departmental Code = 02
  • IELTS Program Code: Select Carnegie Mellon and the Tepper School of Business 
  • Duolingo Program Code: Select Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business

Pro Tip: TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years and must be valid at the time you submit your application.

Pro Tip: If you earned a degree from a non-U.S. institution, your academic documents should state that the sole language of instruction for the entire university was English in order to be eligible for a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo waiver. If your academic documents don’t include this, you should upload an official letter from the University Registrar indicating English as the mode of instruction for the entirety of the degree.

There is one required essay for all Tepper MBA applicants (except college seniors):

The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350-500 words.)

College Seniors applying through the Tepper Future Business Leaders should answer the essays provided in the Deferred Admission for College Seniors section.

There also is an optional essay for additional information about your candidacy that you may wish to share with the admissions committee. Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc. However, do not feel obligated to complete the optional essay.

Are you a re-applicant? Use the optional essay to explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

We also ask you a question about your post-MBA career goal as well as an alternative goal as a plan B. Tepper MBAs believe in being prepared!

We require just one recommendation and ask you to select someone with whom you have a professional relationship. Ideally, you would pick a supervisor (current or previous), but someone who can speak to your strengths at work would be best.

We use the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR). The Common LOR is intended to save you and your recommender valuable time by providing a single set of recommendation questions for each participating school. This allows your recommender to use the same answers for multiple letter submissions, alleviating the workload of having to answer different questions for each school multiple times. You benefit because it makes the ask for several different letters to be written on your behalf much easier.

A $200 application fee is required of all applicants. This fee can be paid online using a credit card at the time of submission.

You may earn an application fee waiver by completing Chart Your Path Toward Admission. Please choose the appropriate path to get started

Once you have completed your online application, if you have any supporting documents, they should be uploaded directly to your application via your application status page in the application portal.

If you have submitted all the application components, it isn’t necessary to send anything else to us at this point. Upon admission, you’ll need to send your official transcripts/academic documents. These details will be included in the admission letter, so no need to worry about it now.

Following submission of your application, you may be invited to interview with a member of our MBA Admissions team. Our evaluative interviews are by invitation only and are required.

We begin to invite applicants to interview within one week of the application deadline. However, you may receive an invitation any time prior to the decision notification date.

How We Conduct Admissions Interviews

At the Tepper School, the Admissions team conducts behavioral interviews. The behavioral interview technique is used to review a candidate’s specific experiences and behaviors in an attempt to predict his or her potential for success at the Tepper School.

We are particularly interested in learning about candidates' skills and perspectives on teamwork, leadership, success, and failure. To prepare, we suggest that you:

  • Reflect on and clarify your short-term goals and your transition plan.
  • Think about specific questions related to how you might advance toward your future goals.
  • Identify specific examples when you have worked in a team, led a team, were challenged, succeeded, or learned something new.
You can check out a post by our admissions director, Kelly Wilson, for more interview tips. Also, consider watching our application workshop webinar for tips on how to ace the interview.