Carnegie Mellon University

MBA Application Essay Questions and Recommendation

Your essays and letter of recommendation are great ways for us to get to know you.


Below, you'll find information about our essay questions, the questions your recommender will answer, and a few guidelines and suggestions.

Required Essay

At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, we value our community and it is important for each person to contribute to its success. What difference will you make as a member of the MBA class at the Tepper School? (Maximum 350-500 words.)

Optional Essay

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.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

Letter of Recommendation

We require just one recommendation and prefer that you select someone from your professional life. Ideally, you will pick a supervisor (current or previous), but someone who can speak to your strengths at work would be best. When you complete your application, submit contact information for your recommender and we will email them with a request to submit their recommendation online.

We have partnered with the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) on the GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR). The Common LOR is intended to save you and recommenders valuable time by providing a single set of recommendation questions for each participating school. This allows your recommenders 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 asking for several different letters to be written on your behalf much easier. In addition, translated copies of the standard questions are available in several other languages that you can provide to your recommender as support.