Carnegie Mellon University

Laura Stearns | Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA | Class of 2018

Supply chain business analyst. Efficiency engineer. Offbeat traveler.

Throughout college, I knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA to combine a formal business education with my engineering degree. I originally chose general engineering for my undergraduate studies because I liked math and science, but I switched to industrial engineering upon realizing how much I enjoyed the combination of engineering, business and the "human factor."

After a few years of work experience, I knew that it was the right time to begin an MBA program and expand my skills. There are several reasons why I chose Tepper. I was initially drawn by the strong analytic distinction of Tepper and the concentrations offered. I liked that the part-time online hybrid degree is the same as that earned by full-time students, and that all of the services available to full-time students (i.e. career support, Accelerate Leadership Center, etc.) are still offered. The hybrid portion of the program allows for networking and building relationships while providing flexibility with my work schedule.

I have found that my professional experience has provided me with valuable context for many of the lessons and scenarios presented in classes. I have grown as a student throughout the four minis. I believe that an MBA from Tepper will be a huge advantage in my career and will provide me with a more well-rounded view of business functions. This will be advantageous in decision making and as I progress in my career with the support of further-developed analytical skills. The leadership and management aspects of my skills have already improved, and I am confident that they will continue to sharpen.

I appreciate that my classmates are collaborative as opposed to competitive, and that the professors are very accessible. My classes and coursework are incredibly practical, and the organizational behavior courses have been immediately applicable to my work. Not only am I now more aware of certain situations, I am also able to apply concepts when making decisions.

Tepper School Advice

Enjoy your free time!

My goals for this year are to continue to learn from my professors and classmates, and to apply my learning to the workplace. I also plan to get involved with outside clubs and organizations.

Your Life + Tepper School

Being an online hybrid student is a better experience than I expected. During BaseCamp, I couldn’t help but become excited about data and statistics after hearing professor Ravi speak on the topics! The yearning for knowledge and research from professors was immediately apparent, and the extra insight into these topics has been a valuable supplement to my coursework.

Outside of work and school, I like to go hiking and play volleyball in addition to traveling and being with family. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and Border Collie mix.

I have had a great opportunity to travel for work during the past two years. I have traveled to many places that I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to travel to, including Malaysia, Thailand, China and Russia. I find it very interesting and eye opening to observe other cultures, as well as business styles.