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Tepper MBA Essay Analysis

(2022-23 Application Cycle)

Required Essay 1

The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative and supportive. 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.)

This prompt looks like a mix of buzzwords. So let’s break it down.

First, the assumption is that applicants who have been through interesting journeys, will be more empathetic towards others. That’s why they ask about your journey.


Second, by showing an interesting journey, you can demonstrate tenacity on your part, another of the key traits that Tepper’s admissions officers are looking for.


Third, by asking how this shaped you they’re hoping to see introspection and self awareness. That’s because these are key leadership traits.


Therefore, we recommend that you answer this prompt by telling a story of tenacity, followed by analysis, and connect this to Tepper.


One effective way to structure your answer is by using the SCAR technique:

  • Situation: Describe the adverse situation you faced. 

  • Challenge: Define the challenge or task you needed to overcome.

  • Action: Explain the actions you took to address the situation. 

  • Result: Provide specific outcomes of your efforts

  • Analysis: Reflect on what you learned about yourself in this situation and how it has shaped who you are today.

  • Tepper: The school is actively looking to build a strong sense of community among its students. Explain how this experience will help you to engage with the Tepper community

Video Essay

We know this is an important component of your decision to attend business school. We take it seriously as well. Please describe your post-MBA career goals.


It would be helpful to consider the following information in your response:


  • You have up to 2 minutes to respond to this question.

  • Please be as specific as possible. If you have not yet identified specific companies, that is okay. Just tell us what interests you for your next role or company. What about the industry, company, or functional role is appealing to you?

  • If you have any criteria you are using to evaluate career opportunities, please share those as well. We may have great opportunities to add to your list.

  • How does this post-MBA career goal relate to your long-term career plan?

All schools ask for your career goals, where you discuss your target roles and reasoning for pursuing an MBA. Tepper is unusual in that they ask for it in a video not an essay format, but the content should be similar to a written career goals essay.


In your 2-minute video essay, you’ll probably be able to say around 250 words. We suggest writing a script around this length that you can use as the baseline for your script in the video. You can repurpose your career goals essays from other schools to create this script.


1. Start by sharing a story from your past that demonstrates your motivation and mission in life. This could be from any point in your life, such as your upbringing, undergraduate studies, or previous job roles. This will give the admissions committee a broader perspective on what you're working towards. 


2. Next, connect this story to your career plans in the short and long term. Pick a short-term goal that’s ambitious yet realistic, given your prior experience and the skills you’d gain during an MBA. If you’re planning to transition to a different industry, role or location post-MBA, explain that in specific terms. 


Make sure your short term goal is closely linked to your long-term vision and the impact you want to create. Choose a long-term goal that shows a logical progression from your immediate post-MBA plans. Something that’s ambitious but achievable in 10 years' time. 


3. Lastly, share how a business school education will enable you to reach your preferred goals. What classes, clubs, professors, treks, events will you use to make the transition. 


Once you have written your script, it’s time to record a video. Do a couple of practice shots before you record the final version and you’ll be good to go. 


To ace the recording of your video essay, check out our article 8 easy ways to ace your video interview.  

Optional Essay


Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application.

If you are a reapplicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.

Tepper expects candidates to be thoughtful and strategic in their essays. So, you should only write this optional essay if there are serious issues in your profile that need to be addressed, gaps in your educational/professional career trajectory, or if you’re a reapplicant. 


Tepper does not have a specific word limit for this essay, but since the admissions committee is doing you a favor by reading it, it's important to be concise and aim for a maximum of 250 words. That’s around the limit that other schools apply.


In this essay, directly address the key issue(s) without any excuses or fluff. Explain the situation clearly and show how you have compensated for any shortcomings in a positive way.


For example:


  • If you have a low GPA due to a family crisis like a divorce, discuss how you have managed it and any steps you took to improve your academic performance.

  • If there is a gap in your employment history, describe any extracurricular activities or side hustles you pursued during that time to provide context and demonstrate your continued growth.

  • If you are a reapplicant to Tepper, use this essay to explain how you reacted to the rejection, followed by the actionable steps you took to improve your candidacy this year, such as improving your GMAT/GRE score, taking on new job responsibilities, or increasing your community involvement.


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