Why CMU?

Please submit a one page essay that explains why you have chosen your major, department or program. This essay should include the reasons why you’ve chosen the major, any goals or relevant work plans and any other information you would like us to know. If you are applying to more than one college or program, please mention each college or program you are applying to. Our Admission Committee reviews applicants by college and programs and the essay can impact their final decision. Please do not exceed one page for this essay.

My mother’s rehearsed speech about how “Tiffany became interested in business because I took her along to see my financial advisor” is not entirely true. Although I found my mother’s financial consultation sessions interesting and felt flattered when her advisor offered me an internship, my interest in business actually began with my involvement in Kiva, a microfinance organization.

I started making monthly loans with my personal savings and income from Cosh(ex), my calculator program startup. In three years, I watched $342 multiply with ease to $750. The personal side of microfinance is even more impressive than its numerical aspect. In two years, I watched Kiva expand its influence in higher education. To date, 77% of my loans are to education, which is the ticket out of poverty and the solution to discrimination—the ultimate cure-all. Not coincidentally, I am applying to the Tepper School of Business, a school focused on solving global problems, for higher education. Although there is no microfinance club at Tepper, it does have the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association, where I hope to gain hands-on experience before ultimately becoming a social entrepreneur.

Another way I hope to make a difference is through improving the very new field of neuroprosthetics. I would love to participate in this frontier, with the academic background of cognition and the skills of a business manager. For years, my mother tried to get me started on the stock market, but instead, I started my own calculator program business, which I believed would bring more value to the world I live in. Through Cosh(ex) Calculator Programs, where I code for and organize a team that sells academic and gaming calculator programs, I experienced the important and fun role of business in tech companies. Programming was thrilling, but what I experienced beyond writing programs is what made my activities truly unique.

Shortly after I began showing off and giving my programs to my friends, I realized that many other students beyond my community wanted access to my work. I decided to turn my hobby into a business, targeting students who couldn’t write their own programs. I developed the business model, organized a team to help me distribute the programs, and designed the website. Through Cosh(ex), I finally understood the quote, “Entrepreneurs don’t need sleep.” The greatest takeaway, however, was that though integrating computer science and business was rewarding and fun, there was a disconnect between what I could do with computer science projects and my interests in philosophy, cognition and behavior. I thus found cognitive science and neuroscience, which appeal to more of my intellectual interests, personal experience (I nearly experienced amputation in third grade), and passions. This was how I arrived at my lifetime goal of directing a neuroprosthetics company.

Tepper’s academic structure provides a highly quantitative and analytical managerial background and also allows me to pursue the integration of management and technology under its Business Technology specialized track. Additionally, Tepper’s Business Technology Club, Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association, and the Tepper Venture Challenge give me the chance to apply my academic knowledge in real life, as well as complement my focus on solving global issues with a culture of technological innovation. Likewise, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences economics major would help me attain the managerial expertise required for becoming a social entrepreneur and directing a neuroprosthetics company, while the Mellon College of Science’s neuroscience major would give me the academic expertise to oversee specific developments in mind-controlled prosthetics.

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