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School vs. School: Carnegie Mellon Tepper and Katz School of Business

Best Pittsburgh

The Steel City’s reputation has evolved since its post World War II Rust Belt glory days. Since the decline of the manufacturing industry in the 1970s and 80s, Pittsburgh has made a comeback as one of the leading cultural and economic hubs of the Northeast. Banking, healthcare, and tech are thriving in Pittsburgh, which make it a perfect place to earn an MBA and to begin or shift into a lucrative career.

So, the question is, which b-school in the ‘Burgh is best for you? Here, we’ll compare two of the best: the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and The University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.

The Tepper School of Business aims to be “the business school of the future,” and its home, Carnegie Mellon University requires nothing less.


Tepper School of Business‘ place within this global research center make it an ideal choice for MBAs who are in pursuit of an education that harnesses tech, engineering, and computer science. In fact, Tepper was named a STEM-designated program last year. Offering a dual focus on strategic analytics and leadership development, Tepper offers several formats for MBA study.

  • The full-time MBA is a two year program, with the first year comprising foundational studies such as statistics, economics, and corporate strategy. In the spring of their first year, students participate in cultural trips to widen their exposure to international business. The second year invites students to hone in on their concentration, with a number of electives, networking events, and an additional cultural excursion.
  • The part-time Flex MBA takes place over three years, with the first year also focused on foundational studies, and the second and third years geared toward more advanced applications of knowledge gained in the first year.
  • The part-time Online MBA also takes three years to complete, and it combines in person ‘access weekends’ with the online curriculum.

Why Tepper?

  • As one of just over a dozen STEM designated programs in the U.S., Tepper is at the forefront of this specialized MBA. With a predicted shortage of 1.1 million STEM workers in the U.S. by 2024, Tepper graduates are poised to enter the job market in higher demand.
  • Tepper’s combined focus on leadership development and strategic analytics are another unique aspect giving MBAs a market advantage.
  • Small class sizes (and a relatively small campus) allow for tight-knit learning groups, along with providing a strong foundation for future business relationships.
  • According to recent statistics, Tepper MBAs earn an average base salary of $120,380 per year, and 82 percent of graduates are employed full-time upon graduation.

What’s Missing

  • Tuition is above the national average, making it a long shot for some working professionals, even with financial aid.
  • While the specialized STEM curriculum is highly appealing to those with an undergrad background in these areas, those without an earlier exposure are less likely to be accepted.
  • The full-time Tepper MBA requires a minimum course load of 36 units, or six courses, which may seem heavy for some students who wish to remain at work.
Image result for Katz School of Business
Inside the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business

The University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business offers a flexible, adaptable MBA in a variety of delivery options. Whereas Tepper touts its specialized curriculum, Katz offers a more broad based, generalized course of study. With that said, the options for working professionals are numerous, with the following formats available.

  • The One Year MBA is a focused 11-month format, which requires minimal time away from work.
  • The Two Year MBA offers students with the ability to pursue full-time studies to complete in 21 months, in addition to an internship.
  • The highly flexible, partially online Professional MBA is designed for students who are seeking a specific career growth in their field.
  • The Joint and Dual Degree MBA is made for students who want to pursue master’s degrees in law, engineering, information systems, international business, international development, public and international affairs, or public health along with their business studies.

Why Katz?

  • The Katz curriculum is strongly focused upon real world applications and hands-on learning, preparing MBAs to launch immediately into new careers or advance in their current jobs.
  • Tuition for Pennsylvania residents as well as those who live out of state is below the national average.
  • Average GMAT score is 608, an attainable score for many applicants.

What’s Missing?

  • Average base salary of graduates entering is $88,000, which is in a lower percentile compared to Tepper, and 77 percent of students are employed full-time upon graduation (compared to Tepper’s 82 percent).
  • Katz is not considered a “prestige” school, but its cost makes it more accessible and more practical for a large majority of students.
FormatTepperKatz
Full-Time1743
Part-Time948

In summary, the appeal of the Katz MBA lies in its accessibility, affordability, and its higher number of flexible options for working professionals. Tepper, on the other hand, offers highly-specialized degrees built for individuals who have their sights set upon the finer technical aspects of strategic analytics and organizational leadership. The higher price tag also reflects Tepper’s prestige and rankings within one of the top science and tech research centers in the U.S.

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About the Author

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Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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