Welcome Weekends and Waitlist Woes

Welcome Weekends and Waitlist Woes

Two weekends ago I attended Carnegie Mellon’s Welcome Weekend for admitted students, and wow, color me impressed! Any trepidation I had about the program going into that weekend has been removed. It is definitely a world-class institution with a unique approach to business education and a exceptionally accomplished incoming Class of 2020.

For the uninitiated, Welcome Weekends are where all the admitted students travel out to campus for weekend packed full of activities where the tables are turned and the school rolls out the red carpet for you. While I know that I shouldn’t make decisions based on my experience during this weekend–since it is practically the best of everything the school has to offer condensed into a 2 day period–I couldn’t help but be swayed a little.

Highlights of the weekend included a private dinner with open bar at the executive suite of Heinz field, a tour of Tepper Quad (the new business building slated to be completed this fall), ‘networking’ back to back nights with my future classmates and hearing everyone’s fascinating backstories, and meeting the energy industry students and faculty.

Advantages of Tepper:

  • Awesome class full of incredibly accomplished students. To name of few of the people I met (Aerospace engineer interested in working for SpaceX, Microsoft programmer interested in working for Netflix’s original content, multiple solar energy developers, Entrepreneur interested in developing his tech company while in school, Wall Street banker targeting venture capital, etc.)
  • The Tepper Approach = MBA designed for the future of business. Focus on exceptional problem-solving skills, leveraging data and technology to create value and personalized leadership and analytics.
  • The Carnegie Mellon University brand. Outside of MBA, the university at large is a leading research institution with top robotics, computer science and drama schools, making it a breeding ground for interdisciplinary learning. In other words, there are some damn smart people at this school and Tepper will provide opportunity to interact with them on a daily basis.
  • Pittsburgh has it going on.


Texas will forever and always remain my top choice. And as long as my name is still on the waitlist, I am going to compete for a seat #nevergiveup #successmindset.

Yesterday I sent the following update letter to the adcom:

Dear McCombs Admissions Committee,

Thank you so much for your continued consideration! With McCombs’ incredibly vibrant and supportive community, leading strength in cleantech, and exciting experiential learning opportunities, your MBA program continues to be far and away my #1 choice. I remain as positive today as I felt when I first stepped on campus last spring that there is no community with which I would rather embark on a lifelong learning journey than McCombs.

Below are a few post-application updates:

  • As part of a 6-member cross-functional team, I recently completed leading the design and implementation of a big data analytics tool that optimizes operational performance across 35 wind farms and an 80-technician workforce. This project furthered my knowledge of power plant operations, which directly contributes to my post-MBA goal of joining the renewable energy project development sector. I will share an updated resume shortly.
  • To prepare for successfully navigating a rigorous MBA curriculum, I’ve enrolled in MBAMath and am on track to complete the course by May 7.
  • Recent conversations with Lewis Bichkoff (MBA ’18), John Greely (MBA ’18) and Christine Nguyen (MBA ’19) introduced me to McCombs’ amazingly flexible curriculum, where students can customize their experiences. This flexibility resonates with my desire to expand my knowledge of cleantech and total business foundation while contributing to McCombs and the world around us through student club involvement, fellowships, micro-consulting projects, and global learning opportunities.
  • I’m finalizing training and preparation to hike 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer—a longtime personal development goal!
  • I am currently studying to retake the GMAT.


While McCombs’ world-class renewable energy offerings are what initially drew me to your program, what has really stood out to me throughout the application process has been McCombs’ fantastically active, collaborative, and student-driven culture. Should I have the opportunity to become a Longhorn, I’d love to contribute to the community, including engaging in the following ways:


  • Serving as a helpmeet to fellow students in the CleanTech Club through developing industry connections for group career treks, introducing interested classmates to cleantech, applying my experiences in commercial wind power and energy finance to help teammates in case competitions, partnering with local startups through the Austin Technology Incubator, and volunteering for the UT Energy Forum.
  • Supporting admissions by engaging with prospective students via the McCombs Ambassador Committee.
  • Tutoring cohort classmates in Core finance and accounting assignments.
  • Earning a leadership role in the MBA Endurance Club to help classmates have fun and stay fit!

While I am immensely grateful to have received admission to Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, I remain absolutely dedicated to McCombs. Should I be lucky enough to receive an offer to join McCombs, I will immediately pay my deposit and jump on the next plane to Austin and the Forty Acres!

Thank you very much for your continued time and consideration. Please feel free to reach out to me should you require any further information.


Respectfully Yours,

Nicholas Alexander


Also, today I am officially unemployed, studying full time for the GMAT and preparing to embark on the Appalachian Trail. More updates to come.

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