Current position: Foun­der and president, Appaloosa Management
The company: Appaloosa
Management is a $3 billion hedge fund investment firm based in
Chatham, New Jersey.
Hey, anyone know the name of Carnegie Mellon's business school? As of late last year, after a record $55 million endowment from Tepper, it's the David A. Tepper School of Business.
What was so great about the experience that made Tepper give his alma mater such a windfall? "Carnegie Mellon was analytically rigorous when I attended. They were cutting-edge, teaching not from textbooks, but from notes, because textbooks were not written yet on the subjects they were teaching, particularly in finance."
What was in those notes? Options theory courses, which taught students how to model movements in prices on options that let individuals buy the right to buy or sell a given asset at a future date.
Sounds like something you need higher edu­cation to learn. But is it practical? "I worked at Goldman Sachs for eight years, and they had a model on the options trading desk when I first got there. I looked at this model and realized it was totally wrong. Without the education, there's no way I would have known that."
Carnegie Mellon might want to give this guy a raise: "Ken Dunn, who is now the dean, was the guy who taught that options course. Some of the courses that he taught were particularly instrumental in my career."
Bottom-line recommendation for prospective MBAs: "The combination of a broad undergraduate experience, a couple years of working, and then an MBA is probably the best background you could have [for] a long-term business career."

  • Image about Stanford University
University of Hawaii, '92

Current position:
COO and president, Wyndham Interna­tional, Inc.