All MBA applications require you to submit a resume. You may be thinking, “No problem, I already have a resume.” However, it is not quite that simple.
An MBA resume differs considerably from a professional one as each accomplishes a different goal. A professional resume shows potential employers that you have the specific skills and experiences they are looking for. You are selling your ability to do the job and should include industry-specific terminology and jargon.
A resume for an MBA application, on the other hand, should provide evidence that you have been successful and demonstrated leadership. You are selling your future potential.
After years of detailing your specific technical and industry expertise, you may be wondering HOW to begin developing your MBA resume.
To guide you, Personal MBA Coach has outlined our four top tips, based (frankly) on the mistakes that we frequently encounter. By focusing on your resume now, you will have one less item on your to-do list when MBA programs release their essay questions this spring.
1. Do not outline your job description
Too often we read resume bullets that list a candidate’s tasks and responsibilities. While this might be great for proving you can do a specific job, it does nothing to differentiate you from other MBA applicants. Anyone in your role could copy and paste these bullets from the job description. Admissions committee members do not need to know each detail of your job.
Instead, focus on your key accomplishments. What initiatives did you lead? What projects did you succeed in? How did you go above and beyond in your role? How did you excel, particularly in relation to your peers?
Focus on the highlights. It is okay to leave out certain tasks and projects you worked on, especially if they would not sound impressive to someone outside of your company or industry.
2. Include results
Learnings, takeaways, and results are the most important items to include in your business school resume. This can and should include both personal growth over time and the impact you have had on your business’s performance. The more specific and measurable your results are, the better. Think of items such as “increased performance 30% over previous year” or “drove $1M in new business by doing x, y, and z.”
3. Focus on leadership and transferable skills
While it may be crucial in your current role that you are an SQL expert, this will be much less interesting to admissions committee members. Instead of detailing the technical skills you have amassed, focus on the transferable skills you have developed. Share how you have emerged as a leader. Leadership comes in multiple forms so even if you have not managed a team or a project, there are many ways to demonstrate your unique leadership. (If you do have management experience, include this!) Teamwork and communication are other important skills to include.
As you select professional strengths to share, prioritize those that are relevant to many industries, for example, analytical skills, strategic thinking abilities, or research experience. Sharing these transferrable skills helps to convince the reader that you can excel in business school and beyond.
4. Show multiple aspects of your profile
Successful business school students are active outside of work: in their communities, in athletics, within organizations, etc. They have hobbies or specific language skills. They win awards or earn certifications. They are involved on their campuses or at work outside the scope of their jobs. These details are important—they show readers another aspect of your candidacy beyond your work experience.
However, keep in mind quality over quantity! A laundry list of activities or an organization you volunteered with once will not help (and including such in your MBA resume might even hurt your credibility).
About Personal MBA Coach:
Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 14 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2, currently holding the #1 ranking in the US on Poets&Quants.
We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing and mock interviews. Our team includes a former M7 admissions director and former M7 admissions interviewers.
Last year, our clients earned more than $6M in scholarships!