Do you want to take your career to the next level by applying to an MBA program?
Well, and so do thousands of other people. But the admission committee is tough, and they turn away even candidates with years of experience. Why?
For one, they need to pick the best candidates to keep their school at the top. Second, they want the best career choice for you. Finally, there’s always someone with the best MBA resume out there.
So how do you get into an MBA program that you want?
You'll create an outstanding MBA and use it as a marketing tool by applying to their program.
That's what we'll help you achieve in this resume.
Ready to make your biggest career move?
This MBA resume guide will teach you
- What are the most important sections to have in an MBA resume
- MBA resume examples and structure to grab the admission officer’s attention
- How to feature your educational background in an appealing manner
- Why experience and skills could be the missing piece in most MBA resumes today
- What additional sections could bring more value to your application
MBA resume template
Looking for related resumes?
How to write a professional MBA resume
Writing a resume for MBA programs is slightly different from the way you usually make a resume.
The most obvious difference lies in the goal behind the application.
With an MBA resume, your sole purpose is to get accepted into a school that's offering the program of your dreams.
That means admission committees and recruiters look for different things in an applicant.
You should follow a different approach when making this type of resume:
- Keep it short. Most business schools have a strict 1-page policy for your resume. That's simply because the majority of candidates don't have a lot of experience to offer.
- Create continuity. MBA admissions committees expect continuity in your employment history. You need to be transparent about how you spent your recent years by including precise dates. Also you shouldn't leave any gaps when listing your education, work experience, and volunteering activities. If you have to leave a gap, be sure to explain it somewhere along the application to give a proper explanation. For example, you could add a few sentences to your essay explaining where you've been during that period.
- Be strategic about your experience section. On average, MBA students have four years of experience before they're accepted to the school. So as an MBA program candidate, you're expected to have some experience, but not too much experience.
Here's where things get interesting...
Having ten years of experience is too much for an MBA program applicant. And It's usually really hard to get into business schools with this level of experience because you're too late.
Admission representatives will wonder: where have you been in the past ten years?
The good news is:
Unlike job applications, MBA resumes don't have to be tailored specifically to each school you're applying to. And you don't have to make lots of personalization on your resume to get accepted.
Your CV tells the story of who you are in a simple, easy-to-understand language. It highlights your highest qualities and achievements.
That's how the admission officer knows you deserve to get into the program.
The ideal MBA resume format and sections
- Volunteering and activities
What recruiters look for in an MBA resume
- Do you have strong leadership and management skills to drive others forward?
- What is your educational background?
- How many years of work experience do you have? And is it in a relevant field?
- Have you spent any time before volunteering or pursuing extracurricular activities?
- What are your greatest career achievements and contributions?
MBA Resume Header: Setting The Right Tone From The Start
The header section comes at the top of your resume to introduce who you are. It plays a major role in leaving a positive first impression on the admission committee.
Whether you’re making a Harvard MBA resume or a resume for any other school, the header remains the same.
But believe it or not:
Making a few minor mistakes here can cost you the chance to get into a top MBA program.
Your resume header should include the following information:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Email address
Although it may seem straightforward, we’ve seen many candidates make mistakes here.
Your full name should come on top of the rest of the information to establish a clear hierarchy.
As for the content information:
Include your country ISD code with a + sign at the beginning if you’re applying to an international school.
Your email address should show that you’re a professional applicant.
Do not use an unofficial email address or a made-up ID that looks like a random online username. You want this to be a means of contact and not a way to shoot yourself in the foot.
If firstname.lastname@example.org is taken, try out these professional email formats:
It’s better to use popular email providers such as Gmail and Outlook.
Your location should include your state and city if you’re applying to a national school in your country.
E.g., city, state.
If you’re an international candidate, you should only include your “city, country.”
Aside from that:
Avoid any additional personal information about you unless it’s required in the application.
Now, let’s look at an MBA resume sample to give you a better idea.
2 MBA resume header examples
MBA Resume Summary or Objective: Do You Need It?
Here’s a typical scenario:
George is admission officer at the adcom reviewing your application at Stanford.
George reads thousands of Stanford MBA resumes in a short period of a few months, and have been doing this for years. He already knows a lot about what a winning potential candidate looks like.
He doesn't want to read the same resume objective dozens of times every day. Because to him, all applicants have the same: they want to get into the school, you included.
That's why you need a resume summary instead of an objective for your MBA application.
Here's the deal:
Your summary should only be 3-4 lines long so that it's easily skimmable. And it must highlight your most notable experiences, skills, and career achievements.
2 MBA resume summary examples
Hard-working professional with many years of experience working at different companies as an accountant. I have a strong educational background in finance and accounting, which helps me handle my job duties easily. I possess many technical skills in using computer software such as Excel, Freshbooks, and NetSuite ERP.
Let's make some simple changes to boost your chances of getting accepted.
Always use action verbs in the past tense when writing your summary. This shows that your resume is telling a true story in a way that highlights your strengths and abilities.
Focus on your impact and leadership skills instead of roles and duties. And stay away from listing any technical skills.
Admissions representatives aren't' looking for someone who can just scream orders.
They want a real leader who motivates others and helps them bring the best results through guidance and positive reinforcement.
So, try to show what you've done in your past jobs while showing your positive outcomes instead of actions.
Be precise about your achievements and results.
There's a big difference between a candidate who manages day-to-day operations and another one who guides employees towards increasing profits by 10% year-over-year.
That could be the same set of duties. But, the way you frame it has an astonishing effect on the reader's mind.
Results-oriented accountant with 4 years of work experience. Made the Dean's list for three consecutive semesters and graduated with a GPA of 3.6. Managed a 50.000$ budget while cutting costs by 7% year-over-year. Trained and supervised 3 new interns ensuring compliance with accounting standards and maintaining attention to detail.
MBA Resume Experience Section: How To Outrank Other Candidates
If you have more than two years of work history, it's better to put experience above education.
The admission committee deals with thousands of resumes each year. And that makes time an extremely limited asset for them.
Once they start reading your CV, you don't want them to stop. And the only way you can do that is by giving them what they're looking for as early as possible.