What’s an MBA Resume?

First, the (kinda) bad news: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the current version of your resume for your business school applications. In fact, you’re probably going to want to spend a significant amount of time on a complete resume overhaul.

But the good news is that your resume is a very important part of your materials, and the extra work you put into revising it could be what makes the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

A resume gives you one whole page (and, in some special cases—mainly if you’re in your 30s or have military experience—two pages) to tell the adcom why you’d be an asset to their program.

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From this document, they should be able to clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll be able to speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

We recommend:

  • Reworking your resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests (versus a dry list of responsibilities and achievements).
  • Getting rid of acronyms and industry jargon, and then rephrasing your accomplishments so that anyone could understand them.
  • Doing away with any bullet points (or sub-headlines) that only list general, vague or high-level responsibilities for a given role.
  • Deleting unnecessary company or casework/deal descriptions (which are especially popular on consultants’ and bankers’ resumes). You’ll be able to include this information on the school’s application, so no need to repeat it here.
  • Using the space you have to explain exactly what YOU did on a project, showcase specific achievements and results, and highlight your skill progression and increased responsibilities over time.

Since admissions committees and alumni interviewers are looking for people who others will enjoy being around both inside and outside of class, it’s also a great idea to include at least some brief mention of your interests and hobbies at the bottom of the document. A lot of times it’s this information that interviewers use to “break the ice” when they first meet you.

Here’s a little inspiration as you begin to revise your resume so that it will catch the adcom’s attention: Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Steve Martin

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, follow the discussion group.
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