How to Create an Amazing MBA Resume

Want to stand out from thousands of MBA applicants? Your resume is a great place to start.

A good resume is an essential part of your MBA application and many admissions directors consider it as important as your essays! Some schools, such as MIT Sloan tell you exactly how it should be formatted, and other schools such as Judge Business School even provide a template for applicants. However, most schools leave it up to you to develop and create your MBA resume. If you know how to prepare it correctly, it can become one of the most powerful tools in your application! Here are some of our best tips for creating an amazing MBA resume, focusing on content and format.

MBA Resume Content

Show what YOU do, not what your job is

If your resume reads like a job description (conduct M&A, create cost-analysis models, advise clients on business strategy, plan product launches…) then it is not about you—it is about your job. Instead, tell what you do/did:

  • Advised on four M&A deals in the energy, telecom and retail sectors, valued up to $5bn
  • Created a cost-analysis model for Chile’s largest retailer identifying 12% in savings
  • Developed a market entry plan for a leading French aerospace firm to enter LATAM
  • led a team of 6 to launch the company’s most strategic product of 2013 increasing sales by 20%
Highlight growth and progression

If you just list job hire dates and positions, your accomplishments can get lost. So, if you were fast-tracked or hired early, say it!

  • Hired full-time after only 6 months as an intern (average is 12 months)
  • Fast-tracked to Senior Analyst in September 2013 and fast-tracked to Senior Associate 13 months later (average promotion time is 18 months)
  • Became the youngest procurement director in firm history.
Focus on leadership

According to Harvard Business School, “Leadership may be expressed in many forms”. So if you have not led teams of people, don’t despair. Look instead for your “habit of leadership.”

Have you managed a project or workstream, initiated a partnership, coordinated a client team, taught, trained or mentored someone? Then you have shown leadership!

And don’t forget to look outside of work. Were you captain of your university volleyball team? Did you create your own gastronomy club? Did you lead a volunteer effort? Do you organize ping pong tournaments at work? Then you are a leader!

  • Created my firm’s first online “data warehouse,” reducing research time for projects
  • Trained +20 clients to use a new CRM that resulting in higher sales team efficiency
  • Started a local volleyball tournament that is now among the biggest in my country
  • Tutored at-risk youth on computer and life skills
Skip the jargon

Admissions teams want to see your MBA potential—your leadership ability, interpersonal skills, impact, initiative—they don’t want to learn about the inner workings of an automotive suspension system. So, even if you are an engineer working in R&D, focus on your MBA qualities.

  • Coordinated the reduction of Calrissian interference in the R2D2 network to provide optimized sith performance by 21%
  • Led seven engineers from four countries to improve performance on our key network by 21%
Don’t forget the fun stuff

If you play oboe, were regional champion in handball, started a business or enjoy juggling, include it Hobbies show commitment, passion and leadership—and also help you stand out from the crowd.

Began skiing as a child, advanced to national competitions in university, currently teach skiing to children

Travel constantly, have visited 46 countries on six continents, traveled from Europe to Asia by land only, created a travel blog

  • Started selling custom-made socks in university and this side business continues to bring in over 20K euro per year
Do not include

Driver’s license information, a photo, an objective statement (your objective is getting into an MBA!), marital status, or any vague (boring) comments like “my hobbies are reading* and my family”—Yeah, you and the rest of the world!

Every bit of information in the CV/resume should add value and show how you stand out.

  • Started a reading club and organize monthly meetings for ~12 people (now this is someone who really likes to read and also has initiative and leadership.)

MBA Resume Format

Good Grammar

Just as you would proofread any part of your application, proofread your resume and be consistent with your use of tense and punctuation.

  • Use present verb tense (lead) for your current activities and past tense (led) for your former activities; present perfect (have led) can be used for activities that are occasional and/or recurrent
  • Use consistent punctuation. If you put a . at the end of a description, then use a . at the end of every description
  • Start bullet points with action verbs and avoid the word “I”
One page please!

While schools such as Columbia, Harvard and a few EU schools allow up to two pages, one is vastly preferred—by MBA programmes and by job recruiters. And, with an average of 2 to 4 years work experience, most MBA applicants do not really need two pages. Brevity is a very valuable skill to have, start learning it now by reducing your resume to one page.

Fonts and stuff

You should be able to clearly read the resume if printed out, and that generally means no smaller than a 10-point font in a standard style such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri… And don’t try to cram everything onto one page by using miniscule margins, you need at least 1,5 cm all around.

Ready to try and create your own amazing MBA resume. Here is a template to get you started.

Candy Lee LaBalle

Candy Lee LaBalle is the founder of LaBalle Admissions & an MBA admissions expert. Since 2008, she has helped hundreds of MBA applicants get into the world’s leading business schools.

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