Applying For An MBA Part 2 – Resume

by Ryan Guina

The resume you use for your MBA application should speak volumes about your professional and/or academic career. Your resume will represent your entire career and educational experience, so you will need to carefully craft it to make sure it has the necessary impact you need to gain the Admission Council’s attention.

Create an attention grabbing resume

Include your contact info. First and foremost, your resume should identify who you are. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, e-mail account, etc. (no silly or risque e-mail accounts or voice mail recordings!)

Use a clean, professional design. A professional looking resume makes a big difference. Type with a simple font, and use headings and bullets for organization. Use plain white paper and black ink.

Be clear and concise. Write action words to state your accomplishments, roles, and highlight your leadership attributes. Delete fluff words that do not add value.

Remove jargon. Don’t assume the person reading your resume has intimate knowledge of the words that are specific to your industry. Most of the time they won’t. Write so that someone from outside your industry can easily understand what you did for your organization and how you did it.

Quantify statements when possible. Which sounds better?

  • Participated in making new computer organization system to track all of our company’s inventory.
  • Led 12 person team in developing $3 million inventory tracking system responsible for maintaining information concerning location and status of 287,000 company assets valued at $108 million.

Include your professional history. You should demonstrate leadership growth through promotions, tasks, projects managed, etc. Don’t forget to include internships and other work experience that took place in a professional environment

Include professional certifications, awards, and accomplishments. These are important items that give the Admissions Council insight into your professional makeup and abilities.

Include extracurricular activities. List the professional organizations, clubs, volunteer groups, athletic teams and other groups you participated in. Be sure to highlight any leadership positions or offices held. This is important to the Admissions Council because you demonstrate the ability to be part of a team and show them you are not just living a singular existence.

Items not necessary for your MBA resume

References – You will have reference letters to accomplish this. Instead, use the space for more valuable information about your professional and educational background.

Mission statement – The Admissions Council knows why you are applying, and you will have essays to tell your story. Instead, use this valuable space to a write one sentence summary statement of who you are and why you will be a valuable addition to their program. For example, I have 8 years experience developing statistical based software models and leading teams in a project management based environment.

How to organize your MBA resume

Order your resume as follows:

  • Contact information
  • Summary Statement
  • Work history
  • Community Involvement and Activities (include awards, offices held)
  • Educational background

Bonus tip: If anything on your resume changes between the time you send in your application and the time the admissions committee makes their decision, you may consider sending in additional information. I would only do this if it is a substantial change relevant to your application – for example, you move to another company, receive a promotion, or a substantial award. Some programs do not accept additional information, so be sure to call your respective school’s admissions office for more details.

This is Part 2 of a series on applying for an MBA program. Please read the rest of the articles for more information!

For more information about selecting an MBA program, please check out my 8 part series:

Published or updated January 2, 2009.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 shadox

It would be interesting to note that many times the people that review your application are second year MBA students. MBA students are used to reading resumes with very specific styles.

In business school they teach you to write 1 page resumes that follow a very specific format.

Include each of the jobs you held. Include three to four bullet points on each. In each case try to specify specific actions you took and the results of these actions. You proactive verbs such as “led” and “initiated”.

Your resume should not be a laundry list of everything you have done. Pick a few highlights from each job and speak about those, not so much about your responsibilities.

Have a section in your resume relating to your educational background an achievements, and mention a few notable items about yourself to draw the reader’s attention, such as: “traveled on five continents” or “played professional boche ball”.

Remember 1 page resumes.

shadox’s last blog post..Recovering from Career Disaster


2 Ryan


Great advice! I will be sure to use these when I make my resume. Good tip on the notable items too, I would not have thought to do that. By the way, I have actually traveled and worked on 5 continents! I still need to go to Australia and Antarctica! 🙂

Ryan’s last blog post..Weekly Roundup – Veterans Day Edition


3 Resumes

Just came across your post and read it. I would like to add something here… I think an MBA resume should highlight ones managerial skills as well as the ability to think out of the box. An MBA graduate is expected to be very proactive as well as resilient.


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