Structure of a Résumé for MBA

Almost all the MBA programs require an applicant to submit a resume as a part of their application. The purpose of submitting an MBA resume is for the admission committee to assess your academic achievements, work experience, leadership qualities and your interpersonal skills. So, if you are looking for a typical structure for writing a great resume, keep on reading!

Through the course of this article, we will show you how to write a one-page resume for an MBA degree application, what are some of the most important sections to be included and what your resume needs to look like to get you into the business school of your dreams. 

How is your MBA resume different? 

The MBA resume is a bit different from your CV and the job application resume. While a CV aims at presenting a full history of your academic credentials, a resume tries to showcase a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a specific position. However, the purpose of your MBA resume is to highlight the important aspects of your career trajectory while demonstrating who you are and how you stand out from other applicants. 

Who’s the target audience? 

Your resume offers you an opportunity to make a great first impression, so it’s imperative that you tailor your resume according to your target audience in mind — the MBA admissions committee. In your quest to impress the admissions committee, don’t forget to include your unique personality traits along with your professional accolades and technical prowess. You possibly can’t reveal your entire life-story in one page, but you can give the admissions committee just enough to get them excited about reading your essays and wanting to meet you in-person. 

Typical Structure for Writing a Resume:

Let’s take you through all the important sections that you need to include in your MBA resume. 

Academic Credentials: 

This is a fairly simple section, which will remain consistent with your CV and Job resume. 

You can use it to show your academic achievements in a crisp and concise manner. Try to keep it simple, avoid any jargons and abbreviations. Include the name of your degree, college/university, and your grades followed by the month and year of graduation. 

Professional Experience: 

List your full-time work experience followed by part-time roles or internships if any. Make  sure to include your job/internship title, company name, and dates where applicable. Work down the page in reverse chronology, beginning with your current role. Each entry should be accompanied by 3-5 bullet points, highlighting your responsibilities and the impact you’ve created in that role. Try to list down your top achievements for every job you’ve held, and focus on choosing accomplishments that go above and beyond your typical work — which created a real impact and demonstrated your leadership skills. 

Is work experience necessary for GMAT?

No. Work experience is not mandatory for GMAT exam, however, if you do, it does add significant  value to your application.

Leadership skills: 

Your leadership skills set you apart from the thousands of other MBA aspirants, competing for the same top B-schools. Use this section wisely to highlight any project or work you’ve undertaken where you demonstrated exceptional interpersonal and communication skills along with the ability to manage a team. The admissions committee wants to see you in action, reflecting on your initiative and willingness to take the plunge to ensure the success of a team or project.  

Volunteer Experience:

This is an excellent way to show a better-rounded profile on your MBA application. You can use this section to not only show what you are passionate about, but to convey what you do to give back to the community. Including a separate volunteer experience section will add a more personal touch to your MBA profile while giving you an additional space to demonstrate your leadership and MBA-oriented skills. 

Additional Information: 

If you have some space on your resume and wish to include achievements and interests that don’t fall under the aforementioned sections, include additional sections like technical skills, certifications, research projects, publications, coursework taken, language skills, etc. 

Formatting Tips:

Never underestimate the power of a well-executed resume. Most B-Schools require a one-page resume that is well-formatted. Fit all your information into a single page and pay attention to how to organize your different sections based on their importance. 

  • Select a font size between 10-12 and a professional font type to go with it. 
  • Include your name, mailing address, professional email address, and contact information in the header of the page. 
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb followed by the goal and conclude with the key results. Keep each point in 1 to 2 lines for better readability. 
  • Always quantify your impact using numbers and statistics and resist the urge to use unnecessary and complicated technical jargon. 

Now that you know how to structure your MBA resume, let’s take you through some of the most common mistakes that you should avoid.

5 Common Mistakes in an MBA Resume that You Should Avoid:  

Using personal pronouns: A resume should always be written in a telegraphic way, limiting articles and omitting personal pronouns. First-person (I or me) and third-person (he/she) pronouns should not be used in a resume. Stick to action verbs only.

Excessive use of jargon: There is minimal room for technical jargon in your MBA resume. Keep the jargon to a bare minimum and avoid all possible kinds of technical terminologies to sustain the attention of your reader.

Missing a clear career progression: Your MBA resume is supposed to emphasize your professional advancement by highlighting your promotions, new responsibilities, awards, etc. Make sure to show that as you take on new jobs, you are taking on more responsibilities. Follow a linear progression with a clear timeline for your career advancements.

Poor resume layout: We have already emphasized the importance of formatting. Using unclear divisions in sections and having badly formatted section headers are a reflection of a bad resume. Avoid a cluttered look, too much or too little white space, and long sentences.

Lack of results or outcomes: The most common mistake seen in a B-School resume is not including key results and outcomes of any project or responsibility. Make sure to include learnings, takeaways, results, and outcomes from your experience that show your growth over time along with the impact you’ve created.

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