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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
When you think about how important an MBA application is – it’s your shot at gaining admission into a program that will require two years away from your career, which will likely cost you upward of $100,000, and which has the potential to completely change your post-graduation career trajectory and financial outlook – it’s almost amazing just how little information candidates are actually required to pull together.
Realistically, most business schools ask for just a couple of things: an application, undergrad transcripts, a test score (or perhaps two, if English is not your native language), some recommendation letters, a resume, and an essay or two (or nine if you’re applying to INSEAD).
With so few elements, every part of your MBA application package is important. And that’s why it’s such a mistake when I see applicants who study hard for the GMAT, put a lot of effort into revising their MBA application essays… and then just include their standard resume as a part of their MBA application.
If you aren’t creating a resume that is specifically tailored to be a part of your MBA application, you’re missing out on one of your few opportunities to make a real impression on the admissions committee. I’m not going to pretend that your MBA resume is equally as important as your essays or your GMAT or GRE score. But if you’re applying to an elite business school, you need every advantage you can possibly get. Here’s how to create an MBA resume that will give you an edge:
– Back away from the bullet points. It’s not that you can’t use a bullet point anywhere on your MBA resume. But bullet points encourage you to condense information. Instead of trying to cram in every bit of information about what your jobs have entailed, look to the larger picture of your personal brand and your career trajectory to build your resume. Don’t just list dry facts – tell a story.
– More than just a job description. Your resume shouldn’t be a list of the things you were supposed to do; it should reflect your actual accomplishments in the position. An MBA resume offers a prime opportunity to demonstrate your leadership ability. Use the space to illustrate how you took initiative and went above and beyond the scope of your duties: projects you took the lead on, new programs you championed, new processes you devised. You might have been hired to “oversee accounts receiving”, but admissions committees are likely to be much more impressed by the fact that you created a new workflow that resulted in invoices being paid 18% faster.
– Show your story arc. Job-hopping isn’t usually a good look for job applicants, because it can show an inability to stick with a single position or company long enough to return the organization’s investment. But when it comes to business school, it’s not always as bad to have some shorter stays on your resume – IF you can show a clear upwards career trajectory, and indicate that you were able to make a significant positive impact in your previous roles.
– Play up your strengths. If you’ve done your research before applying to business school, you should have a good sense of why the MBA programs you’re applying to are the right fit for you. Let that research shine through in your MBA resume! If you’re applying to a school because it has a strong emerging FinTech program, make sure that your resume descriptions are clear about your experience with FinTech so far – especially if you can demonstrate times when you stepped up to tackle a new project or program that would give you even more FinTech experience or exposure.
If you’re a first-time MBA applicant, this is your best chance to get admitted to your target business schools. You can’t afford to waste time – or application space – on materials that don’t clearly reflect why you’re a top candidate. If you’re looking for detailed, personalized advice on how to craft an MBA application that makes you the clear choice for admissions, EXPARTUS can help. For more details, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 844.259.4506.