Are you applying for Round 1 MBA or EMBA this year? One of the best things you can do to stand out from all the rest, is to make sure your MBA resume shines! You absolutely must get your professional resume in the best possible condition before you submit, and by following these simple tips, you’ll already be ahead of the game (and the competition) in this year’s MBA & EMBA business school admissions process:
1. MBA TIP #1 – DO SOME RESEARCH: Take the time to google a few sample resumes in your field and for the particular school you’re applying to, so you know what a professional resume actually looks like for that program.
Some of the MBA programs (like Chicago Booth, for instance, have their own preferred format, and the preferred format is the one I strongly recommend you follow).
Linked In is a great resource for the industry examples, and the school’s own website is often a good resource for samples that match what they want (Most schools will give you samples if their format at all differs from industry standard.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across people with strong, good experience, but their resume is just not formatted properly, or it’s formatted in a way that just doesn’t look professional and competitive in terms of the other applicants in their industry – and that is the one things that will get you dinged fast.
Your resume matters. It’s actually the very first thing an admissions committee will look at when reviewing your MBA or EMBA application, so do your homework and try to get it right.
2. MBA TIP #2 – KEEP IT TO 1 PAGE: Two pages if you have more than 8-10 years experience (usually more relevant for the EMBA), as most of you applying to full-time MBA programs will, and should, have less than that. It doesn’t matter how many different facets of the business day you are in charge of at your job, what matters if you can succinctly summarize this experience in a way that comes across as being professional, focused, and to the point, while also highlighting your accomplishments.
The MBA admissions committee is trying to get an overview of your professional background, not read a manifesto. Keep it streamlined, tight, focused and NEAT, which by the way, usually means justified margins. Then, if your experience warrants it, your resume will get attention. In other words, don’t ever give them a reason to say no.
3. MBA TIP #3 – MENTION NUMBERS: The top MBA and especially EMBA programs love to see numbers. That means numbers of employees you manage, number of projects that come through your department, average number of sales, budget you handle, etc. Admissions officers also like financial or monetary numbers, even if you’re just giving a general estimate, as it helps them gauge not only the size of the company you work for, and where you fit in their hierarchy, but more importantly, it reveals your level of responsibility.
Do you manage $1.2 million in assets for your investment bank employer? Or, perhaps you oversee $750K in current active contracts for your operations department? Mention these facts, and you’ve suddenly raised the admission committees’ awareness of your level of experience. If you have numbers like these at your disposal (even if their just averages), AND you can freely share, make sure you mention them as this will only help.
4. In summary, the MBA resume is slightly different from a regular resume you might use to using when you apply for a job. The MBA resume is all about highlighting your experience in a way that focuses on your ability to be a leader.
In this regard, it is better to create a resume that’s more general than “tech” or “niche” specific. The MBA admissions officer reading through your application, may not necessarily know the technical language of your field, but by following all of the above tips and not giving them a reason to say no, they will certainly know a competitive resume – and candidate – when they see one!
I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the MBA & EMBA admissions firm MBA IVY LEAGUE out of New York. I specialize in helping clients get in to the most competitive ‘Top Ten’ MBA & EMBA programs in the U.S and abroad, including HBS, Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Kellogg, Columbia and LBS (just to name a few!) Contact me to set up a free consultation today! www.MBAIvyLeague.com