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Improving Your MBA Resume

When it comes to your MBA application, you should be prepared to invest a significant amount of time to your resume. The application review process typically starts with your resume and it is critical that you are able to make a strong first impression.

A common application mistake is to submit your previously used job application resume. This type of resume typically lists your responsibilities and is often difficult to understand for someone who works outside of your industry. Submitting this type of resume can hurt your applications.

Here are several tips to consider as you prepare your resume for business school.

Remember your audience

Business school admissions committee members will have read through thousands of resumes. While it is true that they will have a broad understanding of different roles and industries, you need to make sure that your resume uses simple and easy-to-understand language, without industry specific jargon.

A good rule of thumb is to have a friend or family member who works outside your role and industry read through your resume. If they cannot easily understand what you are trying to convey with each bullet point, most likely an admissions committee member will not be able to understand that point either. With this knowledge in hand, you should aim to make your resume appeal to any reader.

Research the expectations of your schools

Take the time and read through each school’s application information page. They will often share information about what they expect from an applicant’s resume. Some schools will ask you to submit a resume in their school-specific format. If that is the case, this is a detail that should not be overlooked. While it is time consuming to change your resume format, doing so demonstrates that you are aware of the school’s requirements and that you have committed the necessary time to your applications.

Most business schools ask for a one-page resume. If you have a longer resume you will need to confirm if the school will accept a two-page resume. If the school does not provide any additional guidance about their resume expectations, then it will be safest to assume that they want to receive a one-page resume and that they will accept any standard resume format.

Focus on MBA qualities

Instead of losing valuable space on explaining your responsibilities, you need to consider the qualities that are valuable to business schools. Therefore, focus on rewriting your resume with the following traits in mind.

  • Job growth: whether you had a formal promotion or gained additional responsibilities, make sure that this can be identified easily.

  • Impact of your work: consider how you have made a difference for your team and company and quantify your impact as much as possible.

  • Leadership: times when you initiated a task or led a project.

  • Teamwork: think about the times that you worked with others and highlight those times and who you worked with.

  • Communication skills: this can take the form of giving presentations, interacting with senior leaders in your organization, or convincing others of your point of view.

  • Intellectual capabilities and quantitative knowledge: focus on times when you went above and beyond to research solutions related to your role, as well as any experience related to statistics, finance, budgeting, forecasting - all relevant skills for a business school.

At Oriel Admissions, we have helped applicants to gain entry to top business schools. If you would like to know more about our services and how the Oriel team can help you with your applications, please contact Rona at for a free consultation.

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