• Sam Weeks

Master your MBA resume

Updated: Feb 3

All top MBA programs require a resume/CV from applicants. What follows isn't a list of hard rules, rather sensible guidelines to save you agonising for hours over each indentation, character and space.

Length: 1 page. Conventions vary in different workplaces but for MBA applications 1 page is almost always best.

Sections: It’s common to break an MBA resume into three sections: Education & Qualifications, Work experience and Additional Information.

Bullet points: Within each section include 2-5 bullet points describing your 3Rs: Role, Responsibilities, Results. More recent and longer-held roles should have more bullet points.

Within each section include 2-5 bullet points describing your 3Rs: Role, Responsibilities, Results

Verbs: Begin each bullet point with a verb. Good verbs for a resume include Structured, Negotiated, Advised, Managed, Researched and Coordinated. Use numbers as evidence wherever possible and avoid subjective comments. Instead of saying an ‘important’ deal, quantify the deal size.

Jargon: Avoid using industry jargon and abbreviations. If you’re unsure about a term, consider whether it would pass the ‘HR test’.

The HR test: Would a generalist Human Resources colleague at your company fully understand the term? If not, avoid it.

Internships: Consider whether you want to include internships on your resume. MBA candidates tend to have around 4 years of work experience. Applicants with 8+ years of work experience may consider omitting internships to focus on more recent, relevant experience.

Format: Use a standard, simple font. You can’t go wrong with Arial. Then widen the margins on both sides of the document to create more workable space.

Contact details: Use a professional email address if possible. If you can’t, for example because you’re unemployed or want discretion from your employer, use a professional-looking personal email address. Your gamer email address for the forums isn’t appropriate here.

Photograph: In some places it’s common to add a photo to a resume. This isn’t the case for MBA applications. Do not include a photo or any other potentially discriminatory information such as age, race or sexual orientation.

Languages: Just because you studied a language once, don’t necessarily include it on your resume. If your interviewer happens to speak the language you can expect them to throw you a question in that language. If you can’t understand and answer the question, you’ll have failed the test and the credibility of your entire application is at risk.

Templates: Some schools encourage applicants to stick to a certain a template, for example Oxford uses the following: https://apply.sbs.ox.ac.uk/apply/CV-template.pdf

The resume component of your MBA application is fundamental and crucial. Get in touch if you’re in any doubt about yours.

I help determined applicants get admitted to top business schools. Get in touch if I can help you with your application. Book a chat here.