How To Write an MBA Resume in 8 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 24, 2021 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated November 24, 2021

Published October 7, 2019

Related: 5 Resume Tips To Get Noticed

Learn a few simple ideas to help your resume stand out!

If you choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through a graduate business school, a well-written resume can help you stand out to admission teams, gain entry into your preferred school and increase the likelihood of getting the job you want after graduation. In this article, we discuss how to write an MBA resume to make your business school application stand out from the competition.

​​Key takeaways

  • An MBA resume is not the same as a job resume.

  • An MBA resume is the key component of a graduate business school application.

  • An MBA resume should illustrate your potential in the business world.

  • An MBA resume should be divided into sections for “skimming” or quick reading.

What is an MBA resume?

An MBA resume is central to your graduate business school application. It concisely outlines your educational accomplishments, professional achievements and leadership abilities. A strong resume helps position you as an optimal candidate compared to other applicants with similar backgrounds and achievements. The most effective MBA resumes follow an easy-to-read format and include figures and statistics to prove your impact.

An MBA resume is typically the first page an admissions team reads in your application packet. It helps frame your written admission essays and provides subject material for interviewers’ questions.

MBA resume vs. job resume

While both MBA and job resumes may help you move forward in your career, they are very different in format, intent and language. A job resume shows that you are qualified for a position. An MBA resume illustrates your potential to make an impact in the world of business. Rather than focusing on job skills, the MBA resume demonstrates business leadership capabilities.

Resume Format

Image description

Resume Format

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary or objective

  3. Professional history
    a. Company name
    b. Dates of tenure
    c. Description of role and achievement

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)

How to write an MBA resume for business school

Here are the essential steps for writing an MBA resume:

1. Be as concise as possible

To position yourself as a top candidate for your graduate program of choice, keep your MBA resume concise. Include all relevant information from your educational and professional history, but avoid over-explaining your job responsibilities or providing unnecessary details about your skill set. Aim to contain your information on a single page, so the admissions team can assess your qualifications at a glance.

2. Use an easy-to-read format

Making your MBA resume easy to scan increases the likelihood the admissions committee will notice your most important accomplishments and understand your career trajectory. To improve readability, create separate sections for education, experience and skills. Include graduation, employment and other key dates to demonstrate continual movement toward your educational and professional goals.

Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing

3. Start with the most important points

The work experience section of your MBA resume should include bullet points to convey your accomplishments. The most significant point should always appear at the top of the list. By prioritizing your most substantial efforts, you can ensure even the busiest admissions team considers your most impressive and relevant achievements.

4. Highlight your contributions

Since the work experience on an MBA resume should relate to the business world, you can expect the admissions team has a basic understanding of jobs in the field. Rather than give details about a job description or a discussion of responsibilities, focus on how you contributed to projects, your department or your company. Taking this approach can demonstrate your value and distinguish you from other applicants.

For example, a marketing senior director’s MBA resume might say: "Identified and created revenue opportunities through strategic positioning of company assets, media assets and company programs to achieve sales goals."

5. Quantify your achievements

Whenever possible, include data and statistics to quantify your contributions and workload. Using specific numbers and percentages makes your accomplishments more concrete and can help prove your worth. When thinking about how to measure your performance, consider three items:

  • People: Did you lead a group of a certain size or make it possible for a task to be done by fewer people?

  • Time: Did you speed up a process or get to a result quickly? How quickly?

  • Money: Did your work lead to sales, revenue or cost savings?

Quantifying your achievements also enables the admissions team to assess the impact you made and determine whether you would be a desirable addition to the graduate program.

For example, a business manager’s MBA resume might say: "Analyzed statistical data to increase production by 20% and reduced compliance issues by 35%."

6. Demonstrate leadership

Since MBA programs are designed to cultivate leadership, many admissions teams look for applicants who already have the necessary skills and experience. Make a point of showcasing your leadership by mentioning any projects you’ve led or initiatives you’ve established. Use strong verbs that highlight your actions like “innovated,” “spearheaded” and “collaborated.”

Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

7. Modify for your professional level

To highlight your background and accomplishments effectively, design your resume based on your professional level. If you opt to pursue an MBA right after graduating with a bachelor’s degree or with only entry-level work experience, start your resume by listing your education. If you chose to gain significant work experience before applying for business school, start with your professional credentials and any certifications you have earned.

8. Proofread to avoid mistakes

A business school resume offers a key opportunity to make a good first impression on the admissions team. To take full advantage of this, ensure you submit an error-free MBA resume. Check formatting, capitalization and spelling, so your resume will help you position yourself as a top applicant.

Read more: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

Business school resume template

To create an effective business school resume, start with a standard template. Add your own information to this example:

Your name
Your address • Your phone number • Your email address • Your professional profile URL

Education

Your undergraduate university
Your degree • Your major
Your GPA

Experience

Your current or most recent place of employment • Company’s city and state
Your current or most recent title • Your employment dates
• Details of your position
• Your accomplishments

Your previous place of employment • Company’s city and state
Your previous title • Your previous employment dates
• Details of your position
• Your accomplishments

Skills

Your relevant skills and certifications

MBA resume example

A complete business school resume example can give you ideas of what to include in your own. Use this MBA resume sample for inspiration:

Alice Anderson

123 Main Street • 212-555-5555 • alice.anderson@email.com

Education

University of Central Florida • Orlando, FL
Bachelor of Science • Finance

GPA: 3.8

Experience

ABC Financial Partners • Orlando, FL

Junior Financial Analyst • August 2018 – present

Led financial analysis and due diligence processes for a $15 million acquisition
Guided long-term corporate planning, leading to a 10% growth trend
Reviewed investments and balance sheets for over 50 companies in the energy industry

123 Financial • Kissimmee, FL

Finance Intern • August 2017 – July 2018

Conducted preliminary financial statement analysis for over 100 companies in the energy industry
Produced weekly reports monitoring trends in the energy market

Skills

Excellent quantitative abilities; exceptional problem-solving capabilities; fluency with Microsoft Excel, QlikView and MATLAB.

Tips for an effective MBA resume

The goal of your MBA resume is to show what value you’ll bring to the graduate business school and its network of alumni. Here are some tips to create an effective MBA resume to catch interviews’ attention:

Include a professional profile or resume objective

At the top of your resume, add a short paragraph summarizing your best achievements. Use a professional program, if you are experienced. Give an outline of your career and summarize what you accomplished. If you have little experience, include a resume objective that discusses what you’ve learned so far and how this knowledge contributes to your place in the business world.

Avoid technical jargon

The admissions team may not understand industry-specific acronyms or jargon. Use generally understood business language. It is more important to illustrate a unique picture of your career progress rather than demonstrate your knowledge of technical terms.

Review application specifications

Certain graduate schools only accept resumes written using their predefined MBA Word resume templates available on their websites. Review their rules and requirements carefully. Also, admissions teams may ask candidates to submit their resumes using a uniform file name template, for instance: [FirstName_LastName_Resume].

Use space wisely

Most graduate business programs aren’t interested in your high school years unless you received a major award or significant achievement. Emphasize achievements, not responsibilities. Consider a font no smaller than 10-point and use verbs to start bullet points.

Two-page resumes are OK if needed

Unlike a regular resume you’d use to land a job, you don’t need to stick to a one-page resume with your MBA application packet. Yes, a one-page resume is preferred but if you have more than 10 years of experience, two-page resumes are OK to ensure you don’t skip important details about your career. They might just make all the difference.

Read it out loud for review

To help you more effectively find any spelling or grammatical errors, read your MBA resume out loud to yourself a few times. Hearing it will help you identify any missing words, phrases or sentences not making sense when spoken. A resume that's free of any errors typically makes admissions teams want to keep reading and helps the candidate look more professional and credible.

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