How to write an MBA Application resume

MBA Application Resume FormatWhat should my MBA application resume look like? With the launch of the 2017-2018 MBA admissions season, this is a critical question applicants around the world will be asking themselves over the next 6-8 months. The good news is the answer is simple: your resume should be a forward-thinking advertisement that markets your strengths. Your essays should elaborate the strengths. The execution of that simple design, however, comes with a number of important caveats:

Structure & Format

1. Subheadings should be as follows: work experience, education, and additional.  Objective is an outmoded practice still en vogue with some resume-writing services; however, it is not the standard of top MBA programs or elite corporate recruiting.

2. Applicants with limited or no work experience should find other ways to express leadership impact through a new subheading, such as extracurricular or nonprofit leadership. To learn what aspects of leadership should be highlighted, read Winning MBA Essay Guide from Chapter 18.

3. Font: Size 10, Times New Roman. Margins should be close to 0.7-1 inch.

4. Length: for most applicants, even those with 5-8 yrs of professional experience, a 1 page resume is sufficient and preferred.


1. Each role should have no more than 4 bullets, and most well-developed bullets should occupy two lines.

2. Lead with strong, active verbs. ‘Was responsible for’ might be replaced with ‘spearheaded,’ ‘facilitated,’ or ‘managed.’ Keep verbs in present tense for current roles and ongoing responsibilities, past tense for past roles and projects.

3. Each bullet should reflect situation, action and result. What was the situation? What action did you perform to solve it? What was the outcome?

4. Quantify and qualify your impact. Include % and $ signs where possible, which are also great visual cues for your reader.

5. Key questions to ask yourself: do your bullets present the full dimension of your job function and business skills? Do they seem overblown or convincing?


1. If you have only one professional role to draw from, consider bucketing project experience to show leadership development and multi-dimensional business expertise.

2. What type of career goals have you detailed in your essays? Your resume can reinforce this brand and your full application package, and show your readiness for the next step or even career transition.

3. Capture leadership roles, academic accomplishments, and extracurricular activities under your college education. This will show the type of student you’ll be.

4. Additional: this is a great place to include more humanizing details and strengths. Most applicants will include languages, advanced computer skills, volunteer work, and hobbies.

Of course, many applicants will also deliberate on the differences between a resume and a CV, and which to submit for their MBA application.  At one time, CV’s were more prevalent in European countries (they are still the standard in academia as well), but in a more global, fast-paced business culture, that convention is beginning to shift.  A recruiter or admissions committee member may spend 30-45 seconds, at most, evaluating your resume. Through crisp language, straightforward design, and some strategic thinking around capturing your strengths, your resume can catch their eye, strengthen your MBA candidacy, and get your foot in the door.

Related: Learn how to promote your Leadership & Emotional Intelligence (Two Qualities that Business Schools measure) by using Contexts, Persuasion Techniques and Storytelling.

About Janson Woodlee

Janson Woodlee graduated from Yale University, his studies focusing on cognitive science and music. As a college student, he was a Senior Editor with EssayEdge immediately after graduation, he worked with Katzenbach Partners, a management consulting firm and McKinsey offshoot. Ivy Eyes Editing was founded on the elements from his diverse background--including grammatical rigor and client collaboration--as well as a distinctive commitment to strategic admissions guidance, writing with style and authenticity, and deep ethical standards

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

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