The Nuances Of The MBA Resume
You might believe that preparing a resume would be the easiest part of the application process. Unlike the essays, your resume is already done. And it probably helped you land your current job. It’s a proven commodity. It doesn’t need much work, right?
According to Stacy Blackman, an author and consultant specializing in MBA admissions, your resume is probably the most underrated part of your application. In fact, Soojin Kwon, the admissions director at Michigan’s Ross School of Business, considers it just as important as the essays. Here’s the twist: A successful application resume is structured almost the exact opposite of a job hunting resume.
Why is that? Let’s start with your audience. A company is looking for specific, quantifiable skill sets. They want to know who, what, where, and when. If you’re applying for a sales job, your boss wants to read about which accounts you’ve closed and how much revenue you produced. They want to see your numbers first. Strategy is secondary.
An admissions representative is the opposite: She is looking for the how and why first. For example, a partnership with Apple might excite a sales manager, but an admissions rep wants to read about the process. How did you identify the opportunity? What steps did you take to build the relationship? How have both parties – and customers – benefited? To stand out in an application resume, you need to show how you think and act in a business context.
In an application, a resume is more than a chronology of your academic and professional career. Blackman notes that a resume must emphasize three areas: “Demonstrating growth and progression, showcasing leadership and highlighting other “MBA relevant” skills. These include traits like strong teamwork, collaboration and innovation.” Blackman adds that admissions teams are also looking for experience in areas like personnel management, training, recruiting, and leading initiatives. Those areas, along with professional growth, will get a resume to the top of the pile.
Getting Into An MBA Program…and Getting the Most From It
This week, Daria Burke, Founder of Black MBA Women, published a five-part series on getting accepted into an MBA program. Here are some highlights for her series.
According to Burke, admissions officers evaluate students in three areas: Academic potential, professional experience, and personal qualities. Academically, students are competing not just against fellow applicants, but also with the school’s ‘dream’ class profile. She advises students to learn how schools weigh GPAs, undergraduate majors, and GMAT scores, noting that a high GMAT can help offset mediocre undergraduate performance. Professionally, schools are seeking students who can clearly articulate how an MBA can help them achieve their professional goals. Notably, they are evaluating students on their “readiness to join the incoming class and potential as an alum.” At the personal level, Burke encourage s each applicant to “genuinely portray yourself as a unique individual with talent, passion and purpose.”
Burke also encourages candidates to develop a 60-second elevator pitch for their interviews. She cites that admissions representatives are looking for students “who will contribute to the classroom environment, connect with [their] classmates and alumna, and successfully interview for a job.” To do that, they need to show off their unique personality. Burke advises candidates to share what inspires them and directed them to business school, with special focus on what they hope to achieve.
Once you’re accepted into business school, how do you get the most from your time and investment? Like many consultants, Burke recommends students to conduct a self-analysis and take courses to prepare themselves for higher level concepts, tools, and expectations. Similarly, she cautions students to know what they want to pursue, so they don’t get bogged down interviewing with organizations that aren’t a fit. In particular, she emphasizes this point: “Use this opportunity to pursue your passion and resist drinking the investment banking Kool-Aid or whatever you see your classmates doing.”
Source: Black Enterprise