The Ingredients of a Winning MBA Resume

The Ingredients of a Winning MBA Resume

Your resume is arguably one of the most important aspects of your MBA application. The resume serves as a one-page summary of who you are, with important details of your academic, professional, and extracurricular accomplishments.

“The MBA application resume offers the admission committee a concise picture of the important parts of your educational and professional development and accomplishments,” says Jody Keating, an expert coach at Fortuna Admissions. “It gives a much fuller view of what stand to bring to their business school community. It’s also evidence that you have the communication skills to condense your career experience to one page and still make an impression to this particular audience.”

Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed what admissions officers look for in an MBA resume and how applicants can format theirs to make the best first impression.


When it comes to resumes, admissions officers typically look for three things: what you contributed, whom you interacted with, and what results were you responsible for.

“You can achieve this by reworking your resume to function as a progressive narrative about your career and outside interests,” Blackman says. “So, keep your resume focused on things you’ve worked on or achieved that are unique to you—not things that every other analyst or consultant could say on their resumes.”


One tip for formatting a winning MBA resume is to start every bullet with an action verb.

“Think words like led, managed, spearheaded, oversaw, and oversee,” Blackman says. “In particular, you want to ensure you have words like that for the section describing your current role.”

Your resume, Blackman says, should work up to your most impressive achievements—acting as a narrative of your career path.

“Often, applicants may have gotten a promotion or title change, but their roles actually weren’t that different from each other,” Blackman says. “Even so, you need to break out those different roles on your resume because promotions are always a differentiator. You want the admissions committee to be aware of your progression in the form of a formal title change.”


When focusing on your results, it’s important to quantify accomplishments whenever possible in your MBA resume.

“For some people, that might be a deal size or the revenue size of a company you consulted with,” Blackman says. “It might be the number of work streams you managed or the annual cost savings that stemmed from one of your strategic recommendations. It might be listing the exact percentage you helped speed up a particular process. Think deeply about how to turn your efforts into quantifiable results.”


MBA interviews are typically structured around your resume. Admissions officers and alumni will scan your resume looking for interesting tidbits to serve as conversation topics. That’s why experts recommend including a fun fact or unusual interest at the bottom of your resume.

“When it comes to naming this section on the MBA resume, it varies depending on what you’re going to include,” Blackman says. “But some ideas for the heading of that last section are Personal, Other Interests, Activities, Extracurricular Interests, or Leadership and Interests.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Fortuna Admissions

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