How to Build the Ideal MBA Resume

Most MBA aspirants mainly concentrate on their GMAT Score so that they can gain admission into their dream colleges. However, one aspect is often overlooked when it comes to admissions is an ideal MBA Resume that will boost your chances of getting selected. While the GMAT Score is a critical part of the admission process, it is not the only parameter on which you'll be evaluated. Therefore resume building is one of the essential tasks that you must prioritise to get into your dream B-school. One of the more important factors is the MBA Resume that the candidate builds. The reason we're using the term "MBA Resume" instead of "resume" is that you need to show your managerial skills in it which appeals to the selection panel. The technical resumes that you may be familiar with during your Under-Graduate Program is unlikely to measure up during the B-School Admission Process. An immaculate MBA resume should speak directly to the admission committee on how you can add value to their institution. The MBA Resume is quite different from the professional resumes because of a few important reasons:

  • It is evaluated by a member of the admissions committee rather than a machine.
  • The competition is lower but more intense since the candidates are likely to have similar or more diverse profiles.
  • The focus is on showing the managerial skills rather than any technical skills.

Anatomy of an MBA Resume

While there are no agreed-upon standards on how an MBA resume should look, there are some features that can be beneficial if you add it to your MBA Resume. While in the process of resume building, remember to include these basic components:

  • Personal Details
  • Academic Information
  • Work Experience Details
  • Extracurricular Activities

TThere may be other sections in the MBA Resume; however, these are the general ones that remain constant in most cases. If the applicant is a fresher, the Work Experience Details will be replaced by the more details about the candidate's time in college. For most colleges under GMAT, work experience plays a vital role in the shortlisting criteria. Therefore, you should have a work experience of 2 -3 years before applying to the colleges of their dreams.

Things to Improve your MBA Resume

While the importance of the MBA Resume has been talked about above, the focus now shifts to how to improve the MBA Resume. Resume building is not a straightforward process; it takes some time and effort. Some things you cannot modify, such as the academics and the Work Experience. However, you can take some other measures which can increase the weight of your MBA resume. Some of these things are mentioned below:

  • Certifications and Courses: These are some of the best ways possible to improve the candidate's profile. They also indicate where the candidate's interests lie. If the candidate is looking to move away from a particular field, certifications and courses can be useful for building up knowledge in the domain as well.
  • Internships: Internships also play a similar role to certifications and courses but are better received by the admissions committee. One of the primary reasons for this is that while Certifications and Courses allow the candidate to gain knowledge on the topic, the internships enable the candidate to learn about the subject from a practical situation. Candidates learn about the real-life problems that can arise compared to the theoretical knowledge gained in the Course/ Certification. Speaking of internships, Machine Learning Internships are particularly attractive for Admission Panels nowadays due to the meteoric rise of the field and the number of jobs that have emerged in the field recently.
  • Social Service: One thing that is highly valued amongst managers is strong ethical values. A major reason behind this is the fact that managers are in charge of a team which can include any number of people. They have to act as leaders for their team members and hence have to behave immaculately. There are limited ways in which the ethical values can be displayed with social service being one of the more prominent ones. Now, social service will hold higher value the longer it is continued to ensure that the candidate has done it for their own reasons rather than to simply impress the interview panel.
  • Hobbies: While it may seem odd that practicing hobbies can help improve your resume, what it does is show that you follow through on your interests. It is also an indication of the kind of person you are beside your academic and professional life. This shows how you will be able to cope with the pressure of the job that they will potentially hold.

Tips on Building a MBA Resume

There are some basic mistakes that people make while building their MBA Resume. These mistakes/oversights would not necessarily eliminate you from consideration but can count against you. Some of these tips would help in making you stand out by having the cleanest resume possible:

  1. Single Page Resume: Ensure that the MBA Resume that you develop has coalesced into a single page. The admissions committee does not have a lot of time to spare, so any resume that is not concise can lead to a negative bias in the mind of the evaluator. Thus only the unique points should be mentioned to make the MBA Resume as appealing as possible in a compact form.
  2. Keep it short and concise: Your resume doesn't need to contain everything about you. It is merely a tool to get you an interview in front of the panel. If everything about you is mentioned on the MBA Resume, the interview will seem like a revision of the resume itself. Keep it brief while enumerating all of your milestones and accomplishments.
  3. Action words: You should not underestimate the power of action words when it comes to resume building. They attract the reader's attention to them, which allows them to scan the MBA Resume better. Also, you should avoid flooding your resume with too many action words. Place them periodically so that the reader is engaged continuously and goes through the entire MBA Resume rather than skipping over certain parts.
  4. Use the most recent information. This goes without saying that an excellent MBA Resume includes your complete and updated personal details. Don't forget to include any certifications or current skills that you have acquired. Also, make sure to take care of any discrepancies. If any issues are found later, it can lead to immediate disqualification. Many B-schools also expect to see your Linkedin profile in your resume.
  5. Quantify any data wherever you can: Quantification of your accomplishments is an excellent step towards resume building. Try to include quantified data as much as possible. While there are undoubtedly unquantifiable data points that have to be included in the MBA Resume, the quantified data should be included wherever possible as it adds massively to your credibility. Numbers are more comfortable to interpret than words, and they give a clear idea of the scale of the milestone achieved.
  6. Include both results and responsibilities: An MBA Resume which contains both results and your responsibilities ensures that counter questions will be about the methods of achieving the results rather than a random direction. During the interview, you can explain to the panel how you arrived at those results and the methodology you used.
  7. Mention leadership roles: Leadership is a quality that every B-school is looking for, and your resume building should be on similar lines. After all, managers are leaders of the teams that they manage. An MBA resume which mentions leadership qualities and roles is more likely to be accepted.
  8. Show career progression: This is applicable to those of you having some work experience. If you have progressed over your career from one role to another, don't forget to include that in your MBA resume. This shows a desire to succeed and grow. The admission committee will be pleased to see these aspects have to be highlighted in an MBA resume which will further increase your chances of being accepted. Your career progression can also be a talking point during the interview process.
  9. Make a draft well in advance: Many candidates overestimate the time between the GMAT Exam and the following admission processes. Before they know it, they find it hard to create a well-articulated MBA resume in time. This further leads to a sloppy resume building which does not portray a holistic image of a candidate. You should avoid this at all cost and have a draft MBA resume ready months if not weeks before the admission process begins.
  10. Put only authentic information: This is a simple tip which many candidates don't pay much attention to. You should only put those things in your resume for which you have a solid proof. The selection panel have scanned through thousands of MBA Resumes over the years, and they'll catch any deception in no time. The consequences are worse for candidates who get through the process and enter the B-School. If found, not only you'll be barred from admission, but you could also face criminal charges.


As with anything in life, first impressions are critical. The MBA Resume represents this first impression as it is the first touchpoint where the candidate can impress the selection panel of the B-School that they are targeting. A well presented MBA resume is also an indication of a candidate's dedication when it comes to the overall resume building process. There should be no discrepancy in terms of the format as the MBA Resume is generally the first impression that the B-School will have of the candidate. The candidate needs to ensure that the MBA Resume provided has the right hooks such that the panel is intrigued enough to justify an interview while maintaining all the basic requirements that the college asks for. Resume building is a vital part of the overall process of getting admitted into your dream B-school. You should not ignore it at any cost. We hope that this article helps you in building your MBA resume, which will, in turn, get you in the best possible B-school.

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