MBA Resume Examples + Writing Guide for 2020

June 11
11 min read

You’re a talented professional. You’re smart. You’re enthusiastic. 

The time has come to get an MBA degree - one that really opens doors.

But to secure a place in that elusive MBA program, you need a resume that works.

The problem is that the best MBA programs attract thousands of talented professionals from all over the world.

The good news is that you’re about to beat them all.

All you have to do is follow the strategies in this guide!

Specifically, we’ll dive into:

  • A job-winning MBA resume example
  • How to create an MBA resume that hiring managers love
  • MBA-specific tips and tricks to make your resume stand out

Now, before we get to the juicy details, here’s some inspiration.

An MBA resume example, created with our very own resume builder:

mba resume sample

Follow the steps in this guide to create a job-winning MBA resume of your own! 

How to Format an MBA Resume

Admission committees receive thousands of applications every year.

As such, they tend to skim-read as they go through the pile of resumes.

To make their job easier, and to put the odds in your favour, you need to use the correct format.

Also, the hiring manager will think again before choosing an applicant whose resume lacks professionalism.

The most common resume format is “reverse-chronological”, so we’d recommend this format for your MBA resume:

There are two other popular formats that you could try:

  • Functional Resume – This format is designed for those who have a lot of valuable skills, but don’t have the professional experience. As such, this format is ideal for those who are transferring to a new industry or have gaps in their employment history.
  • Combination Resume - As the name suggests, a combination resume is a combination of “Functional” and “Reverse-Chronological”. As such, this format is ideal for those who have both skills and experience.  

Once you’ve decided on the format, you need to get your resume layout right.

For a professional layout, here’s what we recommend:

  • Margins - One-inch margins on all sides
  • Font - Pick a font that stands out, but not too much. 
  • Font Size - Use a font size of 11-12pt for normal text and 14-16pt for headers
  • Line Spacing - Use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing
  • Resume Length - Don’t go over the 1-page limit. If you’re having trouble fitting everything into one page? You may want to view these one-page resume templates.

Use an MBA Resume Template

Word is great for a number of purposes, but as a resume builder is not one of them.

Imagine this: you create the perfect resume, make one change, and then the whole thing falls apart.

In fact, you’ll likely find yourself playing around with the formatting for longer than you take to write the contents.

To make your life easier, use an MBA resume template.

What to Include in an MBA Resume

The main sections in an MBA resume are:

  • Contact Information
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

For a resume that stands out even more, try adding these optional sections:

  • Awards & Certification
  • Projects
  • Portfolio
  • Languages
  • Interests & Hobbies

It’s now time to go through each of those sections, and explain how to write them...

Not sure which sections to use for your MBA resume? Check out our guide to What to Put on a Resume.

Pro Tip:

  • Certain schools have specific rules in place, which means that you read the application requirements before writing your resume or choosing a template. You may be forced to use the school’s predefined resume templates.

How to Correctly Write Your Contact Information

You could create the best resume in the world, but if you make mistakes in the contact section, you won’t be receiving any phone calls. 

For your contacts, include:

  • Full Name
  • Professional Title
  • Phone Number - Quadruple check this! 
  • Email Address - Make sure to use a professional email address (firstname.lastname@gmail.com)
  • Portfolio Link - Behance, Dribble, or your personal website
  • (Optional) Location - Applying for a job/program abroad? Mention your location.

Correct Example:

  • Josh Fakenham - MBA Graduate. 101-358-6095. jfakester@gmail.com

Incorrect Example:

  • Josh Fakenham - MBA Whiz Kid. 101-358-6095. joshisalegend@gmail.com

How to Write an MBA Resume Summary or Objective

Did you know that recruiters spend less than 6 seconds reading each resume?

This means that you have only a few seconds to impress the reader.

You need a message that shows the value that you’ll bring, and fast!

The best place for this message is right at very top of the resume. 

This top paragraph is known as a resume summary or resume objective.

Although the two are very similar, there are a couple of differences:

A resume summary is a 2-4 sentence summary of your professional experiences and achievements.

MBA Resume Summary Example

  • Professional Marketing Analyst with 5+ years of experience in creating ads, writing copy, and overseeing campaigns. Improved revenue by 34% for Company X in 2017. Looking to leverage my marketing expertise to contribute to School X’s knowledge exchange.

A resume objective is a 2-4 sentence snapshot of your professional goals and aspirations.

MBA Resume Objective Example

Enthusiastic Business Management graduate, with one year experience as a freelance marketing consultant. Created creative copy for Client X, which increased conversions by 65%. Skilled in SMM, SEO, copywriting, and web design. Seeking a chance to offer my unique insights on marketing, while developing my skills in management.

So, which one do you pick? 

A resume summary if the best option if you have any previous and relevant work experience, whereas an objective summary is the best option if you’re a graduate with little or no work experience. 

How to Make Your Work Experience Stand Out

To get into a competitive MBA program, you need to show that you mean business.

The easiest way to show this: your work experience

Sure, your core skills are important too, but professional experience always comes out on top. Start with your most recent/current job, and then follow it with your previous job, and so on. Here’s the general structure of your work experience section:

  • Position name
  • Company Name
  • Dates
  • Responsibilities & Achievements

In practise, it should look this:

Business Development Associate

Fishing Tackle XYZ

03/2017 - 03/2020

  • Upon hire, completed in-depth business analysis, which lead to a 28% profit increase that year (2017).
  • Revamped UX for the website, which boosted revenue by 17%.
  • Created an innovated fulfilment system that saved $200,000 in operational costs.

You may have noticed that the above example lists the top achievements, rather than daily tasks. 

So, instead of saying:

“Web design”

Go for:

“Revamped UX for the website, which boosted revenue by 17%”

So, what’s the difference between the two?

The second statement goes into more depth about how your responsibilities were something that helped the company. Doing this allows your resume to stand out and reveals the value you bring. 

Remember, you need to keep reminding the reader that you are the best choice, compared with other applicants with the same work duties.

What if You Don’t Have Work Experience?

Maybe you’re a recent university graduate with no work experience?

Or maybe, you have a wealth of experience, but none relating to your MBA?

Whichever the reason, don’t worry!

The thing that really matters here is your portfolio.

If you already have some portfolio pieces, feel free to upload them and link to your resume (we’re going to explain how in a bit).

However, don’t worry if you don’t, you can act now.

Here are several ways you can get a portfolio (and get paid for it):

  • Work on some freelance gigs.
  • Offer your business knowledge to your friends & acquaintances.
  • If the above doesn’t work, you can create your own mock-ups! Basically, anything that shows your skills and knowledge.

If you’re a recent graduate, you might want to check out our guide on how to make a student resume!

Use Action Words to Make Your MBA Resume POP!

  • “Responsible for”
  • “Created”
  • “Worked in”

Flick through a bunch of MBA resumes, and you’ll notice one thing: they all include these same words. 

And since you want your resume to stand out, we recommend using power words instead.

Here is a list of power words that make your responsibilities and achievements stand out:

  • Conceptualized
  • Designed
  • Devised
  • Determined
  • Drafted
  • Formulated
  • Introduced
  • Initiated
  • Launched
  • Originated
  • Spearheaded

How to Add a Portfolio to Your Resume

Create a “Portfolio” header, and then link to your website (or Behance / Dribble), and list your relevant portfolio pieces. It should look like this:

Portfolio

www.mikebusiness.com

  • E-Commerce – Created an online shop as part of a university competition
  • Business Plan – Created a business plan for a local company that wanted to expand operations
  • Web Design – Managed a Kickstarter campaign for an innovative cooking brand – successfully raised $400,982

Don’t want a dedicated portfolio section? Just link to your online portfolio in your contact information section.

How to List Your Education Correctly

Welcome to the education section!

If you’re lacking experience with a company or on your own projects, your education is the best chance to impress on an MBA resume.

Simply list out your education entries, like this:

  • Degree Type & Major
  • University Name
  • Years Studied
  • GPA, Honours, Courses, and anything else you might want to add

And here’s a practical example:

B.A. Finance 

University of Chicago

2014-2018

  • Relevant Courses: International Macroeconomics and Financial markets, Introduction to Economics, Business Organisation and Management, Principles of Financial Accounting, Quantitative Methods in Accounting and Finance 
  • GPA: 3.7

Before we conclude this section, here are some of the most frequent questions we get from MBA candidates (and their answers!):

What if I haven’t finished education?

  • Whether you’re still a student, or you dropped out, you should still mention your best education achievements to date. Simply include the years/courses studied, and you’re good.

Should I include my high school education?

  • Only if that is your highest education. The hiring manager doesn’t need to know about your high school education if you have a B.A.

What is more important, education or experience?

  • Experiences come before education, always. 

Need more answers? Check out our guide on how to list education on a resume.

Top 8 Skills for an MBA Resume

When the recruiter is reviewing your resume, they want to see that you have the correct skills and abilities needed to complete an MBA. 

You see, the person reviewing the applications will have been briefed about a range of skills to look for. If you don’t include the skills they’re looking for, the hiring manager will likely put your resume straight into the “no” pile!

Need some inspiration?

It’ll depend on the specific MBA program you’re applying for, but here are some of the most common and desirable skills...

Hard Skills for MBA:

  • Quantitative research
  • Big data analysis
  • Financial forecasting

Soft Skills for MBA:

  • Communication
  • Leadership 
  • Teamwork
  • Strategic thinking
  • Accept and learn from criticism

Looking for a more comprehensive list? Here’s a mega-list of 150+ must-have skills.

Other Resume Sections You Can Include

Now, the other candidates will all have similar job experiences. 

To stand out, you need to ensure that you’ve got something no other candidate has.

After all, if your resume looks exactly the same as everyone else’s, you’re not putting the odds in your favour.

Utilizing the following sections is the easiest way to give your resume that first-class treatment.

Awards & Certifications

Did you win an MBA award while studying?

Have you completed any MBA-relevant courses on Coursera?

In such a competitive marketplace, be sure to mention any awards and certifications in your resume!

Awards & Certificates

  • “User Experience Research & Design” - Coursera Certificate
  • Adobe Certified Expert
  • “Best Business Pitch Award” - University of Chicago
  • Google Analytics Certificate
  • “Learning How to Learn” - Coursera Certificate

Projects

Are you passionate about business?

Well, that’s exactly what the hiring manager wants to know.

The easiest way to show your love of business is by showcasing the results of your own project.

Here are some ideas:

  • Start your own e-commerce shop
  • Giving business consultation to local businesses 
  • Reviewing business plans of friends & family

The project section should look something like this…

Languages

Your resume is designed to impress the hiring manager. 

And what better way to make a lasting impression than by revealing that you speak multiple languages. 

Besides, being able to speak a second (or third) language can always come in handy, even if the MBA doesn’t specifically require it.

If this relates to you, and you have space in your resume, definitely include a languages section.

Make sure to split the languages by proficiency:

  • Native
  • Fluent
  • Proficient
  • Intermediate
  • Basic

Interests & Hobbies

With the rise in MBA popularity, employers are looking for more than just hard skills and qualifications. 

Your resume needs to stand out from the competition, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to become relatable.

The best way to become relatable is to talk about your hobbies and interests.  

If you’re not sure which hobbies & interests to mention, you can read our guide! 

Match Your Cover Letter with Your Resume

MBA programs are competitive. 

So competitive, that a resume and a few references simply won’t cut it.

So what’s the answer?

Well, a cover letter!

Here’s the thing: a well-written cover letter tells the recruiter that you want a place in this exact MBA program, not just sending a generic resume to all programs. 

As such, a cover letter can significantly boost your chances of landing that prestigious MBA!

Here’s how to get the structure right:

And here’s what to write in each section:

Contact Details

Your personal contact information, including full name, profession, email, phone number, location, website (or Behance / Dribble).

Hiring Manager’s Contact Information

Full name, position, location, email

Opening Paragraph

Your introduction should be very strong. If you don’t manage to hook the hiring manager here, chances are, they’re not going to read the rest of it. So, mention…

  • The position you’re applying for
  • Your experience summary and top achievement

The Body

Once you’ve got the hiring manager hooked, you can go through the rest of your background. Some of the points you can mention here are...

  • Why you want to work for this specific company
  • Anything you know about the company’s culture
  • What are your top skills and how are they relevant for the job
  • If you’ve worked in similar industries or positions

Closing Paragraph

This is where you:

  • Wrap up any points you missed in the body paragraph
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time
  • End with a call to action. Something like, “I’d love to further discuss how my experience as an X can help the company with Y”

Formal Salutations

Use a formal closing, such as “Best regards” or “Sincerely”.

An MBA is hard, but so is writing a convincing cover letter. For extra guidance, we’ve got you covered with your step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter.

Key Takeaways

Congrats!

Followed everything in this guide? Then you’re in the best position to get that elusive MBA placement.

Before we finish up, let’s quickly go through everything we’ve learned:

  • Select the right formatting for your MBA resume. Try the reverse-chronological format, and then follow the best practices in regards to the layout. Remember, keep everything looking professional
  • Use a resume summary or objective to immediately catch the hiring manager’s attention
  • For the work experience section, talk more about your achievements, instead of your daily responsibilities
  • Build a portfolio that shows examples of your skills
  • Match your MBA resume with a convincing cover letter

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