MBA Life

CV basics for an MBA application

The CV is arguably the most critical document in your MBA application package. It helps create the first baseline impression of your profile. The CV is a snapshot in time of your professional career and your educational history. It documents your career progression while giving a brief overview of your job responsibilities, job titles, and your accomplishments.

However, drafting a CV for an MBA application is slightly different from that for a job application. There is no job description to tailor your CV. So, repurposing the same job application CV for an MBA application is not recommended. Job application CVs cater to your industry for a specific job description. You could probably get away with including a fair amount of insider jargon or industry-speak. Your CV for a job application serves a purpose. To demonstrate your ability and experience and prove you are the right person for that role.

But the MBA admissions committee looks at CVs differently. They are more interested in understanding how you progressed in your field of work and how you could use your professional experiences to add value to your classmates and classroom discussions.

The admissions committee can’t know industry-specific details about every sector. You should adapt your CV to make it more readable for the admissions committee.

Stick to one page.

It can be tricky to stick to a single page. But you have to find a way to keep everything to one page. You probably want to explain every professional experience in detail. But business schools are looking for potential leaders who communicate succinctly. The ability to clearly and effectively express your story on a single page is a key skill for future business leaders. Business schools test candidates elsewhere as well, with restrictive word count limits on essays. Consider that your CV is potentially the only document the admissions committee will ever read. Your one-pager needs to communicate your story effectively about why you would be an asset in their classroom.

Highlight your contributions to the overall success

Candidates often give a very detailed context of the project, their role and responsibility, and the impact on the organization. Though providing context is necessary, business schools are more interested in what you contributed to that success. They are interested in your contributions and responsibilities. Show them how you worked as part of the team or as the leader of a successful team.

Quantify your accomplishments

Use numbers to give the admissions committee an idea of your success. Quantifying process improvements, increases in revenue, cost reductions, contracts secured are all valuable indicators of your contributions and impact on the organization. Team management is also an excellent way to showcase your leadership. Managing teams hierarchically may not always be possible, but candidates should take this opportunity to mention any informal team leadership experiences or even mentorship of junior team members or interns.

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