MBA Resume Tip: Education and Additional Info

Here’s an MBA resume tip we bet you haven’t heard before. Your resume is like a sandwich. (Really. Hang with us on this one.) In the middle, you’ve got your professional responsibilities and accomplishments, which represent the real substance of the document, and which arguably warrants the greatest level of care and attention. But there are also two additional sections—the bread, if you will—that encompass your time at work and hold that information within a larger context, much like a good whole wheat or marble rye, making it easier for the reader to handle and digest.

Actually, maybe your resume is more like a three-course meal. Or maybe we’re just really hungry.

Either way, at the top of the document, just under your contact information, you’ll have your Education section. Because you’re applying to an academic program, your educational background is one of the first things an admissions reader will consider, and this is also the format you’ll use as an MBA student when you’re applying for internships and jobs. This will include your undergraduate institution, dates of attendance, degree, major, and GPA (if above 3.0). If you received any scholarships or other honors, you might choose to include these here as well. Lists of relevant coursework are less important, as you’ll be submitting transcripts with your application, and extracurricular activities during college will likely work better under Additional Information (more on that later).

If you hold a graduate degree or have completed non-degree earning coursework at an accredited college or university (especially if you’ve done so to beef up your quantitative skills), you should list this under your Education section as well. Meanwhile, technical certifications and CFA or CPA credentials generally aren’t regarded as part of your academic background by admissions committees (rigorous though they are), so these would also be included under Additional Info.

Speaking of, “Additional Information” is your catchall section for community service, board or committee memberships, athletic participation, hobbies, interests, and involvements outside of work. While admissions readers will look to your work experience section for evidence of a team-orientation and management potential, outside involvements are a great place to get this kind of experience if it’s not readily available in your workplace. For more structured involvements, you may therefore want to include a bullet point or two describing your responsibilities, providing quantifiable details, and outlining significant accomplishments. For the purposes of your MBA application, you can omit computer skills and publications, though you may choose to include languages if you have proficiencies beyond English.

The most straightforward organization for this section will be to list items in reverse chronological order, though if you’ve been involved with similar organizations at several points in time—for example, volunteering at animal shelters in several different cities—a functional-style grouping could also make sense. If you run into a space issue, you’ll want to prioritize activities in which you’re currently engaged, or those you could make a strong case that you’ll resume once you enroll in business school.

Finally, you’ll want to reserve one line at the end to list hobbies or informal interests. The more specific you are, the more effectively you’ll stand out—for example, many people likes to travel or to read; consider your favorite kind of destination or vacation activity and list that instead. Items like “urban exploration,” “Russian literature,” or “daydreaming about food while writing resume tips” will be memorable to a reader and create a more three-dimensional picture of you beyond your work experience and undergraduate background.

We’ll be back next week with some advice on what NOT to do with your MBA resume. As for right now, we should probably go order a pizza.

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