Five Most Common Mistakes I See in MBA Résumés

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When assisting my students with their MBA applications, I have found that some applicants ignore résumé and focus all their attention on GMAT and essays. Please note that a Résumé is a critical component of the application package, and it demands as much of your attention as your essays do. It is your first introduction to the Ad Com, so it should be strong enough to drive them to read your essays to learn more about you.

The following are the most common mistakes I see in résumés every day:

1. Lengthy Résumés with Technical Terms:

I often receive 3-4 pages résumés filled with technical jargon with absolutely no results achieved. MBA résumé is different from a job résumé that you write for your prospective employer. The Ad Com of business schools will look at your résumé to evaluate you for career progression, leadership qualities, team-working skills, initiative, and other future business leaders' interests/ activities. So focus on these skills in a jargon-free language that is comprehensible to a non-industry person. As with essays, brevity is the key here. To create a strong one- page, follow the principle of ‘less is more’ and be as concise as you can. Make each word count that shines a spotlight on your candidacy. Please do not write complete sentences and make your résumé easy on the eyes of the reader by leaving some white space.

Example: Mentored & developed multiple vendors throughout project life cycle ensuring timely, under budget project completion; resulting in 150K savings

2. Lack of Impact/ Results:

Often, applicants create résumés that are simply a laundry list of responsibilities and fail to not show results or accomplishments. Please make sure to demonstrate impact and, whenever possible, quantify your impact on your company/organization with measurable results or achievements.

You can demonstrate your impact by providing specific details such as:

-How much or by what percentage you reduced expenses?
-How many people were on the team that you supervised?
-How much or by what percentage you increased sales?

Example: Managed a budget of $10-20MM/year for planning equipment and resources for onshore rig-less operations

If you can’t disclose revenue figures, you may refer to percentage increases.

3. Failure to Demonstrate Growth:

Some applicants who have worked for the same company throughout their career write the name of their most recent position. This doesn’t give the reader any clue about their professional growth. To demonstrate your career growth and the impact you have made under each of those three positions you have held when working for the same company, it is vital to list them separately. For example, if you have reached the position of Director, Finance and Analytics at a financial services company in 6 or 7 years, it is imperative that you list all your job positions from financial analyst to the Director of Finance and Analytics in just 6 years. But your most recent job should get maximum space. Moreover, if you are working for the same company throughout your professional career, you need to write the name of the company only once.

4. Omitting Additional Information Section:

Usually, the applicants get so involved in the details of their professional experience that they tend to ignore extracurricular activities/community service and other interests/ hobbies. Please note that the schools are looking for well-rounded individuals and not professionals who have no interests beyond their work. In addition to interests/hobbies and community involvement, the Additional Information section may include certifications done, awards earned, and languages learned.

5. Not mentioning Specifics of Extracurriculars and Community Work:

The most common mistake I have seen in the résumé is that people just write a laundry list of their interests and hobbies. Under the extracurricular activities section, for example - table tennis, cricket, baseball music, reading, etc. This fails to create an impression. The admission committee needs to know the specifics of your interest. Instead of 8 interests, mention only 3-4, but make sure to provide the specifics of your involvement. For example, instead of ‘music and table tennis,’ if you write ‘music enthusiast- performed in several concerts, table tennis-play table tennis twice a week’ will offer insights into your level of interest in your hobby.

Most résumés I have reviewed lack the timelines of the applicants’ involvement in extra-curricular activities or community work. Please note that mentioning your community involvement length is as important as listing the period worked under specific job positions in your professional career.

Example: Helped low-income individual and families with their tax preparation and tax issues during tax season in 2012, 2013, and 2014

For more details on creating robust MBA résumés, you may refer to the following blog:

20 Helpful Tips to Craft a Powerful MBA Résumés; ... -resume-2/

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs.

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Statement of Purpose or SOP is an essential document which a student needs to submit while applying for an MBA abroad. But unlike all other documents, this one is completely drafted by the student, in his or her own words. The ideal word count for an SOP for MBA should be between 800 and 1200 words. But each and every word is crucial to your chances of admission. If you are confused between 1 year MBA or 2 year MBA read this ... o-year-mba

What Is The Format Of A Good SOP For MBA?
There are a few crucial aspects that make a good SOP. To begin with, your SOP needs to be built around a theme or central idea. Think of your life as the story of a movie and think of yourself as to its protagonist.

Just like a movie, your SOP should have a prologue and epilogue. The prologue, or opening lines, would be your introduction to the story and will set its tone. The ending lines would talk about the alignment of your life’s missions and goals with the program you are applying for. And the core of the content - that is the middle part - is where your character really comes to life, and emerges as a hero. To know more check out

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Thanks mate you really did great work, I'll keep it in my mind