This MBA Insider content comes from Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions.
When evaluating your application, our MBA Admissions Committee aims for a complete picture of your qualifications and fit with the program. It’s all about perspective. We look at your application as if we are holding a scale, balancing all the parts.
When considering the specific experience on your resume, on one side there’s a raw number of years (Quantity), and on the other is your job experience (Quality).
Say that you are the CEO of a mid-size corporation. Wonderful! Oh, you just started in this position? That’s an amazing accomplishment, but perhaps you’d still admit that your knowledge and expertise in such a new position wouldn’t be as developed as someone who’s been doing it for a few years.
Or maybe you have been in the same job for 10 years. Wow! No doubt you are a go-to person when it comes to that role, but could it mean that perhaps you didn’t take as much initiative or demonstrate leadership qualities required to launch you to the next level? Or perhaps you have only had a project manager role for a year, but in that time you’ve produced measurable results and demonstrated leadership. In these cases, the quality of your work experience matters more.
A general job title like “Project Manager” may seem lackluster, but could actually be pretty exciting. Don’t let us make assumptions. Take every opportunity on your application to illustrate just WHAT about your job made your experience rich and rewarding.
On the flip side, a Chief Operating Office title sounds impressive, but what kind of company did you work for and how extensive were your duties? An impressive title with naught to back it up won’t move the needle in your favor when it comes to work experience.
The take-away on work experience: Years, titles, and accomplishments are not, by themselves deciding factors. To help you provide us with a clear picture, here are our top tips for highlighting the quality and quantity of your work experience on your resume: