MBA Admissions Committee Evaluation Area #2: Career Progress & Professional Experience

Number two in the seven areas of your application MBA admissions committees look at with particular focus is career progress and professional experience. Business schools request your resume and look for professional stories in your essays or recommendation letters for two reasons:

  • First, admissions committees are looking for candidates who can bring unique and insightful real-world experiences to the classroom. The business school curriculum, no matter which school you attend, is heavily rooted in classroom student exchanges and team-based learning. For a great discussion or team project, the classroom must include students with experiences across a range of industries and functional roles, who can add their unique perspectives. This is why candidates with professional backgrounds in industries like consulting and engineering face stiffer competition getting into top business schools: those industries are the two most common for candidates applying for MBAs. So if you are in one of these fields, try to differentiate yourself by focusing on either unique projects that you have worked on or extracurricular activities where you may have gained a different organizational or leadership perspective.
  • The second reason top schools are looking at your career progress is to see whether you have taken on greater responsibilities within the organizations where you have worked. If you have been promoted or increased the scope of your job during your time at an organization, this shows the school that your employer values your talents as a professional. Top business schools are looking for individuals with a proven record of success. Therefore, make sure your resume and essays clearly demonstrate professional progress.

For those candidates applying to business school directly out of college, or with limited career experience, you will need to find other ways to prove to the admissions committee that you have a unique perspective that adds value to their classroom. Discussing leadership roles you have held in school or community organizations is a great way to demonstrate that you have developed insights into how the business world works. This is critically important for you to be competitive with other candidates who may have several years of professional experience.