They are three short letters that will make any hiring manager sit up and take notice. An MBA on a resume is a sign of elite academic achievement that will inevitably translate into the workplace.
Completing a Master of Business Administration is no easy task, so any applicant should be rightly thoughtful about how they add their MBA on a resume.
Do they include it after their name at the top of the resume? How much detail do they share in the education section? Is there a danger of seeming conceited if they talk about the MBA too much? We will look at the following questions:
- Why your MBA needs to be prominent
- Listing a completed MBA on the resume
- Where to include your Master of Business Administration
- What if you have not yet finished the qualification?
- Do you need to include it behind your name?
Your resume is a place to showcase your skills and knowledge. Completing an MBA is a huge achievement, so it should rightfully take pride of place.
Should you spell MBA on a resume?
There should be multiple relevant mentions of your Master of Business Administration degree in your resume. Ideally, you should both use the initials and the full name. Resist mentioning it too many times as you do not want to give off an overly academic vibe.
Why your MBA needs to be prominent
While your fellow job seekers struggle to convey their soft skills and management knowledge on their resume, the broad foundation of an MBA will allow you to tick so many of the boxes.
The allure of hiring an MBA holder for any employer is that the academic qualification skims as close as possible to the “real” world of business. MBAs take such a deep dive into the corporate existence that they might as well be living it.
Linking your Master of Business Administration degree with your real-life work experience is a perfect way to show how you translate theory into practice. Studying complicated concepts and using them to inform your decisions is at the core of personal development.
Hiring an MBA means hiring someone who can soak up knowledge. Don’t just list those three letters on your resume – show how they have made a difference to you.
Listing a finished MBA qualification in the education section
The rules for listing an MBA in the education section are like other types of further education. Share the name of the university or business school alongside the dates of study or date of graduation. Then give the official name of the course (Marketing or Business & Marketing, etc).
You might then choose to add a line or two of detail about any specializations. Only do this if it is specifically relevant for the role in question.
Normally, education should be listed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent qualification first in the list. However, if your MBA is your most advanced qualification (but not most recent), it should still come first in the list. Leaving it down the list risks it getting lost as hiring managers will assume that the top of the education list is the most relevant.
No Master of Business Administration should hide their academic excellence.
Where else to list your Master of Business Administration
As mentioned above, the education section of a resume is the home of your MBA, but it should also be mentioned in other places. The hiring manager might not get as far as your education and letting it go unnoticed would be a crime. Yet, only pick the most suitable options from this list below.
Remember that you will have plenty of opportunity to talk about the impact of the MBA during future interviews. Make it prominent enough to be noted, but not too repetitive to seem boastful or one-dimensional.
Including the MBA after your name
Much as you might be tempted to include MBA after your name (Simona Hatherley, MBA), that is normally only reserved for a Ph.D. - medical or academic doctorate.
You don’t want to come across as the type of person who will drone on about their MBA at a dinner party or work event. Sure, you achieved something amazing, but your MBA merely enables who you are. It is an interesting punctuation mark on your career journey – not the whole story. Including it after your name will dominate your resume that bit too much.
Slipping it into the summary
If you are applying for a consulting or project management role where an MBA may come in particularly handy, you might consider mentioning its relevance in the summary at the top of your resume.
Don’t go into too much detail – the hiring manager will know to look at the education section if they want to find out more. The mere mention of those three letters will ensure that they investigate further.
Mentioning it in your employment history
When you are outlining your accomplishments in your employment history section, it is worth linking your MBA learnings to one of your most significant achievements.
An MBA that does not contribute to your career is worthless. It would be strange to mention it in your education section and have the rest of your resume ignore how it contributed to your career progression. Don’t overdo it, one mention will be fine. Select the most relevant achievement for the role that you are applying for.
Outlining the MBA in your cover letter
It would be remiss of me not to mention the tag-team possibilities of including more information about your MBA in the accompanying cover letter.
As any cover letter is more conversational than a resume, you have the opportunity of explaining just how your MBA made a difference to your career. Maybe it had an impact on how you make things happen with your team? Maybe it changed the direction of your career entirely? Use the cover letter to offer some context and fill in the gaps.
What about an MBA in progress on your resume?
An MBA sometimes takes a long time to complete. If you are studying for your MBA alongside a career, the situation may arise that you are changing jobs before you have finished your MBA qualification. Should you include an MBA if it is in progress?
In my view, the fact that you are studying for an MBA is highly relevant for any employer, even if it is incomplete. In this case, however, it is worth not overplaying it. Don’t mention an MBA in progress anywhere on the resume apart from the education section. You should be seen as a completer/finisher, so don’t boast too much ahead of time.
Include the name of the university or business school alongside the subject of the MBA and the year when you started. It is acceptable to put either “ongoing” or a date with “anticipated graduation.” If an employer is interested in your candidature, they will read as far as your education section, so this won’t be missed.
How do you add MBA to your signature?
When it comes to an email signature, some job seekers choose to add MBA behind their name. We would advise against this as it seems a little conceited. There are many MBA grads out there and only 5% might choose to do this.
Sure, it is a great achievement, but there is far more to your application than your MBA. Don’t shout about it too much. Hiring managers are looking for little hints about your character – including it in your signature would be a red flag for many.
In a job search, you need to pull every possible lever to impress a potential employer. An MBA is one of the most impressive and useful educational qualifications for a business career, so showcasing its relevance is vital.
- Consider how your MBA will enhance your application
- Think about the different ways in which you might include it on your resume
- Don’t hesitate to include it if you are in the process of completing it
- Make sure that you share relevant examples of why it is beneficial
Remember, your resume is merely a conversation starter for later interviews. You will have plenty of time to chat about the impact of your MBA on your career when you meet potential employers, so don’t go into too much detail.