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Walk Me Through Your Resume: How to Nail the MBA Elevator Pitch

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The MBA admissions committee has invited you for an interview. That’s great news! You’ve moved into the next phase of the MBA admissions process. When you get to your MBA interview, some of the first things you’ll be asked to do are “walk me through your resume,” “tell me about yourself,” and “give me a brief summary of your professional experiences.”

Although these questions are worded differently, they are asking the same thing: who are you as a candidate and what do you bring to the MBA classroom? Do you have a concise and interesting answer?

Every applicant needs a strong and clear MBA elevator pitch: a concise statement of your personal brand that quickly and genuinely conveys who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to do.

Crafting your MBA elevator pitch

Some interviewers may have already read your entire application; some may have only seen your resume. Regardless of who you talk to, be proud and excited to share your professional accomplishments, goals, and personal story.

Here’s my top pieces of advice for building your MBA elevator pitch.

1. Be structured

For the interviewer to easily follow your story, plan and structure your answer. I recommend going through your MBA resume chronologically, highlighting accomplishments in the academic and work experience sections.

To craft your perfect pitch, you will want to highlight achievements in your resume as well as fill in any missing gaps. Do not merely summarize your resume; rather, fill your interviewer in with information that isn’t mentioned in your resume. If your undergraduate degree is relevant to your application, you may want to explain why you chose your major or concentration. You could explain why you chose or left your current and/or past jobs—that is, share the information not presented explicitly in your resume to add value to your interview.

2. Control your narrative

Remember that you have as much control over the interview as the interviewer does; you get to choose what to highlight in your pitch. Therefore, set an agenda that aims to give an impactful overview of your candidacy.

Through MBA KEY’s MBA Application and Planning Strategy (MAPS) Sessions, I help my clients identify the most compelling achievements to highlight during their interview. We practice mock interviews to iron out various pressure points faced during an interview. Important areas that you should develop a strong narrative for are:

  • Your accomplishments. Your pitch should include at a high-level two to three accomplishments that highlight different skillsets and impacts you’ve had on your projects. When possible, provide quantitative impacts. For example, the amount of money saved, the percent efficiency increase, or the market value of your innovation.
  • Your goals. Give a brief summary of your goals. Convey the type of impact you would like to make in the future, as opposed to saying your goal is to become a manager or a CEO. Show that you understand why you need the MBA (especially from this program) in order to achieve your goals.
  • Your added value to the classroom. MBA programs value those who have unique experiences that will add a different perspective to classroom discussions. Through MBA KEY’s MAPS Sessions, I help my clients highlight their strengths and weaknesses, focusing on opportunities to set them apart from other candidates. Some guiding questions to help you evaluate your own profile: Do you have a non-traditional background (i.e. non-consulting or finance background)? Do you have a lot of international experiences? Have you worked in or with different industries? What knowledge, skillset, and experiential gaps do you want to fill?

Tell Your Story: Personal Branding for MBA Applications

A large portion of the MBA application process involves marketing yourself. Learn how to master personal branding and storytelling through this free guide.

3. Be disciplined

Lastly, it’s also important to know what not to do in your pitch.

Don’t ramble on nor talk in circles; or don’t cut yourself off too soon. Find the perfect balance for your pitch. It’s okay to have a slightly longer pitch as long as you’re providing new and relevant information and keeping your interviewer interested in hearing what sets you apart from other candidates.

Consider your delivery, too. Don’t speak in a monotone voice and don’t over practice to the point that you sound like a robot. Don’t be overly casual. This is an MBA interview after all; keep it professional and engaging and be your best self. Remember this is your chance to not just impress, but also show your interviewer how likeable you are and what a great classmate you’d be.

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