Highlight International Experience on Your Resume, Advises Darden Admissions Director

international experienceHave you already logged significant international work experience or education before business school? If so, you are three steps ahead of the game. B-school admissions committees love applicants who show curiosity about the world at large.

International experience is not usually an explicit requirement for admission. But, having meaningful exposure to life outside your home country does make you more desirable as an MBA applicant.

Tweak Your Resume to Highlight International Experience

A new video blog post from UVA Darden School MBA Admissions Director Dawna Clarke drives home this important point. “Noting your international experiences on your resume can help set you apart,” says Clarke.

Her resume lists all the countries she has visited, Clarke says. This detail often serves as a conversation starter with people who have had similar experiences.

Create a section on your resume called “Global Exposure,” Clarke advises. Here, you can list the countries where you’ve studied, worved, or traveled. Also, mention any foreign languages you speak, or other relevant experiences abroad.

Having a broader perspective of global business issues gives you a unique viewpoint to share in class discussions and team projects. It also expands your network as you tap into professional associations with your contacts in other countries.

Recruiters see students with global experience as having marketable job skills, Clarke confirms. These skills include adaptability, leadership, cultural awareness and communication and language abilities.

What to Do if Your International Experience is Limited (or non-existent)

But what can you do if you haven’t traveled much? Try highlighting relevant experiences working with individuals from other countries and cultures.

If you have the time before applying, explore international volunteer opportunities. Or, research continuing education study abroad programs. Consider taking on a work project with international offices or teams.

Rest assured, your application likely won’t be rejected due to a lack of international exposure if every other component is compelling and strong.

In your essays, reference your enthusiasm for the school’s diverse culture. Talk about your plans to pursue study abroad programs. Mention your interest in any clubs or student groups that will increase your cross-cultural awareness.

As long as you can show your intent to expand your mindset and increase your international exposure during business school, you should be fine.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

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