Include Personal MBA on resume?
May 18, 2016 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm working through the Personal MBA reading list ( Once I complete it, is this something I should/could list on a resume? What would be the best way to include it?

I don't hold any illusions that it in any way replaces an actual MBA, but I do think it may be worthwhile to include in order to show the level of self-study that I've taken on. I'm employed in an actuarial capacity and while it's rare that someone in my career field would have an MBA, I think that having some business background would be seen as an asset when looking to advance to a management role.
posted by Proginoskes to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No. There is no way to include this without looking hopelessly naive. It is something you could talk about at an interview, maybe.
posted by permiechickie at 8:03 PM on May 18, 2016 [27 favorites]

Yeah, the reason you can include an actual MBA is because it presumably has some external authority saying "Yes, we can verify that this person meets a particular standard of qualification." At best, it would look a bit odd. At worst, it would look like you're trying to pretend you have credentials you don't have. By all means follow the program and look to see how you can use what you learn to contribute to your organization, but use those accomplishments to demonstrate your knowledge, not that you were able to progress through a reading list.
posted by synecdoche at 8:12 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you have a personal blog, you might do short reviews/analyses of the books you're studying and then add the link to your resume. It would show how you're applying your intellectual curiosity.
posted by mochapickle at 8:19 PM on May 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

What's the best way to include it?

You don't include it.

You tell me about it on your Web site and in your interview. You've got a Web site, right? One that tells me about you? Shows off your recent independent projects? Makes me think you're smarter than the other 50 fifty resumes I'll look at?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:39 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

No. Personal reading matter has no place on a resume. Presumably, whatever you learn will be on display when you craft your resume and other materials and in interviews; but I don't want to see people's reading lists on a resume, and it would be a red flag to me to see something like that listed as a credential.
posted by Miko at 9:39 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

You obviously can't list it as a credential, but I think it would be fine to put "reading business books" or "working through the Personal MBA reading list" as part of a "hobbies" section of your resume. Mochapickle's advice of blogging about the books is good too, assuming you can write well.
posted by phoenixy at 11:56 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd maybe include it in the cover letter if you were applying at a startup (it would win you major points with my boss, for example) but definitely not in the resume. I agree that proof of that work (and kudos to you for it, it is worthwhile self-directed study!) should go on your blog or be casually mentioned during the interview.
posted by third word on a random page at 12:51 AM on May 19, 2016

I've noticed that people are including Coursera and similar things on their LInkedIn pages now. I wouldn't put self-study on a resume under "education." However, I think if you have something documented (series of blog posts documenting the process or something similar) you could maybe include it under a "projects" category.


Spent 2014-2106 completing self-study online "MBA" for personal enrichment. Documented progress, projects, etc. at http://

If I saw that on a resume, and it was positioned as above, I think I'd be way more intrigued than turned off by it. 99% of people that do any sort of self-study quit fairly early in the process, actually sticking to something like that, and documenting it in an interesting manner, would get my attention.
posted by COD at 5:39 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you want to use what you've already learned to get a real MBA without wasting time in a bunch of classes, check out Edinburgh Business School. Grades are 100% based on comprehensive subject exams administered 2 to 4 times per year around the world. It would be the quickest way to turn what you know into a legit credential you can put on a resume.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:45 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, I definitely wasn't suggesting that I'd include this under "Education." I was planning to include it under Hobbies or Professional Development or something like that.
posted by Proginoskes at 6:49 AM on May 19, 2016

I've noticed that people are including Coursera and similar things on their LInkedIn pages now.

LinkedIn is a good place for this; it's much more flexible and less formal than a resume, and as a hiring manager it's the first place I go to learn more about an applicant. As a bonus, you can make posts on LinkedIn, so if you wanted to blog without having a blog you could write a few posts there about your MBA project.

"Hobbies" are also kind of an old-school resume element that reads as naive to a lot of managers. Of course, it's all personal, and you can't anticipate every personality. But here's the basic idea: what you have to be wary of is doing anything that makes it look like you're overinflating your experience or that you don't recognize the difference between true certifications and individually driven skills development. Seeing "MBA" in quotation marks would weird me out - I'd be asking: is it an MBA or not? More importantly, if it's not, does this applicant think it's one? Because if I had any sense they did, I would avoid. If I had any gut sense you were trying to make it look like you had more credentialling than you do, it'd be an immediate disqualifier for me. So if you had any desire to use COD's suggested language, I'd replace the "MBA" with the full title of the program, citation-style, so the person can look up what the heck you're talking about. In general, though, if an activity is not overseen by some sort of an external certifying body, I wouldn't put it under PD or on the resume at all. It's a personal interest. It shows your passion. But it's something you should be documenting elsewhere.
posted by Miko at 6:57 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Do a 30-minute presentation about your personal MBA at a local conference like an Ignite or TedX.

List this as a talk on your resume.

Problem solved.
posted by miyabo at 7:52 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

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