“Wish I had done that a few years ago ….” We hear that frequently from MBA applicants as they’re filling out their MBA applications. We don’t want you to have to say that. This is the third of a five-part blog series with advice on how you can prepare, years in advance, to be competitive for a top MBA program. From college to those first years of work, I’ll discuss steps you can take along the way that will appeal to adcoms.
You’ve got the GMAT under your belt. You’re acclimated to work. Take some time now to show you care about the world around you.
Extracurriculars: B-Schools want students who are more than just good at business. They want people who act to make the world a better place.
1. Get involved on a regular basis. Just as in university, try to maintain a steady involvement in an activity you’re passionate about. Be authentic about it. Do something you really enjoy, and seek to give back. This could be helping out in an already established volunteer organization, getting involved in a sports league, or getting involved in an entrepreneurial endeavor.
2. Seek to add value. Whatever you do, seek to add value to the organization, or disrupt it in a positive way. Raise money, recruit more volunteers, introduce a new process. Also, make efforts to create relationships on an individual level where you share your time or skills. Adcoms want to see that you can use your influence to create positive change.
3. But what if I travel frequently? If you’re jet-setting from city to city, it’s difficult to maintain the schedule and energy for a regular extracurricular. Concentrate your energy then on helping people on an individual level. One idea is to get to know the people who help you get from place to place. Strike up conversations with your cab driver or bellhop. If they do an exceptional job, see what you can do about helping them get a permanent contract driving employees from your company. Introduce them to ways to improve their language skills, or gain other skills that would open up further employment opportunities. Stay in touch so that you can track their progress.
The Bottom Line: Use your second year out of university to establish a track record of giving back.
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.
• Leadership in Admissions [free guide]
• How To Become A Corporate Executive
• 7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay [short video]