It’s around this time of year when MBA applicants who plan to apply to business school this fall begin to evaluate their profiles. So it’s no wonder that right around now is when the extra-curricular questions start to fly my way: “If I haven’t consistently been involved in an extra-curricular activity, should I start now, just a few months before applying to b-school? Won’t that make my participation look fake or phony?” or “Would it be better to just omit any mention of extra-curricular activities, rather than highlight the fact that I have none to talk to of, or only a very few?”
First of all, while involvement in an activity for a couple of months is obviously not as effective as long-term commitment, it is still better than no commitment or participation at all. Involvement in a non-professional, non-academic activity, even for just a few months, can dramatically impact you as a person, and therefore, as an MBA candidate as well.
More importantly, showing that you’ve participated in an extra-curricular activity, even for just a short period of time, will help transform your one-dimensional application into something a bit more…alive. All of a sudden you are no longer solely a compilation of grades, test scores, courses, and professional activities, but you are a human being who has passions, interests, and hobbies outside the realms of work and school.
Another reason why you should definitely begin involvement in an extra-curricular activity ASAP: You don’t know the outcome of your application effort. You may be waitlisted. Then your year-long or at least several month-long commitment will be more impressive and could have greater influence. You may decide to apply later than just this year, and if rejected, you may simply be forced to reapply. Yes, if you decide you want to become a part of the MBA Class of 2014, then you will have only had half a year of prior extra-curricular experience; but if you decide to push off applying for one year or need to reapply, then starting an activity now will set you up for what will become one or more years of extra-curricular commitment.
Also, it’s possible that you’ve been involved in extra-curricular activities without even realizing it. Mine your experiences to uncover unique experiences that could be considered “extra-curricular.” Activities don’t need to be as clear-cut as “Participated in the chess club” or “Volunteered at an old age home”; consider non-traditional or non-altruistic activities. Perhaps once a week for the last three years you helped your kid brother organize a neighborhood pick-up game of basketball. Or you sing in the church choir. Or you helped a day laborer earn his GED. If so, you can discuss how this particular involvement provided you with a break from work, while still giving you an opportunity to hone in on your leadership skills and have some fun.
So, MBA applicants for the class of 2014, if you are not already involved in an extra-curricular activity, take time to find an activity that you feel passionate about. Then, follow your passions and DO something.
Related Accepted.com Resources:
Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best