Why Participate In Extracurricular Activities?

October 27, 2010

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Note: This is a guest post from Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Many MBA programs emphasize their interest in extracurricular activities. Most individuals never ask the first question; why are extracurricular activities important to begin with? Here are some answers:

  1. These activities demonstrate that a person is multi-faceted. They show interests and passions. Therefore, these help MBA committees get to know you beyond your career goals.
     
  2. When you participate in activities outside of work, you demonstrate that you can balance multiple commitments. You show that you are the type of individual who can balance academics with other activities once you are at an MBA program.
     
  3. These activities show that you have a grander view of the world. They demonstrate that you are aware of what is happening outside of work and are interested in contributing in some way.
     
  4. They make you a more appealing person who can contribute to the diversity of an MBA class and alumni network.
     
  5. This is an opportunity to demonstrate qualities such as creativity, leadership, and to develop communication skills. These qualities are important in a professional setting and at an MBA program.

Regrettably, if you have spent most of your career only at your office, participating in an organization now may not benefit you much. MBA programs realize that many of you have hectic schedules and committing several hours a week is very difficult. Nonetheless, the most appealing candidates find ways to participate in extracurricular activities.

When considering ways to participate in extracurricular activities, you do not only need to consider traditional volunteer work. There are a number of ways to get involved. A good place to begin is with your own passions. Think about what excites you. Here is an example from a client I worked with:

Client A: Really loved painting until she accepted an investment banking position when she graduated. Unfortunately, she felt she had no time to get involved outside of her career. She was able to though when she became involved in a company-sponsored fundraising initiative. In the initiative, she designed t-shirts to raise money for the team.

Result: Demonstrated her artistic talent and interest, became involved in a worthy cause, and showed leadership capabilities.

For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series--school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more.

Visit http://www.stacyblackman.com/essay-guides/ to learn more.

 

 

About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

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