Volunteering isn’t just a great activity to engage in around the holiday season, it’s an important aspect of your MBA application profile. If you are planning to apply during the upcoming application seasons in the spring or fall and do not have any meaningful and long-term extracurricular (outside of work) activities, now is the time to start becoming involved. MBA programs in general seek candidates who are involved with their community, and who naturally take leadership positions.
There is more to getting involved in your community than adding a line to your resume. Meaningful involvement in a voluntary activity can give you the opportunity to exercise your leadership and management skills in a low-risk and high-responsibility situation.
Finding an activity:
- Go online and look for community service groups in your community. Brainstorm things that you enjoy doing in your personal life and seek out related organizations. Your extracurricular activities should be activities you are passionate about, and do not have to save the whole world. Impacting your alumni organization in a positive way will be just as impressive as engaging in charity work.
- Think about activities that you participated in as an undergrad and become re-engaged. It’s great to be able to show continuity in your interests and goals. Do you have any life long hobbies or interests that you can expand upon in a group setting?
Having an Impact:
- If you are already involved in a volunteer activity, the quality of your contributions is most important. Seek out leadership opportunities in your existing activities, or find an organization that can benefit from your leadership and management skills.
- While volunteering at a soup kitchen once a week is great, is there an opportunity to expand the group’s impact or management? Think about how you can leverage your energy and skills to improve any organization you are part of.
Extracurriculars as part of your application strategy:
- Taking charge in your extracurricular activities is great material for any leadership, management or teamwork themed essay. If you are able to coordinate a group of volunteers to make an impact, you can certainly bring positive benefits to the workplace.
- Are you a career changer? Your extracurricular activities may be a great introduction to your target industry or function. Think about how you can demonstrate your knowledge of your chosen career through volunteer and community activities.
Some links that will help you get started, from mentoring children with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, to finding individual activities in New York City:
Big Brothers Big Sisters
New York Cares
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