If you’re thinking about an MBA you may think it’s too late to address weak extracurricular or volunteer leadership. In our experience, even less than a year before your application you can still address a shortcoming in your involvement outside of work.
Peter first spoke with Stacy Blackman Consulting two years before he decided to apply for an MBA. Before his initial consultation he sent us his basic information and we could see that he had excellent work experience at a top tier consulting firm where he had been promoted early to a post-MBA position. Additionally, his GPA of 3.7 from UCLA and 720 GMAT demonstrated strong academics. In that first conversation with Peter we asked him about his interests outside of work. They were all related to his friends and family, and he did not have any significant community or volunteer involvements.
Our advice in his initial consultation was for Peter to take the year he had set aside for MBA preparation to develop his leadership outside of work. Peter was concerned that suddenly becoming involved in a volunteer activity would appear disingenuous to the admissions committee. That’s a real concern, and we advised that the best way to seamlessly incorporate extracurricular leadership into Peter’s story was to think about his longstanding passions and interests and build upon them. For example, Peter had played Soccer all through his childhood and high school years, but didn’t make the college team. We suggested he could volunteer at a community center playing soccer with kids after school, or as a coach of a youth team.
When Peter was ready to sign up with Stacy Blackman Consulting a few months before his first round deadline, we asked for the update on his activities. Along with a promotion to a post-MBA position at work, Peter had become active in an organization that promoted building playgrounds in low-income areas that lacked play space. Peter volunteered with the organization once a month and had even recruited his company to organize volunteer team building with the non profit. Peter’s involvement and leadership now helped him stand out from his fellow applicants with similar numbers and work experience.
Peter’s application process was very successful, with two admissions out of the four schools he applied to. He ultimately decided to attend Kellogg, where he continued his involvement with the playground non-profit.
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