When Ali started working with Stacy Blackman Consulting he had stellar undergraduate grades, an impressive GMAT score and consistently growing work experience at a prestigious investment bank. What Ali did not have was any significant extracurricular or community service experience since college. Though his consultant assured Ali that most investment bankers scarcely had time for extensive community service, she did believe it was worth his time to take on a leadership role that demonstrated his interest in helping others.
Ali and his consultant mined his background for relevant activities that would not seem abrupt if he became involved six months before his MBA applications. Other family members did have ties to several non-profit organizations, so Ali spoke with his father and sister about some of the work they had been involved in. After those discussions Ali decided to work on a fundraiser for an education non-profit his sister was passionate about. She was focused on helping girls in the Middle East obtain educational opportunities, and Ali felt passionate about the cause as well. Together they came up with an idea to have young professionals in New York sponsor a high school aged girl in a Middle Eastern country and mentor her in terms of possible career paths after her education. This idea helped Ali have significant involvement while leveraging his sister’s ties with the non-profit. Ali enlisted his friends and colleagues to recruit mentors, and launched the first year of the endeavor in early Spring before his applications.
In his MBA applications Ali was able to show that he raised a meaningful amount of money and recruited mentors for the program, which started its inaugural year with 6 mentor/mentee pairs. This activity, while low in time commitment for Ali, was high in impact and assisted him in his successful applications to Columbia, Duke, and HBS.
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