Thinking About Extracurricular Activities at UCLA Anderson

extracurricular activities at UCLA Anderson

If you’re applying to business schools this cycle, of particular focus will be planning how to best position yourself. If you’ve taken on leadership roles in volunteer organizations or have actively engaged with a nonprofit you’re passionate about, you’ll want to be sure you play up that angle in your materials. In a recent Application Insider blog post, UCLA Anderson School of Management tackled the topic of extracurriculars and leadership. In it, the AdCom team reveals how they think about extracurricular activities at UCLA Anderson.

“When you apply to UCLA Anderson, your extracurricular activities and leadership roles in your undergraduate studies, workplace and/or community can help to show us how you have exhibited qualities that leave an impact,” the AdCom explains.

Extracurriculars are vital to your application for several reasons. First, they show admissions officials that you are multi-dimensional. They demonstrate your interests, passions, and personality, which helps the committees get to know you beyond your professional goals. Extracurriculars also indicate how you might contribute to the diversity and vitality of a class and alums network.

Having interests outside of work shows that you can balance multiple commitments and that you are the type of person who is capable of juggling academics with clubs, conferences, recruiting, and more.

“Recruiters and employers also see your past leadership experiences and involvement at UCLA Anderson as signs of your future leadership interest and potential in their organizations,” the Anderson AdCom team notes.

Extracurricular Activities at UCLA Anderson

The students of UCLA Anderson plan most activities on campus, from the prospective student phase to graduation. According to the post, the school’s 50+ clubs help host more than 400 events a year. “We look for those who want to be leaders on campus to ‘drive change’ and leave an impact for not just their peers but future students,” they explain.

Within the Anderson MBA application, candidates can list five activities in the Activities section. “We limited this because the Admissions Committee is looking for the QUALITY of your involvement and leadership roles, NOT quantity,” they explain. “We look to your prior involvement since we believe your past is a good indicator for how involved you will be during your time at UCLA Anderson.”

Tap into something you care about, perhaps by reconnecting with something that held your interest before, during, or right after college. If you’re struggling to decide what activities to share, the school has a handy list to jog your memory.

University/College Activities

  • Leadership roles in a campus club and nonprofit organization
  • Writer or Editor of a campus publication
  • College athletics: Team captain? Most Valuable Player? Operations manager?
  • Orientation leader or campus tour guide
  • Volunteering
  • Fraternity/Sorority involvement and leadership
  • Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)
  • Case competitions
  • Tutoring, mentoring, and other community service

Post-University Activities

  • Involvement/role in nonprofits or professional organizations
  • Leadership role in an alum association or undergrad interviewing
  • Workplace engagement teams and employee resource groups
  • Volunteer team leader
  • Public speaking or teaching roles
  • Active role in political organizations or local campaigns
  • Founder of a nonprofit or community event

In an ideal world, you should have a harmonious work-life balance that allows you to cultivate your hobbies and passions and make a difference in your community. In reality, many young professionals find they have zero activities outside of work and often complain of barely having time to go to the gym and catch up with friends during their limited time off.

Admissions committees understand that it’s tough for some applicants to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. If that’s the case, the AdCom team suggests applicants share how they have grown professionally and personally in ways that will impact their MBA student experience. “In the end, we value all contributions, big and small, that our students make to create the amazing environment and culture that we have on campus!”


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