If you’re applying to business schools in Round 1, the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months. 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.
But what if you’ve done nothing on that front? No volunteering, no extracurricular involvement—nada. Is your candidacy doomed?
No. Admissions committees understand that it’s extremely hard for some people to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. This is often the case for those whose jobs constantly keep them on the road, or whose typical workday doesn’t even afford them the opportunity for a full night’s sleep.
The good news is that we have certainly seen compelling candidates be accepted to top programs even though they lack post-college extracurriculars.
However, if you weren’t involved in anything outside of class when you were an undergraduate, either, that might be a red flag. The MBA experience is about leveraging all facets of your life—not just what you’ve achieved on the job—to help your classmates learn.
So if you have no volunteer work or extracurricular activities to talk about, brainstorm what other relevant things you could share with fellow students in class. Think along the lines of travel or cultural experiences, or even a family situation. What else are you passionate about besides your job, and how has that passion manifested itself?
While it could look disingenuous to join a bunch of volunteer organizations in the months leading up to Round 1 deadlines, you could always see if your employer has any community-focused committees or sponsors any local events that you could get involved with in the near future.
Admissions committees are looking for well-rounded people. Remember:
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