Do This if You Have No Extracurricular Activities:
Are you applying to business schools in Round 1? Then the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months as you focus on 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, make 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 MBA candidacy doomed?
Not necessarily. Admissions committees understand that it’s hard for some people to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. This happens often with applicants whose jobs constantly keep them on the road. Or, maybe their typical workday doesn’t even afford them the opportunity for a full night’s sleep.
We have seen compelling candidates get into top programs, even though they lack post-college extracurricular involvement. But, if you had no extracurriculars as an undergrad, either, that might become a red flag. You’ll leverage all facets of your life — not just what you’ve achieved on the job — to help your MBA classmates learn.
What do you do outside of work?
If you have no extracurricular activities to talk about, brainstorm other relevant things you could share with fellow students. 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 might look disingenuous to join a bunch of volunteer organizations in the months leading up to Round 1 deadlines, you could see if your employer has any community-focused committees or sponsors any local events that you could get involved with in the near future.
Take heart. You still have several months to create a meaningful impact before the first-round application deadlines, even with limited free time.
Main image credit: Flickr user Premier of Ontario Photography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)