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When Travis originally met with his Stacy Blackman consultant to kick off his application, what jumped out immediately was the depth and focus of his work experience. He led off with a resume stuffed to the gills with accomplishments and detail, much of it extremely impressive. After all, he had spent several years at a prominent engineering firm, been promoted ahead of schedule, and even filed a patent already, so it made sense that his work experience would dominate his resume.
As he started talking about his application strategy, what he described was essay topics that drew from experiences at his firm, and a set of recommenders entirely from within the company. Despite the good first impression all of Travis’ work experience presented, his consultant felt his strategy had a huge missing piece: anything outside of his work.
What Travis needed to fill in were the extracurriculars, things he did outside of the daily work grind. Though a strong focus on work is of course great, his consultant wanted to showcase other aspects of his personality and prove that he could bring a diverse set of skills to an MBA program. Travis found this frustrating at first, since he loved his job and dedicated long hours to it, often to the exclusion of many other activities. He was also wary of suddenly jumping into new extracurricular activities at the last minute, as this would clearly look like resume-padding.
After some thought and discussion, Travis’ consultant found that he had worked many summers at the same summer camp he attended as a child, and while it had been a few years since his last work there, he had recently helped with their annual fundraiser and still had many ties to the camp.
Travis and his consultant agreed that the long-term nature of the activity outweighed that it was recently a bit dormant. He had also been a competitive chess player as a youth and had started chess clubs in high school and college. Travis decided to start volunteering to teach chess at an after-school program, and he and his consultant felt they could tie this extracurricular into one longer story.
With a little effort and thought, Travis and his consultant used extracurriculars to add extra dimensions to his application and strengthen his chances. As a result, Travis was admitted to Tuck, Kellogg and MIT and is entering Kellogg this fall.
If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.