Hi username123 and abhattac:
I posted bits of this information before and I wanted to boil it down for your specific question.
I have worked with a few hundred applicants over the past 8 years, and extracurricular LEADERSHIP activity is a must for a top 10 or even 15 program. Remember, it is so competitive out there that applicants are literally the complete package. So it is not you vs. the admissions committee per se; it is you versus other candidates who walk and talk like you (even look like you) but with more extracurricular experience that bolsters their leadership qualities. This is what will separate the rockstars from the groupies.
To dig a little deeper below the surface, this is the basic paradigm in which you want to view your candidacy and in particular the importance of extracurricular LEADERSHIP activities. I call it the MBA Acceptance Equation (TM):
GMAT (at or above the school's mean) + GPA (undergrad performance) + Work Experience + Personal Passions and Philanthropic Pursuits + MBA (in general) + MBA (from the specific program) = Short Term + Longer Term Goals
The extracurricular leadership part of the equation is the personal passions and philanthropic pursuits (P/P/P/P) variable.
Your extracurriculars must not only demonstrate leadership but they have to form a logical connection to your longer term goals. This is very often the achilles heel with MBA applicants. For example, they work a lot of hours so they have little time for out of the office pursuits. However, depending on industry, traditional MBA applicants are too readily labeled as self-serving. You need to break this and this is where outside of the office pursuits come into play as well.
The right side of the equation above is made up of your logically connecting short and longer term goals that build on the left side of the equation. The longer term goal is a career path that is 5+ years after graduation. Again, this has to build on your short term goal which builds on your current W/E. Again, no zigs or zags. MBA program are not a place to find yourself. The important part of a logical long-term goal is that it should be more philanthropic in nature. That is, it starts to incorporate elements of your P/P/P/P (from the left side of the equation). So, in the longer term, you are going to be a person who actually gives back to society, a profession and a cause. These "selfless" candidates make for the best applicants.
My suggestion is to get out and find a new out of the office leadership activity. Using clean tech as an example, is there some type of local organization that sponsors events or conferences on the subject? Is there some type of outreach associated with this? I would start there (it's not too late) and find a subject area that builds off of your current professional acumen but also towards a longer term goal. Remember, the best candidates are those that have out of the office activities that marry up their professional background with a philanthropic interest that get them towards their longer term goal. Almost every candidate misses this point. Don't make that mistake. This is why candidates with no extracurriculars do not make the grade at a top MBA program.
If you have more questions, I can help you with this. If you would like to speak over the phone I am available for an hour or so over the weekend. I think we can probably address your concerns and any other questions in 30 minutes to an hour.
Please PM me and let me know if this is something you would be interested in. I don't hard sell but I know that my comments above will open up more questions. Speaking over the phone would allow me to be as honest and forthright as possible.
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