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Extracurricular activities

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Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2013, 20:16
Hi,
I have a question regarding extracurriculars:

How important to an application are they really?

During college I was not apart of any clubs or associations because I wasn't interested and did not have the forethought to see their importance on graduate school applications.

I have been out of college two years and during that time I have not joined any organizations and volunteered a total of about 16 hours in the last year for random causes, not a defining singular cause. I travel very often during weekdays and have studied most weekends for the CPA exam and GMAT.

I plan to apply to schools during second round (December - January). Should I do anything between now and then like join and organization or volunteer (I really don't have the time...) or is it not a big deal?
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 05:01
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SeeakingAdvice wrote:
Hi,
I have a question regarding extracurriculars:

How important to an application are they really?

During college I was not apart of any clubs or associations because I wasn't interested and did not have the forethought to see their importance on graduate school applications.

I have been out of college two years and during that time I have not joined any organizations and volunteered a total of about 16 hours in the last year for random causes, not a defining singular cause. I travel very often during weekdays and have studied most weekends for the CPA exam and GMAT.

I plan to apply to schools during second round (December - January). Should I do anything between now and then like join and organization or volunteer (I really don't have the time...) or is it not a big deal?


AdComs typically look at 2 aspects when assessing the extracurricular activities candidates cite in their application:
1. Sustainability
2. Scale

Sustainability: Donating a sum to charity once a year is a blip in the graph. But being a part of a non-profit group or a band or a special interest group for many years, and making meaningful contributions to these is a sustainable involvement.

Scale: If you are part of any group or society, what have you done to make a difference to what they do? Anything that has caused an impact? You have to do something of significance, or at least attempt doing something significant (in the process, you will learn many things) for it to really give you brownie points in your application.

Keep these points in mind when you take up any activity - and never make the mistake of engaging in any activity just to 'build your profile'. Ask yourself, "If I never get into a B-school, would I regret spending precious hours doing this stuff?" If the answer is yes, don't do it!

Cheers. :)
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2014, 06:21
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zeideisid wrote:
Hi Gowri,

Thanks for your reply. I have a quick question ? I have not worked with any NGO per se. But I have been doing the social work in a different manner

1. I have been routinely distributing food/money/old clothes collected from both family and friends to the poor people we find sitting near temples, traffic signals etc. This is something that I grew up watching my grandmother do routinely and I also decided to pursue this . This is something that I have been doing regularly for the past 6-7 years. Hence, I did not end up joining an NGO. I have participated in a few NGO run activities once in a while but that has not been regular.

Can I write an essay around the same for my B School applications ?
The fact that I have not worked formally at an NGO place me at any kind of a disadvantage ?

Regards
Siddhartha


Siddhartha,
Far from placing you at a disadvantage, this experience can make a very genuine and warm story for one of your essays (depending on the question of course).

There are only two things that matter here:
(i) a demonstration of your social consciousness and sensitivity
(ii) conveying other aspects of your character that become evident through your activities

And as long as your essays are able to do this well, you should be good. :)

Warm regards
Gowri

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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2013, 12:37
Since you have 6 months until you plan to apply, that is enough time to get at least a short track record for a specific volunteer activity of interest to you.

I applied through the application process last year and think the extracurricular activities do help for the following reasons:

1) Many people will have similar work backgrounds, undergrad education, and GMAT scores. Unless you are particularly different on any of those fronts, it would be hard to differentiate.

2) With solid work, education, and GMAT, I think that is enough to get into some top schools, but you would need to start networking with admissions recruiters very early and visit campus, which again puts you in their minds come time to read your application.

3) What the extracurricular activity will help is I think it gives you more to talk about, ability to differentiate yourself, and also better chances for fellowships.
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2013, 12:04
Doing something other than work and personal pursuits (studying for certification exams and entrance tests) is very important in MBA admissions.

1) Schools want students who will contribute to the student community. Why are they supposed to believe that you will be involved when you get to campus if you have no prior track record of participating in anything?

2) Leadership is huge for MBA applications. Extra curricular activities add another opportunity to demonstrate leadership qualities and potential. Most applicants do not have a ton of professional leadership experience so ECs can make up for that.

3) Schools want well rounded people who are interesting and care about things outside of their personal sphere. ECs help show commitment. When you're not involved with anything it makes it hard to convey that you're someone who others can learn from.

With 6 months to go before apps are due I guess you could get involved in something you care about. While something is better than nothing adcoms can see through last ditch attempts to beef up your application. I highly doubt you are the kind of person who just goes to work and then goes home to study. You may not be spending hundreds of hours volunteering but that doesn't mean you don't do anything. I'd take stock of where you spend your time to see if there are any patterns. Do you play a particular sport or are you a really big WOW fan? Maybe if you can start to organize people or events around your current areas of interest that would be more believable. Take an inventory and see what you come up with. You may be more active than you think you are.
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2013, 19:22
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Hey there,

Everything cheetarah said is spot on. They are absolutely critical if you lack significant differentiation elsewhere (e.g. your job).

If you had no involvement in undergrad and none until now, then 4 months of activity between now and when you have to finalize essay topics for R2 apps will really do you more harm than good.

I don't know more about your profile so this isn't set in stone but I would honestly say if you aren't in a rush to apply this year, don't. Get involved and gain leadership experiences. You need a track record and a trajectory. If you do it just as a stop gap it's going to be incredibly transparent and we don't suggest any of clients engage in "resume padding". And in your case, it's not padding, it's absolute creation because you have nothing here to date.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Bhavik
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 11:05
Hi SeekingAdvice

Please consider partnering with our group, USA Leadership Corps, to enhance your extracurricular and leadership resume.

USALC is a national volunteer consulting group that assists nonprofits and small business. Specifically, we structure part-time volunteer strategy internships for MBA-level professionals who desire to assist local entrepreneurial organizations.

Our volunteer projects can enhance your resume so that you can better maximize your upcoming educational and career opportunities. Further, our projects span 3 months and require just 3 hours per week to complete. Thus, you can receive tremendous long-term professional benefits with little interruption to your existing work and personal responsibilities.

Please visit our website for more information: www usaLeadershipCorps org

Thank you & good luck,
Maxwell Roper
Outreach Director
USA Leadership Corps
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2014, 07:10
Hi ,

I have a question regarding extra curriculars.

I had done some social volunteering work few years back along with some like minded people ( educating slum children in India , cleaning roads of in accessible villages and distributing medicines among the poor ). But unfortunately I dont have any certificate to prove it.
Would it be worthwhile to mention the same in MBA applications ???
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2014, 01:56
saran87 wrote:
Hi ,

I have a question regarding extra curriculars.

I had done some social volunteering work few years back along with some like minded people ( educating slum children in India , cleaning roads of in accessible villages and distributing medicines among the poor ). But unfortunately I dont have any certificate to prove it.
Would it be worthwhile to mention the same in MBA applications ???


Saran,
You would not really need certificates to prove your contribution - however, if the contribution isn't significant or recent enough, then mentioning it might not add much value to your candidature.

Gowri N Kishore
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Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2014, 01:31
Hi Gowri,

Thanks for your reply. I have a quick question ? I have not worked with any NGO per se. But I have been doing the social work in a different manner

1. I have been routinely distributing food/money/old clothes collected from both family and friends to the poor people we find sitting near temples, traffic signals etc. This is something that I grew up watching my grandmother do routinely and I also decided to pursue this . This is something that I have been doing regularly for the past 6-7 years. Hence, I did not end up joining an NGO. I have participated in a few NGO run activities once in a while but that has not been regular.

Can I write an essay around the same for my B School applications ?
The fact that I have not worked formally at an NGO place me at any kind of a disadvantage ?

Regards
Siddhartha
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2014, 07:49
Expert's post
Hi Siddhartha,

My only feedback would be to exercise caution in using this example. Unless you're donating enough clothing and charity to have a significant scope, it MIGHT seem like you're stretching if you can't substantiate this with other examples.

Bhavik
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Re: Extracurricular activities [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2014, 16:35
Hi Gowri,

I need some advice regarding the Supplemental Essays at Cornell/Haas.

1. Is it mandatory to answer the Supplemental essays ?

My question essentially centers around the essay(s) 3 and 4 at Cornell and Essay 2 at Haas.

I have not been involved with community or professional organizations and hence cannot answer the supplemental essays 2 in the case of Haas and 3 in the case of Cornell. The social work that I have done has been largely informal and self driven. I haven't been associated with any NGO per se.

Keeping this in mind. Is it okay if I skip the supplemental essays ?

Regards
Siddhartha
Re: Extracurricular activities   [#permalink] 21 Jul 2014, 16:35
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