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Importance of volunteering

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Importance of volunteering [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 14:31
Hey all. I havent been on here in a while; unfortunately extenuating circumstances had me shift my focus away from GMAT/MBA for a while.

Anyways, I am back, and have started to research schools. One thing I noticed, and always wanted to ask, was the following:

How important is it to show that you've been involved in volunteer activities ? And if you HAVE been involved, does it necessarily have to be in leadership type roles ?

I ask because Ive found it difficult so far to get myself really involved in much outside work, for a couple of reasons ... work is extremely demanding, and outside of work I do keep up a very rigorous exercise regimen, and have to balance this with taking care of my Mother, who unfortunately is disabled.

Having said that, will the ad coms take any of this into consideration, or, should I still go out there and try to get more involved ?

Thanks for your replies in advance ! :?:
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 15:19
It can't hurt to get more involved, and certainly I'd choose 2 good leadership oriented activities than 5 non-leadership ones.

However, if you are caring for a disabled mother, thats a reasonable excuse. I wouldn't use work as an excuse because, frankly, there are people who work in IB who end up doing some pretty stellar activities... so it's not really going to convince anyone.

However, explaining that you would like to be more involved but "the unpredictable nature of my schedule due to my mother's illness, unfortunately precludes me from doing so" should be a reasonable explanation.

Two words of warning: Bringing up your mother, although entirely legitimate, risks sounding a bit like "take pity on me". Just be careful not to overdo it. Mention it, and move on - explaining how you plan to take a more active role in school (a natural question of course would be - if you cant now, how could you then? )

Personally... If i were you: I'd go get a leadership role with one or two of your activities (pick one youve been involved in a long time ideally). If you can't do that, I'd fall back to the mother excuse - but I'd use that as a backup, not as my primary explanation.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 15:47
At the Wharton information session, the director of admissions admitted that he had a lot of respect for people involved in volunteer work, however he said that there is no point in starting around the same time as one starts their applications essay, they see right through that.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 16:06
The thing that I find most difficult is finding volunteer work where they have leadership positions or opportunities. Of course, I do have a lot of leadership positions in Undergrad groups and student government, but my volunteer record is really less than stellar.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 16:22
bsd_lover wrote:
At the Wharton information session, the director of admissions admitted that he had a lot of respect for people involved in volunteer work, however he said that there is no point in starting around the same time as one starts their applications essay, they see right through that.


True. Thats why I suggeted he take a leadership role in something he's been involved with at length.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 16:39
Thanks for the advice, rhyme.

Can you suggest something where a leadership position might be attainable from the get-go ? To tell you the truth, Ive done volunteering here and there, but they werent in any leadership roles . They were more just answering the call of 'volunteers needed'.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 16:59
pmenon wrote:
Thanks for the advice, rhyme.

Can you suggest something where a leadership position might be attainable from the get-go ? To tell you the truth, Ive done volunteering here and there, but they werent in any leadership roles . They were more just answering the call of 'volunteers needed'.


Are you still involved in anything? Often, its as easy as asking for one...

Feel free to PM if youd like , and welcome back.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 13:30
Rhyme, at the moment, I am not really involved in much. Last year, I was involved, in a small part, in the Toronto branch of my uni alum branch.

This year, Ive volunteered for an event coming up in August. The coordinator has also asked me whether Id be interested in helping to 'rejuventate' the branch, as its visibility and membership has declined over the past few years...that might be an interesting situation.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 16:19
pmenon wrote:
Rhyme, at the moment, I am not really involved in much. Last year, I was involved, in a small part, in the Toronto branch of my uni alum branch.

This year, Ive volunteered for an event coming up in August. The coordinator has also asked me whether Id be interested in helping to 'rejuventate' the branch, as its visibility and membership has declined over the past few years...that might be an interesting situation.


that's a great idea. Really, so many orgs are dying for leadership help. You shouldn't have a hard time finding something. And getting involved in your alum group is great -- it's something you've been involved with for a while.

And I don't know, but my hunch is that the adcoms love that -- what a little joiner you seem to be, a school booster, and a likely donor.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 16:52
Thanks !

I just emailed them back expressing an interest to help out. Hope it works out for me !
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 16:52
pmenon wrote:
Rhyme, at the moment, I am not really involved in much. Last year, I was involved, in a small part, in the Toronto branch of my uni alum branch.

This year, Ive volunteered for an event coming up in August. The coordinator has also asked me whether Id be interested in helping to 'rejuventate' the branch, as its visibility and membership has declined over the past few years...that might be an interesting situation.


Go for that....
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 20:18
A quick question about volunteering. If I did some volunteering work over the past few years, but didn't do as much of it only in the past year (due to various circumstances), should I try to explain that or should I just talk about what I've done in the past with those organizations and what the work involved without bringing undue attention to the gap?

Thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 06:05
kryzak wrote:
A quick question about volunteering. If I did some volunteering work over the past few years, but didn't do as much of it only in the past year (due to various circumstances), should I try to explain that or should I just talk about what I've done in the past with those organizations and what the work involved without bringing undue attention to the gap?

Thanks!


Part 2. You're early in the process, so you may still be saved: don't obsess over every little detail. Don't feel you need to disclose everything. It's hard to keep perspective as you dive into the black box insanity of mba application season, but you really don't need to disclose that bar tending job you held for two weeks your senior year or the fact that you haven't been a perfect volunteer angel over the last year. Your application is like beach front property - it's a precious commodity and not to be wasted on parking lots (ie irrelevant details that don't make you look good).
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 09:34
aaudetat wrote:
Part 2. You're early in the process, so you may still be saved: don't obsess over every little detail. Don't feel you need to disclose everything. It's hard to keep perspective as you dive into the black box insanity of mba application season, but you really don't need to disclose that bar tending job you held for two weeks your senior year or the fact that you haven't been a perfect volunteer angel over the last year. Your application is like beach front property - it's a precious commodity and not to be wasted on parking lots (ie irrelevant details that don't make you look good).


Totally agree with Aau.

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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 10:33
Great stuff aau! I do plan on resuming some of the stuff that got left off last year, but I had enough volunteering over the past 5 years (teaching under-priviledged kids science, astronomy, business, and music) that it's not something I just started doing because I wanted to apply to a B-school. =)
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2007, 10:53
kryzak wrote:
Great stuff aau! I do plan on resuming some of the stuff that got left off last year, but I had enough volunteering over the past 5 years (teaching under-priviledged kids science, astronomy, business, and music) that it's not something I just started doing because I wanted to apply to a B-school. =)


Good man.
  [#permalink] 30 Jul 2007, 10:53
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