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Importance of Volunteerism

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Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 09:17
So as we all know most schools want, or claim they want, a well-rounded candidate. That just an outstanding GPA and GMAT score will not guarantee admissions. So to maximize the impact of my application I was considering trying to add some voluteer hours.

Now I have a couple of questions:

1. Do admissions officers really care that much about volunteering? If it's at best a distant after-thought or just a way to cement an otherwise admission worthy application package I might not be as tempted to find something.

2. Assuming it is a criterion they truly do covet in a applicant, what exactly are they looking for? Does it have to be business related, ie. fundrasising or being on the BOD for a charity, or would big brothers or working in a soup kitchen be acceptable as well? I guess Im asking if, in the eyes of b-schools, all volunteer hours are created equally?

3. I'm applying for Fall 2011 and I will be applying early. Will this leave enough time to get in some good hours without it being obvious to admissions boards that I've only started volunteering at the last minute in order to pad my application?

Any insight, ideas or personal stories regarding this would be a huge help!
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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 10:42
Currency wrote:
So as we all know most schools want, or claim they want, a well-rounded candidate. That just an outstanding GPA and GMAT score will not guarantee admissions. So to maximize the impact of my application I was considering trying to add some voluteer hours.

Now I have a couple of questions:

1. Do admissions officers really care that much about volunteering? If it's at best a distant after-thought or just a way to cement an otherwise admission worthy application package I might not be as tempted to find something.

2. Assuming it is a criterion they truly do covet in a applicant, what exactly are they looking for? Does it have to be business related, ie. fundrasising or being on the BOD for a charity, or would big brothers or working in a soup kitchen be acceptable as well? I guess Im asking if, in the eyes of b-schools, all volunteer hours are created equally?

3. I'm applying for Fall 2011 and I will be applying early. Will this leave enough time to get in some good hours without it being obvious to admissions boards that I've only started volunteering at the last minute in order to pad my application?

Any insight, ideas or personal stories regarding this would be a huge help!


Hi Currency,

Volunteering is yet another way for an applicant to demonstrate the soft skills that AdComs look for - leadership, teamwork, communication, initiative, etc. The additional draw for volunteerism is the same (and slightly more) as doing an extra project at work - the fact that you did something beyond the expected.

Read the rest of my evaluation on the My MBA Admit thread.

Check out our blog for more advice on this subject: http://blog.mymbaadmit.com/2010/01/25/what-if-i-dont-like-community-service-and-want-to-apply-for-a-mba.aspx

From working with clients, I have found that there is always something in the profile that can be used to demonstrate community service. It is very rare for anyone to go through their lives without volunteering at all :)

Feel free to set up a free initial consultation at mbaconsult@mymbaadmit.com to discuss your application further. We specialize in helping clients position themselves for the business program at hand. Check out our Volume Discounts and Packages tailored to your application needs.
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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 10:54
Thanks for the response.

I think your right - the last minute flood of volunteering is probably obvious. I'm not sure if Im beyond that or not. However, as the linked article rightly points out - if your truly care about what your doing then it'll show. I just need to figure out what "that" is.

Anyone have any interesting extra-curricular activity suggestions? I'm into sports...maybe coaching or refereeing? Any stories, insights would be helpful!
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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 11:06
Currency wrote:
Thanks for the response.

I think your right - the last minute flood of volunteering is probably obvious. I'm not sure if Im beyond that or not. However, as the linked article rightly points out - if your truly care about what your doing then it'll show. I just need to figure out what "that" is.

Anyone have any interesting extra-curricular activity suggestions? I'm into sports...maybe coaching or refereeing? Any stories, insights would be helpful!


Glad I could help. As for suggestions, the article I pointed out to had an example of a candidate using his love for sports as umpire/referee/Track & Field official. Another client used to coach physically handicapped children in soccer. I am sure a lot of organizations, especially those that deal with young adults, would be glad for your help!

Best of luck!
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Just starting the MBA application process? Our Candidate Profiling and School Selection report is currently offered for $100 only! This 10-page report conducts a multidimensional profile evaluation, and provides you with a comprehensive list of business schools that match. Click to Find Out More!

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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 08:56
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Hi Currency:
Yes, admissions officers really do care and the degree is very much dependent on the school.
For example, UCLA, SOM, Tuck, Haas and GSB care extensively about your personal characteristics and ask questions directly around this. They want to know that the personal characteristics your have developed have been honed over time and are tested through a leadership example.

In my 8 years of experience in working with hundreds of clients, this has been the biggest x factor and often the missing piece of the puzzle of the "acceptance equation." Your "volunteerism" denotes a physical manifestation of the passions, values, norms and beliefs you have developed. So these types of activities, for a competitive applicant, can never be thought of as an afterthoughts, but rather a critical piece to your applicant profile. Coming late to the game, wrt volunteering, looks lame but is better than not volunteering at all IMHO.

All volunteering hours are not created equally. The best volunteering experiences will share 3 characteristics, they offer up a leadership opportunity and they allow you to possibly use your business skills in a professional setting, they provide for a cause that is greater than your own. As an example, think of things like StartingBloc, Riordan Programs and the Saturday Business Academy. These are all the perfect opportunities to blend professional experience while demonstrating the ability to produce a result that resonates with your values, norms and beliefs.

Your third question is partially answered above. However, it is better to start late than never as cliche as that may sound. Just make sure that you have a personal and professional connection to the volunteer experience. Please know that your volunteering selection is also critically important to your goals upon graduation, especially your longer term goals.

If I had to share a good personal story, it would be with an HBS admit I worked with for this year. He had the opportunity to work for a micro finance lender that he was "volunteering" with initially. As the organization grew, he took a sabbatical to fully engage this organization while taking time off from his exploits at a large accounting firm. Additionally, his family had a long history in developmental finance and banks in Asia. So this experience gave him the opportunity to blend a long family history with leadership in a personal and professional paradigm. This example showed that he could walk the social entrepreneurship talk and it put him over the line at HBS.

I hope this sheds some light. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
-Paul Lanzillotti

Currency wrote:
So as we all know most schools want, or claim they want, a well-rounded candidate. That just an outstanding GPA and GMAT score will not guarantee admissions. So to maximize the impact of my application I was considering trying to add some voluteer hours.

Now I have a couple of questions:

1. Do admissions officers really care that much about volunteering? If it's at best a distant after-thought or just a way to cement an otherwise admission worthy application package I might not be as tempted to find something.

2. Assuming it is a criterion they truly do covet in a applicant, what exactly are they looking for? Does it have to be business related, ie. fundrasising or being on the BOD for a charity, or would big brothers or working in a soup kitchen be acceptable as well? I guess Im asking if, in the eyes of b-schools, all volunteer hours are created equally?

3. I'm applying for Fall 2011 and I will be applying early. Will this leave enough time to get in some good hours without it being obvious to admissions boards that I've only started volunteering at the last minute in order to pad my application?

Any insight, ideas or personal stories regarding this would be a huge help!

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 09:58
Paul,

Great post +1.

I'm not trying to compete for the elite school here. But I think your right, its the physical manifestation of who you are. I need to find a way to get the volunteer hours in, but its gotta be something I have a connection to - your right. I don't know if doling out biscuits at a local soup kitchen has the same impact as something like being on the BOD for a chartiable organization or something of the like. The latter doesnt turn my crank at all though. I'll need to be a bit more creative. Hell, maybe even starting my own charity or organization would work! That's leadership! Wow. I think I may have just found a solution. Ha ha! Now and I'm getting some ideas.

Thanks again for the reply!

currency
_________________

G.T.L. - GMAT, Tanning, Laundry

Round 1: 05/12/10 handling-a-grenade-thesituation-s-official-debrief-94181.html

Round 2: 07/10/10 - This time it's personal.

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Re: Importance of Volunteerism [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 10:24
Expert's post
Thanks for the love. Take a look at your longer term goals (ie. consulting), see what you have a gap in (ie. not enough strategy projects), volunteer for something like the USA Leadership Corps http://www.usaleadershipcorps.org/index.html

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

Currency wrote:
Paul,

Great post +1.

I'm not trying to compete for the elite school here. But I think your right, its the physical manifestation of who you are. I need to find a way to get the volunteer hours in, but its gotta be something I have a connection to - your right. I don't know if doling out biscuits at a local soup kitchen has the same impact as something like being on the BOD for a chartiable organization or something of the like. The latter doesnt turn my crank at all though. I'll need to be a bit more creative. Hell, maybe even starting my own charity or organization would work! That's leadership! Wow. I think I may have just found a solution. Ha ha! Now and I'm getting some ideas.

Thanks again for the reply!

currency

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Re: Importance of Volunteerism   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2010, 10:24
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