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Thinking about extra curriculars to strengthen my Apps...

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Thinking about extra curriculars to strengthen my Apps... [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2007, 19:34
So i'm in the process of investigating MBA programs and i think it'll probably be a couple years before i start applying to programs in order to give me some time to give me enough experience to put something meaningful on my applications.

It's actually kinda funny though, thinking about the application process has opened my eyes to how many missed opportunities i've had - in terms of strengthening my credentials and also for personal growth. For example, i'm an avid follower of politics and i love to read about it and debate/argue with people in political forums all day long. Now that i've been thinking about the MBA application process, it's hit me like a sledgehammer that i could've been more active politically instead of yammering away with anonymous people over the internet. Now i'm actually planning on joining a local chapter of the libertarian party and doing something constructive for society. I think it'll be great for me personally and if i do some meaningful projects, it'll be great to put on my apps.

Another thing that bothers me when i look back on the past few years is the fact that i don't do any volunteer work anymore. I used to do volunteer in high school and college (especially with my church back when i was fairly religious) but i've been a slacker in this area for the past few years... now i'm thinking of going back into community service. I think this is a little tricky though, because i want to give back, but it has to be something i'll really enjoy doing, feel good about, and be something that's unique. Not too sure what I want to do here.

As for my academics.. well, what's done is done. I barely squeaked by with a 3.01 GPA so i can't change that. I took a certificate program in accounting and got a 3.5 GPA though (10 courses i think). I'm also currently studying for the CMA (Certified Managerial Accountant) license. Do Admissions officers take those types of post-undergrad educational activities into consideration? I'm thinking of maybe doing a couple other certificate programs before applying... maybe even a masters degree that only requires 1 year of part-time study.

What do you guys think? Anything else i could do?
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2007, 19:51
Reach out to your undergraduate alumni clubs. Find out who runs the one in your city. If no one does, then start your own. The school will help.

Reach out to any existing or previous charities / groups / club you were a part of. Ask them if they have any issues or needs. Meet with them and ideally meet with a director of the club or charity. Offer to help, but ideally in a strategic area. That is, if you contact a puppy pound, ask them what they key challenges are, not how to volunteer on a saturday. Build rapport, get to know someone in the org, and integrate yourself in a role beyond that of "volunteer kennel cleaner".

Try coming out and outright asking for a significant role in a charity or - this works surprisingly well. Youd be shocked really. Seriously, try it. You wont believe the results.

Check out meetup.com - its INSANELY easy to join something local or start your own (running your own is not free, but in like two weeks I made a 30 person club - just pick something smart - ie not a jane austen club...)... I did this late, in the game and never even listed it on my apps cause I thought my more long standing stuff would seem more meaningful, but if you start early enough you can build something here.

If you were part of a frat, call the frat, talk to the president. Ask him how things are, bla bla, ask him if he needs help with anything. I know a guy who got some kind of "Director of Fund Raising" role by doing this. It's kind of bull, and that irritates me on a variety of levels, but he promises he'll actually do something at some point.
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2007, 22:29
rhyme wrote:
Reach out to your undergraduate alumni clubs. Find out who runs the one in your city. If no one does, then start your own. The school will help.

Reach out to any existing or previous charities / groups / club you were a part of. Ask them if they have any issues or needs. Meet with them and ideally meet with a director of the club or charity. Offer to help, but ideally in a strategic area. That is, if you contact a puppy pound, ask them what they key challenges are, not how to volunteer on a saturday. Build rapport, get to know someone in the org, and integrate yourself in a role beyond that of "volunteer kennel cleaner".

Try coming out and outright asking for a significant role in a charity or - this works surprisingly well. Youd be shocked really. Seriously, try it. You wont believe the results.

Check out meetup.com - its INSANELY easy to join something local or start your own (running your own is not free, but in like two weeks I made a 30 person club - just pick something smart - ie not a jane austen club...)... I did this late, in the game and never even listed it on my apps cause I thought my more long standing stuff would seem more meaningful, but if you start early enough you can build something here.

If you were part of a frat, call the frat, talk to the president. Ask him how things are, bla bla, ask him if he needs help with anything. I know a guy who got some kind of "Director of Fund Raising" role by doing this. It's kind of bull, and that irritates me on a variety of levels, but he promises he'll actually do something at some point.


Great piece of advice, rhyme! If I fail this year, I will follow it. :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 05:57
Rhyme had great advice. I will throw out something that would be lower-level, but I think still acceptable.

There are free tax preparation sites all over the country. These sites do free or low-cost tax preparation for low-income working families, and often include ITIN assistance, financial education, and other services. And they are all super hard-up for volunteers. Some of these groups would be all for someone who wants to do strategy-level work, so that's a possibility, but all of them need financial educators and tax preparers. It's fun work, WAY more practical than learning how to clean dog kennels, and many biz and law schools offer free tax prep programs, so it's something the adcoms would likely recognize. Unlike some volunteer roles, you see the immediate benefit -- helping someone finally understand depreciation on their schedule c or handing a working mom a refund of $5000 after just 45 minutes of work is incredibly gratifying. And the best part is that you're quite busy during the winter months, and once it gets nice out, you're done for the year.

Disclaimer: I run one of these programs.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:04
What if poor people scare you?
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:10
rhyme wrote:
What if poor people scare you?


Oh, lord, then this is NOT the job for you. NOT NOT NOT.

Last night a woman came in who was clearly VERY mentally disturbed. She had this HUGE pile of paperwork, old water bills, kmart receipts, god knows what. She kept rambling at me, basically repeating her zip code and her water bill over and over and over. Reminded me of the guy in the mental institution who tells Hurely the cursed numbers on Lost. Only she had more variety and was much more active than that guy.

I just kept talking to her very slowly, trying to get information out of her to figure out if she actually needed to get her taxes done. After a while, I realized she didn't so I extricated myself as gently as I could. It makes me sad, actually, to see what some folks have to carry around with them. I can only imagine that life must be very hard.

But really, most people we help are SO incredibly grateful, fun people, tell you interesting things. And whoever runs the show will generally end up dealing with anyone difficult or frustrating - that's the joy of being a volunteer. You don't have to do anything you don't want to because we're all so desperate to have you come back.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:11
rhyme wrote:
What if poor people scare you?


What if puppies scare me? :shock: Especially the hush ones...
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:15
helg wrote:
rhyme wrote:
What if poor people scare you?


What if puppies scare me? :shock: Especially the hush ones...


It's ok, helg, don't worry. No puppies at tax programs. I promise. And I promise I won't let them get you.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:29
helg wrote:
rhyme wrote:
What if poor people scare you?


What if puppies scare me? :shock: Especially the hush ones...


We have a program for that.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 06:31
aaudetat wrote:
helg wrote:
rhyme wrote:
What if poor people scare you?


What if puppies scare me? :shock: Especially the hush ones...


It's ok, helg, don't worry. No puppies at tax programs. I promise. And I promise I won't let them get you.


*exhails loudly*

Pheeeeew! Thanks, aaudetat!
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2007, 14:36
My extras were somehow different, but seem to have worked as well.
I played music, sometimes for fun, sometimes for funds (charities) in several bands. I also helped a co-worker set up his own microbusiness. And I was a teacher assistant during undergrad and for a couple of years after that.

Cheers. L.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2007, 14:33
Thanks for the advice guys, i actually did do volunteer tax preparation during tax season a few years ago as well, it was decent experience.

I'll checkup meetup.com as well, that sounds promising.

THANKS! :)
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2007, 14:38
aaudetat wrote:
Rhyme had great advice. I will throw out something that would be lower-level, but I think still acceptable.

There are free tax preparation sites all over the country. These sites do free or low-cost tax preparation for low-income working families, and often include ITIN assistance, financial education, and other services. And they are all super hard-up for volunteers. Some of these groups would be all for someone who wants to do strategy-level work, so that's a possibility, but all of them need financial educators and tax preparers. It's fun work, WAY more practical than learning how to clean dog kennels, and many biz and law schools offer free tax prep programs, so it's something the adcoms would likely recognize. Unlike some volunteer roles, you see the immediate benefit -- helping someone finally understand depreciation on their schedule c or handing a working mom a refund of $5000 after just 45 minutes of work is incredibly gratifying. And the best part is that you're quite busy during the winter months, and once it gets nice out, you're done for the year.

Disclaimer: I run one of these programs.

I've been a tax preparer at one of these sites for 3 years now. I completely agree with everything aaudetat mentioned. For me, it's been very rewarding volunteer work and also something I could leverage in my B-school apps as well as mention in interviews. The director of my site even wrote me a letter that I submitted in additon to my professional recs.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2007, 10:37
Phokus if like outdoors perhaps you'd like to join me volunteering for CT chapter of Appalachian mountain club, they need volunteers for trail maintenance and hike organizers/leaders.
http://www.ct-amc.org/Common/WorkPartyListings.htm
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2007, 14:06
Nsentra wrote:
Phokus if like outdoors perhaps you'd like to join me volunteering for CT chapter of Appalachian mountain club, they need volunteers for trail maintenance and hike organizers/leaders.
http://www.ct-amc.org/Common/WorkPartyListings.htm


If the weather is warmer ;) i'll take a look at it.
  [#permalink] 26 Mar 2007, 14:06
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