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Community involvement

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Community involvement [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2008, 15:53
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I'll be applying for 2010 admission, so I've roughly 14 months or so to strengthen some areas.

I might be headed to Ethiopia soon for a voluntary effort in technology adoption, to teach kids about technology and help villagers out yada yada yada. Apart from that (along with some involvement in non-profit organizations in my UG days), I've nothing really "powerful" on my plate - yet.

I'm especially trying to improve my (leadership) involvement in voluntary efforts. What would you guys suggest? How active have you been in this regard? Done anything spectacular? I'd love to get an idea.

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New post 05 Aug 2008, 16:31
I suggest you go to Ethiopia to help with technology adoption. :stupid
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New post 05 Aug 2008, 16:51
mojoman wrote:
I'll be applying for 2010 admission, so I've roughly 14 months or so to strengthen some areas.

I might be headed to Ethiopia soon for a voluntary effort in technology adoption, to teach kids about technology and help villagers out yada yada yada. Apart from that (along with some involvement in non-profit organizations in my UG days), I've nothing really "powerful" on my plate - yet.

I'm especially trying to improve my (leadership) involvement in voluntary efforts. What would you guys suggest? How active have you been in this regard? Done anything spectacular? I'd love to get an idea.



You bring up a good point mojoman. I had an admissions consultant evaluate my profile, and in a nutshell, he said that i shouldn't apply to my schools of choice just because of my lack of post-college community involvement. I took his recommendation with a grain of salt.

Community involvement is important and i don't think its ever too late. I wouldn't go as far as taking time off from my job to go to Ethiopia, but i would try and find something to fit my schedule. I don't think business schools are looking for mother Theresas, but they are looking for people who in their spare time don't just sit and watch TV.

I'd be curious to find out how many post-MBAs continue their community involvement as before their MBAs. I also think there's a lot of lying and/or exaggeration going around. I really find it hard to believe how New York investment bankers working (supposedly) 70+ hours a week have had the time to save children from a genocide in Africa, climb Mount Everest, travel to 36 countries and start a non profit organization.

Personally, my first job after grad school, involved working long hours and traveling over 100 days in a year. In my new job I have some free time and I have been involved with a couple community activities. I am finding the experience quite rewarding despite the MBA application process. I still put in about 60-65 hours of work a week, which is much better than my 70+ average hours a week at my previous job.

I'd like to hear what others have to say. It may not be a make-or-break factor in your application, but its a factor nonetheless.

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New post 06 Aug 2008, 17:16
Hey Sarzan,

I agree with you that there is a lot of exaggeration going on. In fact, I was reading some student profiles last week and a few seemed a bit unbelievable to me. For example:

- Former analyst investment banker at a bulge bracket firm found time to assist a volunteer group building shelters for homeless people
- Another former analyst investment banker started a tutoring service for disadvantaged kids in his community
- And other similar stories ...

Now, not to be a cynic or anything, but my brother used to work as a consultant. He worked in Australia, where the hours are significantly better than those in the US, and he still put in around 60 hours a week. He had practically no spare time and had absolutely no time for any community service whatsoever. Hell, he didn't even have time to spend with his younger bro (my shameless attempt for sympathy). Any spare time he had, he spent it in bed sleeping. Seeing what he went through, I find it really hard to believe that an investment banker in the US (who works longer hours) would have time to do so much community service.

I dunno, maybe I'm just a cynic, and maybe there are guys out there who can get away with four hours sleep a night indefinitely. What do you guys think?

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New post 06 Aug 2008, 17:22
BTW Sarzan, who was the consultant who gave you that advice?

I spoke to a couple of consultants to get their free first time review. I find they contradict each other. So, I think it is wise to take their advice with a grain of salt.

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Re: Community involvement [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2008, 18:22
BSchoolorBust wrote:
Hey Sarzan,

I agree with you that there is a lot of exaggeration going on. In fact, I was reading some student profiles last week and a few seemed a bit unbelievable to me. For example:

- Former analyst investment banker at a bulge bracket firm found time to assist a volunteer group building shelters for homeless people
- Another former analyst investment banker started a tutoring service for disadvantaged kids in his community
- And other similar stories ...

Now, not to be a cynic or anything, but my brother used to work as a consultant. He worked in Australia, where the hours are significantly better than those in the US, and he still put in around 60 hours a week. He had practically no spare time and had absolutely no time for any community service whatsoever. Hell, he didn't even have time to spend with his younger bro (my shameless attempt for sympathy). Any spare time he had, he spent it in bed sleeping. Seeing what he went through, I find it really hard to believe that an investment banker in the US (who works longer hours) would have time to do so much community service.

I dunno, maybe I'm just a cynic, and maybe there are guys out there who can get away with four hours sleep a night indefinitely. What do you guys think?


Not to nitpick, but I find it a little crazy that your brother couldn't find any spare time on 60 hours a week.
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Re: Community involvement [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2008, 18:49
rca215 wrote:
Not to nitpick, but I find it a little crazy that your brother couldn't find any spare time on 60 hours a week.


Umm...you can work from 8am to 8pm five days a week, factor in commuting times, other personal/family commitments, social events, hobbies etc. and still have time to spare for community service?

I hope there's more people like you in this big, bad world of ours. :)

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New post 06 Aug 2008, 21:12
Quote:
Not to nitpick, but I find it a little crazy that your brother couldn't find any spare time on 60 hours a week.


Well, the life of a consultant (at least my brother's, I've never been a consultant) involves a lot of travel. Mon-Thurs were "offsite" days, where he would fly out and spend time at the client's location. Friday is "home office" day, but you pretty much spend all that time catching up on emails, etc. Factor in all that, and your week from Mon-Fri is pretty full, and you'd be pretty exhausted on Saturday. Sunday you spend organizing your own personal stuff, housework, etc, before catching the 8pm Sunday flight to the client site and start the week again. Add in family and friends, and there's not much time left.

The other issue is that his schedule is very volatile. One week he might work a 100 hours, and the next he might only work 40. But leading a community initiative (and I mean leading it properly) requires regular meetings and a regular commitment. You can't say "I'll work 20 hours on community service this week, and then do nothing for the next month". Community service groups don't work like that, at least in my experience anyway.

Anyway, that's my brother's experience. Maybe there are some people out there that are superhuman and do not need to sleep, but I certainly can't do that.

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 04:37
BSchoolorBust wrote:
BTW Sarzan, who was the consultant who gave you that advice?

I spoke to a couple of consultants to get their free first time review. I find they contradict each other. So, I think it is wise to take their advice with a grain of salt.


I will email you his name.

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 04:45
BSchoolorBust wrote:
Hey Sarzan,

I agree with you that there is a lot of exaggeration going on. In fact, I was reading some student profiles last week and a few seemed a bit unbelievable to me. For example:

- Former analyst investment banker at a bulge bracket firm found time to assist a volunteer group building shelters for homeless people
- Another former analyst investment banker started a tutoring service for disadvantaged kids in his community
- And other similar stories ...

Now, not to be a cynic or anything, but my brother used to work as a consultant. He worked in Australia, where the hours are significantly better than those in the US, and he still put in around 60 hours a week. He had practically no spare time and had absolutely no time for any community service whatsoever. Hell, he didn't even have time to spend with his younger bro (my shameless attempt for sympathy). Any spare time he had, he spent it in bed sleeping. Seeing what he went through, I find it really hard to believe that an investment banker in the US (who works longer hours) would have time to do so much community service.

I dunno, maybe I'm just a cynic, and maybe there are guys out there who can get away with four hours sleep a night indefinitely. What do you guys think?



I can only speak for myself... I work (on average) about 60 hours a week at my new job (some weeks more), and I do find some spare time to help out. I'm also still studying for the GMAT, so that takes up a lot of my free time.

But at my previous job, with traveling about 100-110 days of the year (about 10-15 trips), which were mostly all scheduled at the last minute, my life was on call ALL the time. I couldn't plan anything with any of my friends or family. During those trips, I would work over 80 hours a week easy, without factoring in travel time and commuting time. And when I would be back at the office, exhausted, I would still put in about 50 hours a week. So with that work schedule, the only community service I would do when I was back was rest so as to not flip out on anyone! Its one of the reasons I switched jobs - not so much for the hours of work, but for the unpredictability of my schedule. I literally couldn't plan anything, like even scheduling the cable guy to come in.

Now my schedule is: work 12 hours a day, study for the GMAT during the week. And on weekends I help out and also study for the GMAT and work on my essays. what a life!

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 05:07
solaris1 wrote:
rca215 wrote:
Not to nitpick, but I find it a little crazy that your brother couldn't find any spare time on 60 hours a week.


Umm...you can work from 8am to 8pm five days a week, factor in commuting times, other personal/family commitments, social events, hobbies etc. and still have time to spare for community service?

I hope there's more people like you in this big, bad world of ours. :)


Weekends? We read about hordes of people on this forum alone who manage to pull it off (see post above this). It's far from easy, but not too uncommon. How do you think bankers apply to business school with all the time-consuming work it requires?
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New post 07 Aug 2008, 05:50
I think there are a lot of us who work 75+ hours a week...only way to pull it off is writing/studying in the evenings/weekends and trying to do ECs that maybe don't need physical presence where virtual assistance is welcome. There do seem to be a few profiles that are exaggerated but I guess that's bound to happen :)

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 06:02
I think it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. A lot of people ramp up their ECs a year or so before applying. If you are a candidate in a common demographic, you might be willing to suck it up for a while in order to gain a competitive advantage. Frankly, 60 hours a week is not that bad. I work between 60-70 and have several co-workers who are in the same range + studying CFA or part-time MBAs (maybe 80-90 total hours a week) and they still manage to volunteer one or two days a week.

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 06:02
I have a 4 day work week during the Summer so that makes my volunteering an easy venture. Ahhhh, the perks of working in Academic Publishing :-D
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New post 07 Aug 2008, 12:15
It would be nice to know the volunteering activities of those who are already in b-school, if they don't mind posting.

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New post 07 Aug 2008, 16:01
raabenb wrote:
I have a 4 day work week during the Summer so that makes my volunteering an easy venture. Ahhhh, the perks of working in Academic Publishing :-D


lucky you!!

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New post 09 Aug 2008, 04:49
I have to work 5 1/3 days. sigh

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Re: Community involvement [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2008, 06:48
rca215 wrote:
Weekends? We read about hordes of people on this forum alone who manage to pull it off (see post above this). It's far from easy, but not too uncommon. How do you think bankers apply to business school with all the time-consuming work it requires?


I know more than a few bankers who had consultants who did most of the time consuming efforts on their applications from telling them what their best materials were to they write an essay and it comes back complete no 30 revisions. Plus they are a feeder industry and if they have the right school/work combination they are getting into a top 5 without having to have the quality you will. Heck some some banks and as far as I know many offices for the big three MC companies bring admission consultants in to help employees.

I only work 40-45hrs a week and never had time to volunteer. I was renovating a house, am married, and have a life. I hate to admit it but there were fun things I would rather do with my time than try to create a bunch of activities for myself just so I could get into school. Its pretty obvious when people do that. You dont do anything for 3 or 4 years and then suddenly you are super involved for a year or so before applying.

Dont let people con you into thinking if you did save orphans in a warzone during your weekends you arent getting in anyplace. Its all about spinning what you do with your spare time so you dont look like you get off from work, sit down on your couch and play Halo 3 or GTA even though I know some people who do that an awful lot.
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New post 09 Aug 2008, 06:55
Recently, I had a free evaluation done by MBA Exchange. I was surprised when the person who responded to me, a Harvard MBA advised me that my volunteer experience was low and they they could if I chose to use their services provide me with suggestions on how to improve it. "Even at this stage, we can help you identify, pursue and present significant leadership roles that require minimal time and avoid the perception of expediency."

I was surprised to hear this, but I guess many people who use consultants do have this advantage.

Anyway, I chose not to go with them.

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New post 09 Aug 2008, 07:07
I listen to AdComs when they say they look for an involvement or a passion and one thing is better than many. Also note that passion doesn't have to be just volunteering. It could be an interesting hobby or a fun activity you take part in. I find it hard to believe that the adcom will make decisions based on insincere volunteer activity. If people cheated on a test such as the GMAT, I can only imagine what those people lied about in their essays. They can read through the BS and are trying to discern whether your activity was meaningful to you not just to please the adcom.

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Re: Community involvement   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2008, 07:07

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