Many candidates are already looking toward next year. Thus, we are reposting our series on Long Term MBA planning, with a keen eye toward helping candidates seize the next few months to maximize opportunities and mitigate problems. Our second entry follows:
As we noted in our previous post on Establishing Application Milestones, if you have not yet become involved in a community organization, now is the time to get started. If you start to volunteer in September, your gesture will seem far less sincere, and you will lack the track record to credibly discuss your experiences in your essays.
When considering volunteer activities, you should – first and foremost – become involved in an organization about which you feel passionate. If you are excited about your volunteer experience, you will be more committed, have a more profound experience and have a far more genuine story to tell.
Ideally, you will have a record of community experience that complements and supplements your profile: the accountant who volunteers with Junior Achievement is complementing his existing profile, showing a commitment to his professional path and the desire to give back in this area; the accountant who coaches soccer in his community is supplementing his profile in that he is offering a new window into his personality. Your community activities have the power to show a true passion for your field (complementary) or enhance the committee’s perspective (supplementary) and thus differentiate you from many others.
In the example above, we use Junior Achievement and soccer coaching to illustrate our point; while a solid commitment to any organization will be helpful to your candidacy, the more esoteric the organization, the more distinct you become. While you should not volunteer in a completely obscure organization just to be different, if you are truly passionate about both soccer and antiquities preservation, you should consider volunteering in the latter field, thus increasing your opportunities to discuss this unusual hobby/interest. Regardless of the organization and the nature of your activities, if you can (to cart out a cliché) “make a difference” within your organization and show true leadership in doing so, you should be able to add an entirely new dimension to your application.
We offer specific pre-application services for those interested in charting a clear course to their MBA.