MBA admissions committees try to identify applicants who are constantly active, challenging themselves in all spheres of their lives. So, not only are extracurricular and community activities powerful in showing an MBA candidate’s benevolence, but they also help create the impression that the applicant is constantly pursuing goals and is therefore predisposed to success.
We regularly encounter applicants who say, “I have been so busy professionally that I haven’t had time to volunteer, but I was really active during college.” In almost all cases, however, as candidates get further from their college years, their undergraduate experience becomes decreasingly relevant. Although having a record of consistent achievement throughout college and into one’s professional life is best, MBA applicants are often evaluated on a “What have you done for me lately?” basis—meaning that contemporary community service is generally more important.
MBA admissions officers know that finding time to commit to external activities can sometimes be challenging, but they still see many applicants from the most competitive fields who indeed find time to give back to others. So, if you had a rich and rewarding college experience filled with leadership, in short, keep that trend going. You have a powerful complement to your contemporary involvements, but not a substitute.