Mission Admission: College Extracurriculars Not a Substitute for Current Community Service

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

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 candidate is always pursuing goals and is therefore predisposed to success.

Each week, we meet at least one candidate who says, “I have been so busy professionally that I haven’t had time to volunteer. However, I was really active during college.” In almost all cases, however, as candidates get further from their college years, their college experience becomes less and less relevant. Although having a record of consistent achievement throughout college and into a candidate’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.

Although MBA admissions officers know that finding time to commit to external activities can be challenging for some professionals, they still encounter many applicants from the most competitive fields who indeed find time to give back to others. So, if you had a rich and fulfilling college experience filled with leadership, in short, keep that trend going. You have a powerful complement to your contemporary involvements, but not a substitute.

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