Significance of Extracurriculars for MBA Application
When it comes to the MBA admission process at top B-Schools, the significance of your extracurricular activities is multifaceted. These activities offer insights into your skills beyond the resume, showcasing your leadership abilities and inner qualities alongside your work acumen. The role they play in your application is pivotal, providing a holistic perspective on your overall profile.
Now you may ask why so many top B-schools ask about extracurricular activities for MBA application? Or, Do I have to write it? Or (more pressing), What do I write if I have none?
To answer your question in one sentence- Yes, you MUST write them, and you don’t know this, but you have a lot of ECs (more on this later!). To explain more, extracurricular activities for MBA help bring an alternative form of your heterogeneity (simply said, diversity) to Adcoms attention. In addition, they present a great way to learn more about your new skills /values, personality, and experiences and add additional points to your profile by providing strong reasons for them to consider your application positively.
We talk to adcoms every year, and the one thing that is common across all B-schools is that they want to know who you are (without self-biases) and how you fit into the community. And your ECs are the strongest evidence for this.
This article will deal with one of the most critical aspects of an MBA profile: how to highlight Extracurriculars in your applications. Then, we’ll discuss different kinds of ECAs, how to categorize them and how to use them in your B-School essays. Additionally, we will uncover ways to make your Extracurricular Essays stand out, along with practical tips for optimizing the entire extracurricular essays framework for maximum impact.(along with sharing the essay of a successful applicant!).
But first, let us look at some common attributes showcased by your ECAs.
Here is the Snapshot of the article:
ROLE OF EXTRACURRICULARS ACTIVITIES FOR MBA IN THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS
We all are well aware of the role different aspects of a candidate’s profile, such as academic profile, work experience, standardized tests (GRE/GMAT, TOEFL & IELTS), LORs, and B-school essays, play in the MBA admissions process.
Beyond the aforementioned factors, Extracurricular activities for MBA constitute a crucial aspect. Among the six profile elements discussed earlier, they offer a valuable opportunity to infuse diversity of ideas and personality. Engaging in these activities provides a platform to showcase your impact on the community, an essential element for distinguishing yourself from your peers.
IMPORTANCE OF EXTRACURRICULARS FOR MBA RESUME IN YOUR APPLICATION
What attributes do Extracurricular Activities for MBA underline in front of Adcoms?
Suggested Reading: How to build your MBA application 101?
ABILITY TO MULTITASK
In today’s swiftly evolving business landscape, there is a significant need for individuals capable of multitasking at advanced levels. Whether you’re pursuing an undergraduate program or engaged in full-time employment, excelling in your extracurriculars serves as an indicator of your adeptness in multitasking—an essential attribute for any top candidate.
The primary goal of an MBA program is to prepare students for leadership roles in the business world. Hence any notable example of leadership at any level, whether leading potential recruits through the club at school, handling logistics for the college fest committee, organizing a summit, representing your sports club at different levels/ alma mater in national-level sports competitions, etc., the skill-set developed in management, leadership and the ability to work well in a team setting are highlighted via your participation in ECA. Hence, these become an excellent indicator of your potential future leadership.
Suggested reading: How to exhibit different forms of leadership in your MBA application?
An entrepreneur’s biggest characteristic is to take initiatives that most are afraid to because of the risk involved. Undoubtedly, admissions committees highly value individuals with entrepreneurial spirit! Whether it’s initiating a college activity club, devising strategies to address social challenges, or launching a successful startup, your capacity to take calculated risks and work independently on projects are indispensable qualities for every entrepreneur. Utilizing an Extracurricular Activity (ECA) provides a platform to showcase these vital characteristics that can enhance your chances of securing a coveted spot in an MBA program.
If you don’t have any particular ECs to show, you can and must talk about anything that interests you (it can be as simple as cooking or dancing). Just bring out your personality and make your applications interesting.
WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES FOR MBA TO INCLUDE? CATEGORIZING YOUR EXTRACURRICULARS
Extracurricular activities for MBA encompass a broad spectrum, including hobbies, school clubs, group participation, volunteering, community work, and startups. In essence, an Extracurricular Activity for MBA involves engaging in something productive “outside one’s regular duties or routine” and “not in the scope of a regular school curriculum.” Following this definition opens up an almost limitless array of potential Extracurricular activities for MBA. The key is to think outside the box and beyond the resume, a concept introduced at the beginning of this article. Even if your involvement in schoolwork or college fests is limited, don’t be discouraged. Chances are you have a unique hobby you’ve consistently pursued, and now the task is to find a way to present it effectively.
Moreover, while selecting your Extracurricular activities for MBA, do not rush to add everything you have ever done. Instead, be selective, pick what would reflect your most impactful and authentic self, and always remember to add a tinge of diversity.
Diversity is important, fellas! Craft a well-organized list to categorize your extracurriculars for MBA, ensuring avoidance of repetition.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CATEGORIZATIONS
Time of Extracurricular Activities
Organize your Extracurricular activities for MBA based on the periods of involvement, such as senior secondary, college, or workplace. To enhance your profile, consider including diverse activities from each time frame, showcasing your holistic development and growth over the years. Additionally, categorize whether these activities were individual tasks or team-related efforts. Don’t forget to include any hobbies or ECAs from grade school that you are still actively engaged in, demonstrating endurance, passion, and loyalty.
Type of Extracurricular activities for MBA
Extracurricular activities for MBA can be categorized based on your requirements, and we propose a division into frequent, new, and innovative ECAs for clarity. An example of a regularly performed hobby or activity, such as organizing a monthly event for a longstanding club membership, would fall under frequent Extracurricular activities for MBA. This approach allows you to consolidate diverse contributions under a single entry, optimizing space on your resume. Additionally, it prevents repetition, establishing a consistent record of your accomplishments.
Suppose you have been part of something occasionally or infrequently, such as community service or volunteering work for social purposes. In that case, those will help showcase your depth of character, along with your sense of justice and ability to lead and work as a unit, among other qualities.
Moreover, if you had launched a start-up or taken the initiative to drive a change in the traditional business world, it would show that you are willing to take necessary risks to bring about a shift in the well-established norms of the business world.
Where to use your Extracurricular activities for MBA?
By now, you likely recognize the significance that ECAs contribute to your profile. However, possessing commendable ECAs alone isn’t sufficient; it’s crucial how you integrate them into your profile, B-school essays, and utilize examples during interviews. Consider adopting non-traditional methods, such as video blogs, YouTube channels, websites, or other digital formats, to add a captivating and diverse dimension to your CV and LORs. These minor additions can transform your ECAs from “one of many” to one that “stands out” from the crowd and give you an upper hand on another potential student sharing the same hobby with the university.
HOW TO STAND OUT IN YOUR EXTRACURRICULAR ESSAYS?
Having a handful of Extracurricular activities for MBA won’t do much good if you cannot use them properly in your B-School essays. So, how to begin? First, let us follow a stepwise approach to draw a rough outline of the whole framework.
First, you need to decide which extracurricular activities for MBA resume to write about, and the answer is quite simple. Something that gained you recognition, where you demonstrated your leadership potential, and where you were required to shoulder some real responsibilities.
Moreover, it should be something you are passionate about and believe it helped develop the most relevant skill-set, which aligns with the school values (very important, mate!).
It would help structure your essay if you followed the much-famed STAR approach to writing. STAR stands for Situation-Task-Action-Result, a process commonly employed when addressing essay questions. Integrating this approach brings a unique touch and strong impact to your essays.
Not familiar with the term? You could read our article on the STAR approach to essay writing for your reference. It would help you gain a better understanding of the term.
Remember to mention the crucial steps taken, clarify your role, impact, lessons learned, and values you gained. Provide specific pieces of evidence that gives a sense that your work mattered.
HOW SHOULD YOU POSITION YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY ECS OUTSIDE WORK?
There is no need to be disheartened for potential MBA aspirants who do not have many or even any ECA. It is never too late to begin!
You don’t necessarily need to have long-term ECAs; one can still have fruitful results, even if you do not start until your application preparations. The key is to avoid being too casual about your extracurricular activities for your MBA resume. Sharing even minor contributions is preferable to sharing nothing at all, as it contributes positively to the impression you create of yourself.
If you have a few extracurriculars for MBA, work to improve them rather than starting from the beginning. Or, just talk about your hobbies and interests. We have so many super successful applicants who did not have ECs but brought a strong and interesting personality!
Refrain from exaggerating and making up, as it never bodes well for your reputation. Extracurriculars for MBA are a way to demonstrate critical traits and skills that could be shown through work-related responsibilities. Eventually, you will be interviewed before the adcom, and your Extracurricular activities will be discussed. Dishonesty in any form would lead to rejection of your candidature.
SAMPLE OF EXTRACURRICULAR ESSAYS OF A SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT TO INSEAD
Hopefully, this has instilled confidence in showcasing a strong, vibrant personality through your ECs, even if you lack traditional NGO or volunteering experience. We genuinely believe in the uniqueness of each applicant (ask any of our successful applicants). With the right strategy and guidance, you can craft a 100% unique application that leaves a lasting impression on adcoms. If you’re interested, we’d be delighted to engage in a call with you to provide a comprehensive 360-degree analysis of your profile, including strengths, weaknesses, goals, and ECs.
Frequently Asked Questions
DO EXTRACURRICULARS MATTER FOR MBA?
Extracurricular activities for MBA play a multifaceted role in your admission process. First, it can give a good idea about your skills, leadership abilities, and the inner qualities you possess apart from work understanding and help bring an alternative form of your heterogeneity to Adcoms attention.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES TO PUT ON A RESUME?
There is an endless list of possible Extracurricular activities for MBA resume. However, while selecting your extracurriculars for MBA, you need to think outside the box to be diverse, Something that gained you recognition, where you demonstrated your leadership potential, and where you were required to shoulder some real responsibilities. Moreover, it should be something you are compassionate about and believe that it helped develop the most relevant skill-set, which aligns with the school values.