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Community Service

Most applicants don’t have continuous involvement with one non-profit. When they learn that the spike in activity, 1 year before admissions would be judged as manipulation by the US schools, the geographic spread of their target schools widens. European schools don't have such heavy emphasis on volunteering and extra-curricular. However, if you were among those who had decent involvement (3-4 months each) in a non-profit while managing an impressive career progression, positioning the extra-curricular experience is necessary for a Winning MBA Application.

Here are 5 ways to position your volunteering/extra-curricular experience

1) Choice of Organization

Although schools don't openly share this uncomfortable trend, applicants from Fortune 100 companies have a clear advantage over applicants building their multi-functional skills in a start-up or performing above their peers in a 200 to 500 ranked Fortune company. When you have 3-4 years of experience in one organization, the sub-conscious question that admission team would have is - can the applicant excel in a highly...
Categories : Community Service

Q) I've read that extra-curricular activities (ie. leadership via community involvement) is an important part of the assessment. As a consultant/auditor I have little time for activities outside of work, however I have good leadership experience of many teams in the work environment. Could you comment about the weight placed on community involvement in the application process? – Jay

Stacy Blackman:

Hi Jay,

Community involvement is very important to the application process because MBA programs pride themselves in training future leaders, not just educating a bunch of people who know how to calculate an IRR. They look for individuals who are concerned about doing great work and improving the world around them.

Although some younger candidates feel that even though they have not prioritized “extracurricular” activities early in their careers, they will definitely focus on these activities once they are more established. However, typically the patterns we establish toward community activities early in our careers remain...

Leadership and Social Awareness MBA ApplicationDiversity in nationalities, pre-MBA experience, undergraduate degree, and socio-economic background are considered by Business Schools before finalizing the class. Students interested in Finance, Consulting and Technology constitute the chunk of the class representation but around 20-25% of the class is for candidates who might not show great academic background but has proven Leadership skills and Social Awareness. We have covered several attributes about leadership in our previous articles. But to summarize: a leader should have the following qualities:

a) Focus
b) Good Listening Skills
c) Humility
d) Gain trust of the team
e) Take personal...

Categories : Community Service

Community service is on the top five must have experience for business school application. What can you do if you are not involved with any community services?

Don’t Fake it

Do not lie about your participation in community service. The admission officers can easily make out your passion and your contribution to these organizations.

Avoid last minute community work

You might have heard of advices from Alumni “ to join a community service one year prior to the course ” – bad advice. Your intentions would be made clear with the last minute move. Avoid it.


If you have not been involved with any community service, try to elaborate on your experience in mentoring your junior team member. If you were the junior most team member, describe an incident where you voluntarily helped your colleague with his/her work.

Try to show your human side for this part of your application. Business schools want a balanced candidate who is not only an ace student but also a kind one.

But that doesn't mean that you should never be part of any non-profit organization . For starters, volunteer for...

Categories : Community Service

Community Service plays a significant role in evaluating MBA applicants’ profile for the following reasons:

1. Values: Seeing how you spend your time outside of work is a good indication of what are the important things in your life (compared with your claims in other parts of the application)

2. Contributions to the program: MBA’s are student-driven programs; clubs are run by current MBA students and strong leaders make the MBA experience better by organizing events, adding new clubs/events/treks, and strengthening the relationship with alumni and recruiters.  If you’ve been involved in the past, it’s likely that you will contribute to such activities during your MBA. 

3. Leadership: If you perceive yourself as a leader but don’t manage people in your job, then community service will help you. Community work shows the schools your leadership potential and skills.

4. Consistency: MBA programs like people who are focused and have a long term view, so a 3 years involvement of 2 hours per month in your community is more significant than a 2-weeks volunteer project in Africa or another remote location.

5. Time management: All MBA applicants...

Categories : Community Service

1. Start as early as possible – college is a good time;  keep volunteering when you join the work force, even if you can spend only a few hours a month.

2. Pick projects that are important for you and that are in line with your interests and needs. To improve your public speaking join Toast Masters,  or volunteer with Big Brother Big Sister if you care about kids. Don’t be afraid to join a smaller less-known organization – you might get a chance to have a greater impact on it. 

3. Make it work – if you travel a lot or don’t have time to meet people in person, find community work that you can do remotely or as part of your work (recruiting, volunteer projects with the company etc).

4. Go for quality, not quantity - it’s not about the number of organizations you participate in, it’s your impact on them and how you were able o contribute to that community.

Categories : Community Service

F1GMAT: Nearly all Business School asks about the applicant’s involvement in community service. What are some of the points to keep in mind while writing about the community service experience? What should an applicant do in cases where he doesn't have any community service experience?

Stacy: Business schools pride themselves in training future leaders, not just educating a bunch of people who know how to calculate an IRR and overuse the word “leverage.” This is why so many ask about an applicant’s involvement in community service. MBA programs look for individuals who are concerned about doing great work and improving the world around them.

Community service experiences are important for the following reasons:

1) They show that an individual is multi-dimensional. They demonstrate, interests, passions, personality. As such, they help the admissions committees get to know you beyond your professional goals.

2) Being involved outside of work shows that you can balance multiple commitments, and that you are the type of person who will be able to balance academics with clubs, conferences, recruiting, and more, once you are at school....

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