Before you go into why extracurricular is important for essays, understand which school you are applying. For Finance focused schools - Booth/Wharton, measuring your skills in Finance is straightforward. They have to evaluate your professional progress to measure competency. Recommendation letters and resume give hints on professional achievements. Transcripts demonstrate your aptitude for the post-MBA job function. But rarely does an MBA candidate achieve extraordinary feat by doing the basic minimum for a job. Accepting such applicants can decrease the cumulative brand value of the school. That is where extra-curricular comes into play.
Extracurricular = Balanced Personality
If you are good with numbers, statistical analysis and developing financial models, but work poorly in a team, then selecting you for the latest Booth MBA class, and eventually to one of the top Employers - Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, or Deutsche Bank, might go against Booth’s career service team. In a high-pressure environment like Investment Banking, where sales and marketing are equally important as preparing Financial Products, a single-tracked personality would not climb the career ladder swiftly. They will be pigeonholed into one technical expertise. And that is not good for the school when they cite the career progression of Alumni.
The resume, essays, and recommendation letters are part of the first round of evaluation. Since recommendation letter has a pre-defined format with little leeway in terms of creativity, essays become the all-important point of persuasion. Extracurricular should be strategically used to complement your functional skills.
Extracurricular Activities for MBA Application Essay
As we have demonstrated in our tips for writing extracurricular for MBA Application, include any activity where you have to come out of your comfort zone, interacted with a group of diverse personalities, and persuaded someone to follow your plan of action. Sales, in essence, is interrupting the train of thoughts of a high net worth individual or a decision maker. Without the vulnerability for rejection and risk, your post-MBA career path will be limited to technical skills that go against the motivation to pursue an MBA.
Let us look at the Big Five Model of traits to evaluate whether the applicant in the Finance sector has a balanced personality trait.
For a Finance professional, marked curiosity is preferred. Excessive risk taking from curiosity or carelessness can go against the applicant. Extraversion is an acceptable trait in any top MBA program. Selling to a friendly market demonstrates friendliness, but not all scenarios require friendly demeanor. Changing the outlook of a market with a new product or service requires challenging the existing view of what is feasible. On Neuroticism, a balance of sensitivity while receiving feedback or motivating the team but Confidence while leading the team is preferred.
Now comes the tricky part. Not all five traits will be covered in the recommendation letter or essays. Extracurricular part of your profile should be captured to balance the personality traits.
Look at the preferred traits for a candidate from Finance background. Typically, an MBA Applicant will have 2-3 previous employers. If you can cover only Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness through your professional experience, extracurricular should include one of the experiences:
1) Stand-up comedy
3) Debate Team
4) Hosting Gigs
5) Working for non-profit
6) Active Military Duty
7) Leading a sports team
8) Leading the volunteering team
Hope you understand the thought process behind extracurricular in MBA Application essays. If you have any questions, use the Consulting form and start a conversation
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Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are
+ Haas MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit
Sample MBA Essay: Technology
Sample MBA Essay: Marketing
Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired
Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture
Sample MBA Essay: Leadership
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+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
Sample Yale SOM MBA Essay: Business Development (Mobile Start-Up)(486 Words)
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+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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+ London Business School MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2019 Entering Class)
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5 Examples with Images
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+ The Art of Storytelling
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses