Scott Edinburgh
December 29, 2023

MBA Planning Week 2: Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile

Planning to apply to business school in 2024 (or beyond)? Get started now with Personal MBA Coach’s 4-week MBA Planning Tips series.

Check out week 2 today: Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile

Strengthening extracurricular profiles is one of the key areas Personal MBA Coach is working on with MBA candidates this winter. By putting in the extra effort now, you will have ample opportunities to add real value before the deadlines this spring and beyond and avoid being penalized for not having a track record of involvement and leadership.

Do not underestimate the importance of having strong examples of your extracurricular success when it comes time to write your MBA essays. This is particularly important for applicants hoping to secure a coveted MBA scholarship!

Below are three key guiding principles to keep in mind when determining the best extracurriculars for MBA application success.

1) Quality over quantity

No one has the time to work with 10 different organizations. Having a laundry list of activities is not going to appeal to admissions committee members. Instead, focus your efforts on organizations or areas where you can have a real impact and add value. There is no “right” number of activities. This will vary from client to client and depend on the depth of your work. However, more often than not, less is more — particularly if you are just getting started now.

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2) Focus on leadership

You have probably heard this time and again, but it is important enough to repeat: Business schools want leaders. This is true for all MBA programs, not just Harvard Business School. While there are countless ways that you can (and should) display leadership throughout your profile, extracurricular activities are one great opportunity to do so. Look for an organization where you can step up or explore options to expand your role at an existing organization. Take the time to do this now so that you have clear results to share come essay time.

3) Activities should fit with your profile

Successful applications share a consistent and impactful story. MBA admissions committees should instantly see who you are, what has defined you and why you have made specific choices. Choose areas that you are passionate about and that fit with your story. For example, if you want a career as an educational consultant, consider volunteering in the education industry. If your passion is tennis, give tennis lessons to underprivileged children in your neighborhood. You do not need to pick the most unique or prestigious charity. Instead, do what you love! You will thank us later when, during your interview, you are asked about something that makes your eyes sparkle. During application time, you will find many strategic ways to use your activities to fill gaps in your profile. Do not underestimate the importance of extracurriculars and get started today!

Not sure what your gaps are? Need advice on where to begin or how to choose the best extracurriculars for MBA applications? Personal MBA Coach can help! Check out our Early Planning Services today and schedule a consultation now!