Highlighting Extracurricular Activities: 3 Things To Do
While GMAT scores and GPA are critical elements of the MBA application, admissions officers also like to see applicants who are well-rounded outside of the classroom.
Heidi Hillis, Fortuna Admissions Expert Coach and former MBA admissions interviewer, recently spoke to experts about how applicants can best position extracurriculars on their B-school application.
TYPES OF EXTRACURRICULARS TO HIGHLIGHT
When it comes to extracurricular activities, there isn't necessarily one that admissions officers prefer over another. What admissions officers do look for, however, is your involvement in an activity in terms of diligence and planning.
"These are valuable skills needed to earn the MBA, and can provide additional evidence of a student's likelihood of success," explains Nicole Cornell Sadowski, director of graduate programs at the York College of Pennsylvania's Graham School of Business, in US News. "Having a leadership role within extracurricular activities is a further plus, but not required to demonstrate impact."
QUANTIFY YOUR IMPACT
Like any point on your resume, when it comes to discussing extracurricular activities, you'll want to quantify what kind of impact you had.
"If you support a yearly fundraising event, how much does it raise annually and how many people attend? If you helped organize volunteers, how many?", Catherine Tuttle, former Duke Fuqua Associate Director, tells Fortuna Admissions. "For example, the concise description, 'Serve on the gala planning committee; assist Executive Board with the planning and execution of an annual event raising $300K+ each year,' is more meaningful than, 'Assist with planning annual gala.'"
ALIGN WITH YOUR GOALS
When discussing your extracurricular activities, it's important to connect them with your career goals.
"Extracurriculars that illustrate experiences and specific skills linked to your career goals help strengthen your story and show your commitment and passion to this particular goal," says Malvina Miller Complainville, former Harvard Business School Assistant Director of Career Service, tells Fortuna Admissions. "This can be especially helpful to fill gaps in your professional experience. For example, if team management is crucial in your long-term goal but you haven't had the opportunity at work to lead teams, this is the ideal opportunity to highlight the team management experience you've had as head of your regional club."
On top of connecting the activities to your own goals, you'll also want to align them to the values of the MBA program.
"For example, the first trait listed in HBS' 'What Are We Looking For' online statement is 'A Habit of Leadership,' so it would be shrewd to highlight leadership experiences within your extracurriculars," Miller Complainville tells Fortuna Admissions. "You might do this by reflecting on the leadership skills you developed while starting a new undergrad club, building a start-up outside of work or coaching a soccer team."
Next Page: MBA Interview Tips
3 Tips for MBA Interview Success
An MBA interview is an opportunity for you to add color to your application and for admissions officers to get a gut-check of who you are.
Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently spoke to experts on a few ways that applicants can set themselves up for success and nail their MBA interviews.
HAVE STORIES TO CHOOSE FROM
With a variety of potential questions in an MBA interview, you'll want to prep by compiling a collection of stories that you can reference when the opportunity arises.
"I recommend thinking of stories first (macro prep) then thinking of which types of questions the story can answer (micro prep)," Obinna Arizor, Sr. Admissions Consultant at Menlo Coaching, writes. "This is a better strategy than trying to prepare by simply rehearsing interview questions pulled from the web. This is not to say that you shouldn't review MBA interview questions likely to come up during your conversation, as doing so may give you some ideas on how to better apply your story bank."
SHOW JUST ENOUGH CONFIDENCE
While anxiety may be high during the interview, experts say it's important to cultivate a sense of confidence when you talk. Note: there's a difference between being confident in yourself and being cocky.
"Focus on your strengths and when they ask about your weaknesses, be ready to be self-critical while highlighting your belief in yourself," Anjala Krishen, director of MBA programs at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Lee Business School, tells US News. "Being ostentatious or arrogant during an interview is not good, but being overly self-critical and lacking self-belief is also bad."
PREPARE YOUR PITCH
In your interview, you'll want to have a clear message to convey to admissions officers. Experts recommend developing a strong pitch that can distinguish you from other applicants.
"Know why you want an MBA," John Crossman, CEO of Crossman Career Builders, tells US News. "The answer needs to show specifically what skill set you want to add and the benefit you seek from it. Know what you bring to the MBA program. Your undergrad and work experience should bring something to the table."
Next Page: Secret Benefits of Online MBAs
This is the Secret Benefit of an Online MBA
The majority of adults have been working from home since the COVID-19 outbreak started. Now, with most executives planning for a future hybrid work option, remote work-for the most part-is here to stay.
For MBAs, the COVID-19 pandemic had a similar effect with online education seeing an increase in popularity. Fortune recently examined how B-schools have adapted the online MBA education since COVID-19 started and how online learning will look in the future.
THE REAL BENEFIT OF AN ONLINE MBA
One of the biggest benefits of learning about business in an online MBA setting, according to experts, is that the courses are designed to teach students how think, lead, and collaborate using technology.
"We're taking a magnifying glass to the real impact of COVID on workplace dynamics," Miriam Burgos, an associate professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School, tells Fortune. "The added benefit of the online MBA is that you get all of the traditional curriculum of an MBA program, but-layered on top of that-you get this ability to incorporate technology into your leadership style, into your communication style."
Experts say that's important because with the future of employment focuses on remote working, online MBA grads will already have mastered the skill of collaborating and leading using technology.
"You need this skill nowadays," Phil Griego, USC Marshall's assistant dean for online learning and online MBA program director, tells Fortune. "You need to be able to lead a virtual team. You need to be able to collaborate, operate, communicate with employees and clients around the world."
THE FUTURE: FLEXIBILITY, CONVENIENCE, SPEED
As popularity behind online education increased in recent years, business schools are strategizing how best to serve their students. Among some of the key factors cited: flexibility, convenience, and speed of learning.
"People won't have to wait for an elective or a class that they need to graduate," Amy Kristof-Brown, Dean of the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business, tells P&Q. "That was often an issue in teaching face-to-face in three different locations. "Now electives are offered every single semester not just once every three semesters. We are really trying to make it as easy as possible for students to get all the content they want while still having that interaction with faculty."
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