Reap the extra mile with extracurricular activities

Although a candidate’s performance in GMAT, CAT, SNAP, XAT is a prerequisite for admission, extracurricular activities help the admission panel understand individuals on a more personal level.

Why do extracurricular activities matter?

Once universities shortlist candidates on entrance test scores, the next stage of shortlisting would require screening their GD/PI/WAT performances, and the final selection involves candidates’ extracurricular activities.

Shortlisted candidates are competing with others who have performed equally in their tests. Those people who offer that “extra”stand a better chance of securing a seat in the institute.

B-schools look for people with potential leadership skills. The ideal candidate exhibits prowess in planning and executing team/club events diligently while contributing to their community development.

Admission panels study past activities of candidates to surmise their future potential. Participation in some activities may display some of the candidate’s qualities like teamwork, innovative thinking, event management, or problem-solving skills.

Which activity is worth a mention in the resume?

Students must mention activities that showcase the candidate as a person who is an assiduous planner and organizer of events.

Elaborate on activities that arehighlightthe candidates’ roles and the impact they made. The admission panel would review the event from different angles:

  • How interested was the candidate in the activity?
  • How passionate was the candidate in the activity?
  • How much did the candidate contribute to organizing the event?
  • How invested was the candidate in executing the event successfully?
  • Did the candidate display teamwork in the activity?
  • Did the candidate display leadership skills in the activity?
  • Did the candidate display enterprise in the activity?

Should candidates mention activities regardless of participation?

Mentioning activities the candidate has not engaged in is suicidal. The candidate should be comfortable answering questions about anything he/she mentions in the resume.

Participation in an event does not merit a mention unless the participant has something positive to speak passionately about his/her role in it. When a candidate expresses ardently about an event, the admission council sees a potential leader or someone who makes an impact.

If the person sounds apathetic when asked about activitiesin the resume, he/she portrays a loser.

B-schools enroll people whom they believe they can groom into exceptional managers of businesses.

Graduate management schools look positively at resumes that show scope for:

  • Leadership roles
  • Innovative thinking
  • Making a difference to the community
  • Teamwork
  • Potential for success in anything
  • Organizing skills
  • Winning disposition
  • Enterprise
  • Commitment
  • Mentoring
  • Fundraising capabilities

Candidates can make a list of events and games they have engaged in that show one or more of the above skills.

Can a student take up something that can help convert a seat?

Extracurricular activities are not magic wands that conjure a seats in premier B-schools. Nevertheless, candidates must focus on converting their hobbies and interests into some winning extracurricular activities.

Students can undertake some activities that can help them in getting seats in top MBA colleges:

  • Tutor children from slums
  • Raise funds for a charitable cause
  • Engage in the cleaning of the community
  • Participate in blood-donation camps
  • Encourage eye/organ donation through appeals and events

MBA aspirants must continue to be engaged in whichever activity they start. A one-off event is hardly likely to impress the admission panel. Candidates who show commitment to the cause they take up are sure to get a positive response for a B-school seat.

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