Community Service or a sham !! What B-schools look for?

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The idea of this article evolved when someone told me that most B-schools consider applicants with community work background in a more positive light. Nowadays it is considered a very important part of the entire application package. Every MBA asp...
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But we were talking about community service .. not charity. I guess at some point it does overlap when people donate to an NGO and call it community service. For example, wherever PG junta works, almost no money collection drive would be involved, because most of us know that we can contribute more wortheir things like time/skills/compassion.

I am not sure where & how much community service and charity mesh together, but giving your time to help someone/many people , or using your skills/ability to make someone/many people's life better seems like a good start to me :)

At Bangalore, many PGites were working with the blind and recording lessons for them and helping them study. At Mumbai, many of us work with the physically challenged in terms of teaching them enough skills so that they can get entry level jobs. Some of our students here have joined places like Kotak Mahindra & also teach now in other schools. 6 months of coaching them, being around them, understanding them .. does end up touching our own lives 😃

Command like a king, work like a slave.
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he he! even i was wondering what the gmat scores have to do with anything! :)

heres what Osho had to say on charity
http://www.barnett.sk/software/sos/osho/ask-osho/askosh25.htm

I personally dont subscribe to his views and no offence is meant at christains or any other religions. some pretty radical thinking so read at your own risk! 😃

I receive hundreds of letters asking: "Why don't you serve the poor?" If there were so many people serving the poor, then you would not miss me -- just one person not serving. But all these people want me to serve the poor! Follow your own idea, do your own thing -- I am doing my own thing. I am not telling you to do anything, I am not writing letters to anybody saying, "You should do this, you should not do that." Why are these people trying to impose their ideas upon anybody? I will not prevent them, that much is certain. You can go -- there are many poor people -- and serve them.

What was Mr. Rheiner doing here? Wasting time! There are so many poor people; even in Poona you can find beggars. Go and serve them! Massage their feet...do whatsoever you want to do. Enjoy it!

Why do people go on writing to me as if I have made all these people poor, as if I am responsible? They are responsible! And the same people who are responsible for making this world poor go on insisting that I should serve them. You make them poor and I should serve them -- a beautiful arrangement! I was poor, nobody came to serve me, so why should I bother?


Poverty can be destroyed within fifteen years -- I am ready to take the challenge. Poverty can be destroyed within only fifteen years -- the poverty of this country can be completely destroyed. But there is a difficulty: then what will your Christian missionaries, Mother Theresa, etcetera, do? They need the poor -- the poor are absolutely needed -- otherwise what will happen to the Nobel Prize, to Mother Theresa? If there are no poor people, whom are you going to serve? They need orphans, they need poor people, they need sick people....

I can destroy this whole structure -- simple methods are needed. And these fools have been serving humanity for at least ten thousand years -- what is the result? Has poverty disappeared? Only the fruit shows what the life of the tree has been.

This idea of serving the poor is not new -- it is not Mr. Rheiner's invention. For ten thousand years at least religions have been saying, "Serve the poor," and they have been serving the poor, but what has happened out of it?


So all the religions need poverty. On the one hand they need poverty -- all the establishments, the church, the state, they need poverty -- and on the other hand they go on saying, "Serve the poor." Why do they say, "Serve the poor"? Just to keep the poor people consoled so they don't get rebellious, so they don't revolt against the whole structure. So go on throwing a few pieces to them, dregs, just a few pieces to keep them consoled. Go on giving them hope.

That's what Jesus did when he called the poor "the children of God," when he said, "The last will be the first in my kingdom of God." Consoling the poor! That is just poisoning their minds.

I am not at all in any conspiracy with the establishment so I am not going to serve the poor. The people who have made them poor, they should serve them! I am totally ready to destroy poverty. I have no respect for poverty, I don't see any spirituality in poverty. It is ugly, it is inhuman. It is like cancer: it has to be uprooted, root and all. It has to be burnt -- and it can be done.



pagalguy Says
I don't know what is a bigger hypocrisy. Talking about extremes of giving back to the nation or listening to a guy who has his frigging test scores put up along with his bio. Some people
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I don't know what is a bigger hypocrisy. Talking about extremes of giving back to the nation or listening to a guy who has his frigging test scores put up along with his bio. Some people


this is a well analysized article on such hypocrisy
http://www.kamalsinha.com/iit/peopl...foundation.html
Command like a king, work like a slave.
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A very well written article there ketan. Good stuff and good insight as well 😃 . You are right in various ways.. I get to see resumes that have a certain line/s that sound akin to

1) Member of xxxxxxx (NGO)
2) Member of xxxxxxx (NGO)

Nice..nothing more stated..really. These resumes I am sure won't get far out there on cross questioning. When it comes to essays and then the relevant questioning, I don't think its too tough to weed out the people who haven't done much , but just about paid lip service to the NGO/Community work they've done.

At NASEOH, I think we get loads of people who love to check the work out, what we do etc..but very very few stick through it. Over the last year and a half only about 4/5 people have been regular and have stuck through thick and thin.

But there is one thought that does strike me though - Wouldn't people take back a little , however little that may be from their experiences ? May be everyone who has worked for NGO activities will not be capable/interested in changing the world - but a little work out there definitely provides you with some ground level realities and at some point a little more understanding of the unprivileged out there.

Not everyone out there will change the world, but even sensitizing the rest to some amount through this route can't be a disservice to anyone.

Command like a king, work like a slave.
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A Nice article should I say and a very important topic being raised. I totally agree with your idea about the community service thing being a sham, which a number of the B-School Aspirants take up just to show something on their CV. I had been involved with 3 such activities in the last 3 years starting from creating a website for an NGO to visiting NASOEH(where I didn't do much). What I have observed in most of the cases especially the ones where B-School Aspirants had been involved is people come less for doing something meaningful and more for interaction with others from the same arena. The most appropriate term that I can give to their activities is "Intellectual Masturbation", which in a nutshell means that people come there more to talk about their achievements, to show off their intellectual brilliance etc to please themselves.
All this does not mean that we can doubt the intentions of each and every person involved in such activities. There are certain people who are their because they want to bring a change in the lives of other people who are less privileged.
As for the B-Schools, I am not very clear how much does the CS thing affect the admission chances of a candidate, but if they do then the onus lies on the interviewer to see through the intentions of the candidate with regards his/her CS records.

---Asif
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yes..alot of ppl do community service just to look good but the admissions ppl are not fools to fall for it! you may have give like what max 20 interviews in your life. these guys have conducted interviews for thousands of students and cant be fooled that easily. infact when you say you are doing community serivce and they make out that you are a sham then you are definitely OUT. it doesnt take too much time to know a person and why hes doing something.

besides, the same is true about the indian(or maybe all) coorporates as well. most of they do it just as a sham. to get cheap brownie points on "corporate social responsibilty" . then have a section on their website that brags about it , not to mention exaggerated facts, poor ppls photographs etc etc. what they do is not even 0.00001% of what they can do! all they want is headlines. so why not blame them as well?

this is a well analysized article on such hypocrisy
http://www.kamalsinha.com/iit/people/narayana-murthy/infosys-foundation.html

The idea of this article evolved when someone told me that most B-schools consider applicants with community work background in a more positive light. Nowadays it is considered a very important part of the entire application package. Every MBA aspirant wants to put some amount of community work to their credit. So beware when you see a bunch of b-school aspirants highly motivated to get involved in giving something to the community or society at large. The so called motivation might have just been a consequence of the cut-throat competition for getting a seat at the hallowed portals of some top
B-school.

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The idea of this article evolved when someone told me that most B-schools consider applicants with community work background in a more positive light. Nowadays it is considered a very important part of the entire application package. Every MBA aspirant wants to put some amount of community work to their credit. So beware when you see a bunch of b-school aspirants highly motivated to get involved in giving something to the community or society at large. The so called motivation might have just been a consequence of the cut-throat competition for getting a seat at the hallowed portals of some top
B-school.

Of-course it would be extremely harsh to generalise it to everyone, but I feel that it does apply to majority. Otherwise a genuinely interested volunteer would continue to be involved in this work through out life. If you take a look at young people involved in community work, you will find very few MBA gradutates whereas you will see so many b-school aspirants.

The point of contention is that the MBA mania has made the community involvement a give and take business. A voluneteer who is a b-school aspirant, compulsorily spends few hours a week, usually attaching themselves with some NGO around the city and expects to gain an edge in the admission process by putting this on their b-school application. Just as to put a final seal on community involvement, pictures are taken of the various activities being participated in as a proof.

I realise that I would be inviting lot of flames with this article, but one needs to realise that the community-work-bug gets into the heads of lot of bschool aspirants only when they realise that it is an un-official but mandatory requirement for admission and that is why you would see people getting involved just one or two years before they are looking for admission in a b-school.

I received a most surprising reaction about this topic, when someone mentioned that "What the heck!! At least you get lot of volunteers every year ?? ". I believe that this is fundamentally wrong. It is not a question of quantity of volunteers, but a question of long term commitment which should eventually change the mind-set of the society.

A volunteer joins an NGO, works enthusiastically in one or two activites for a year, gets into a B-school where he/she does not find enough time to take part, finishes MBA, joins a BIG MNC with exhorbitant pay packet, gets into his own life, family and forgets about his community work. It's the same repition year by year. Even the one year he/she was involved in the community work, it was just a participation rather than any active contribution.

The immediate response is "Contribution!! What the hell do you know about contribution? I spent so many hours with the children. I was part of this X effort or some Y project of ABC NGO so on and so forth". I believe that a community work does not involve simply giving in few hours of work or being a part of some project initiated by some well-known NGO. It is more about positively influencing people\'s life who are in dire need. It requires time and effort and patience too. I understand that it is impossible for an average person to follow the footsteps of great personalities like Mother Terresa or Mahatma Gandhi. They influenced millions of lives with their work. That is real community work. They worked consistently throughout their life for the upliftment of the entire society. If you can\'nt be as great then make sure that you influence atleast one life who needs you. If everyone does that we surely will have a much better society. But even influencing a single person takes greater efforts than merely spending few hours in some project.

Coming back to B-schools, why would a business school prefers aspirants who were involved in community service? What does involvement in community service tells a b-school about the candidate? "Trying to answer these questions would help in finding alternate options to be put on the B-school application package, which would help in reducing the pressure on aspirants to compulsorily get involve in community work, which in turn would allow only truly motivated
people to come forward and give whatever they can without expecting anything in return. As per my understanding, involvement in community work would allow a B-school to gauge a candidate\'s ability/skills outside the academics and profession. It will show the candidate\'s willingness to work and give out, for someone else without expecting anything in return. It would also showcase that a candidate is not self-centered. It shows a candidate\'s caring attitude towards society in general and conveys his/her broader vision.

The next question arises : Does involvement in community service the only way to show case these attributes? I believe that there can be various incidences,
happenings in everyone\'s life to show that these attributes indeed exist within that person. There can be numerous incidences when a person has shown initiative and courage to solve any public issue in his/her locality, or helped a particular needy person around his work place or home or raised his/her voice against any wrong doing in the society and so on. In fact even any hobby pursued passionately can display a lot about your extra-currcicular skills than a superficial community work experience. My suggesstion would be to give a deep thought before taking a plunge into community service. Ask yourself deep down your heart whether the only reason you want to get involve is because all your competitors for a particular B-school are involved and you dont want to loose out in the race? If the answer turns out to be either an outright \'yes\' or a \'maybe\' then you are one of the many millions which I have just described about in the article.


-- Ketan

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and blah blah


Note: Please ignore any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Edited : Need to edit after the mods moved this from "Articles" section to "Your Interestes" section. No content change.
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