Value of Community experience in your MBA profile

Why am I writing?

COMMUNITY WORK DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN AN NGO EXPERIENCE!!!!

community hands symbol

I am writing to respond to a standard statement I get to hear a lot of times from the brightest of MBA applicants:

“I am an Indian! I do not have any associations with NGO’s! How will I showcase my community experience?”

Working on your applications, I do realize that many of you fail to understand the term “Community Experience”.

While there are applicants who not only had authentic NGO stories to present to the admissions committee, but also could project strong reasons for supporting the society. In doing so, they could show the patterns of continuous engagement from their past life (starting from the undergraduate clubs and associations), and also weave in their reasons (why have you been doing whatever you have been doing? What does that mean to you? Etc. Etc.).

However, not all of you have had a chance to teach blind children or participate in providing relief to the earthquake victims.

DO NOT WORRY! You need to understand that Engagement in a community has multiple forms. Schools are keener on evaluating the way you have been carrying yourself around in the society, and your diverse engagements. You do not necessarily have to showcase a humanitarian approach.

Here are some activities that can be termed as ‘community engagements’ that a candidate can incorporate in the essay (these include both NGO and other engagements):

If you graduated from your undergrad a long time ago, and are still an active member of the alumni club, and have taken initiatives to maintain that camaraderie, do mention it. It reflects your ongoing involvement with your previous academic institution and is reflective of your commitment for your next one too.

  • Participation in a dance or drama.
  • Volunteering for social activities at school which includes either participation or organizing the same.
  • Participating in a volunteering activity in which you were placed with people different from you in various aspects such as education, income level, nationality and so on.
  • If you did some volunteer work that has some connection with your POST MBA goals and you can weave the story around your equation of employability, this is worth mentioning.
  • You have been an active sportsman and have brought an immense value to your sports team. It is also worth talking about along with the skills that you developed while you were involved in those activities.
  • Active involvement in politics, not superficial knowledge of the same
  • Active participation in a musical band, group or orchestra in undergrad or post that.
  • Participated in a volunteer activity that helped you develop leadership or teamwork skills.
  • Participation in an international social or volunteer activity.
  • Actively organizing an entire trip or activity for friends.
  • Having performed as an active member, organizer or leader of a team which could be based on education such as an overseas trip, project or a seminar
  • Volunteering for social activities at the workplace which includes either participation or organizing the same.

It is important to remember:

  1. 35 to 38% of the space on your resume should showcase your involvement outside work (Including education and other activities)
  2. If your business school has more than two essays, you should create one compelling story from your personal/social commitments while responding to the question. Submitting three essays woven around professional life may not be the best way to showcase a holistic MBA profile.

There are also many other things that an applicant to top business schools should know.

Regards,

Jatin Bhandari

PythaGURUS MBA Admissions

PythaGURUS Education