Why The MBA Admissions Committee Cares About Your Activities

Extracurricular Activities: why the MBA Admissions Committee cares

You might be wondering why the MBA admissions committee asks so many questions about your extracurricular activities. Why does it matter “what you do for fun” outside of work or what clubs you joined during college?

  • They want to admit engaged students.

The top business schools are in the fortunate position of having an abundance of candidates with amazing credentials. If they wanted to, schools could fill their classes many times over with applicants who have 4.0 GPA’s, 800 GMAT’s and outstanding work experience.

Instead, they look for candidates who can excel academically and professionally while also adding to the community. Demonstrate your ability to remain engaged while performing at a high level – schools admit students who will make a tangible impact.

  • The committee is looking for clues about your (real) personality.

At this point most applicants know how to curate their online and applicant personas. Since no one is going to say that they hate working with other people or that they spend their free time alone in their room, the MBA admissions committee needs to dig deeper. Asking you to talk about your activities in essays and interviews often provides a more candid glimpse into what really matters to you and how you are likely to interact with your classmates.

  • Activities can really help you stand out.

Schools want to admit diverse, interesting and related classes. Since so many applicants are eminently qualified, the difference between an admit and a rejection can be what you bring outside of the traditional metrics. By all means talk about your passion for chess, extreme sports, cooking, travel, community service – whatever the case may be.

Business schools ask about your activities so that they can get a more genuine glimpse into your character and potential. They also want to shape a multifaceted, balanced incoming class. Go ahead and tell them as much as you can about your interests – they really do want to know.


Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 14.6 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.

More from Karen: Should You “Settle” For Your Second Choice Business School?,  Are You Ready For Your Business School Interview?Admissions Advice That Might Surprise You,  Applying To Business School This Year?,