Stanford GSB | Ms. Civil Servant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Navy Electronics
GRE 316, GPA 3.24
Wharton | Mr. Naval Submariner
GMAT 760, GPA 3.83
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
London Business School | Mr. Indian Electric Tech
GMAT 620, GPA 3.5
Marshall School of Business | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Jones Graduate School of Business | Mr. Late Bloomer
GRE 325, GPA 7.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. MS From MSU
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Ms. Healthcare Visionary
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. S&P Global
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Investment Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Ms. Kellogg Bound Ideator
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
IESE | Mr. Future Brand Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
IU Kelley | Mr. Tech Dreams
GMAT 770, GPA 3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Brazilian Black Engineer
GMAT 705, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Research 2+2
GMAT 740, GPA 3.96

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?,