This Part Of Your MBA Application Makes The Biggest Difference

Why Extracurriculars Matter. Plus, What to Do If You Don’t Have Any

Extracurriculars are an integral component of the MBA application. The non-academic activities can often help show admissions officers a more multidimensional view of who you are as a person.

The experts at Accepted recently discussed why extracurricular activities are important in an MBA application and what applicants can do if they don’t have any extracurriculars to list.


Having solid extracurriculars can demonstrate your well-roundedness to admissions officers.

“The schools already know that you work forty or fifty hours a week crunching numbers at the desk or designing marketing plans for product launches,” according to Accepted. “But if that’s really all they know about you, your MBA application can appear flat. When they learn that you ran a book recycling drive at a local school, or are working toward a black belt in Taekwondo, or helped direct a rebranding campaign for your church, they appreciate you in a more holistic way.”

Moreover, experts say, extracurriculars can help highlight a variety of management and leadership skills that are important indicators of your success in business school.

“These are valuable skills needed to earn the MBA, and can provide additional evidence of a student’s likelihood of success,” Nicole Cornell Sadowski, director of graduate programs at the York College of Pennsylvania’s Graham School of Business, tells US News. “Having a leadership role within extracurricular activities is a further plus, but not required to demonstrate impact.”


If you don’t have long-term extracurriculars that you can list currently, experts say it is possible to include last-minute activities.

“Pick something that interests you and start right away, even if it’s application season and any involvement you can claim will have been very recent and short-term,” according to Accepted. “It’s crucial that you don’t come off as a workaholic who has no time or interest in anything non-work related. Pick something you feel you can really get into.”

The impact of your involvement is a key aspect that admissions officers are looking for in extracurriculars. If you’re intent on showing solid impact in your application, you’ll likely want to delay your application to build your extracurricular involvement in the meantime.

“Also, consider that you may be waitlisted, change your mind and decide to push off your application to next year, or even be rejected and need to reapply,” according to Accepted. “In any of these cases, you’ll be glad that you started your extracurricular/volunteer experience as early as you did. What looked like a brief volunteer encounter during your first application effort now looks like an impressive long-term experience. By now your involvement has had a greater impact – on you and on others.”

Sources: Accepted, US News

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