All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! And no one hires a dull boy, right? Neither your dream B-School for which you have been slogging hard, turnings days into nights nor the high paying multinational company where you see yourself a few years from now, sitting in a swank office discussing sales targets and financial reports with your colleagues.
Agreed that a strong academic report card with numerous ‘A’s proudly highlighted will put you right up there with the crème da la crème, but ask yourself this: Which Indian home hasn’t instilled in their child, the importance of good marks? What will then make you stand out in the fierce competition in the run to a good B school? What will help enhance your profile?
Aiming for an all-round development, being the ‘Jack of all Trades’ with equal participation and passion in non-scholastics as in academics, is the way to go because as Chip Conley rightly said “Intangibles are Important” A manager or an entrepreneur must be equipped to face the unexpected, instead of focussing on certain things. Non-scholastic goals help in a holistic understanding of the society and the world which can help one to face a wide range of real life problems. Academics often get limited to theoretical problems and solutions; however an all-round development requires a creative solution to real life problems as well. These non scholastic activities provide an excellent way to experience; they are your true measure of the ‘Intangibles’
Time Management and Multitasking
Contributing to the Society
Long Term Commitment
Passion and Creativity
Leaders are distinguished as those who are resourceful, problem solvers, promoters of school activities, idea-contributors, dependable and who exemplify positive attitude about life. Leadership experiences can be best drawn from non-scholastic or community activities while working with or for others. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have held a title; any activity that shows that you ‘took a lead’ will help interviewer assess your abilities.
When you apply to a business school, there’s a lot about your profile that is already set in stone – where you have studied, your career till date – but extra-curricular activities is an area where you can enhance your profile. Of course it is essential to have good grades too. It is the balance that will help you win! If you are still in the process of filing your application for an MBA School, you should consider listing the extra-curricular activities that interests you so that you are motivated to make an impact and really get involved. It is never too late to make the change. Think quality over quantity and start now. And if you are a working professional and are wondering ‘Where is the time?’ well think again! Also remember, not all your passions need to be altruistic, even if your hobby is as simple and clichéd as playing for your school cricket team, focus on how your interests bring out your personality and increase your worth vis-à-vis the intangibles. Secondly, B-Schools do not disregard solitary activities such as reading. True, they are less compelling as they do not involve team initiative and leadership skills but you can tweak this hobby to make it your strength. Consider reading short stories to street children or join a reading club that also helps raise funds books for a community school or library.
Know your passion and make it work for you; know how an extra-curricular activity will help complement your personality together with your academic and professional goals and get an edge over your competitors.