You’d think we’d gone on long enough about this. After all, we began discussing extracurriculars on the MBA application, like, weeks ago now.
But there’s one more category of candidate that we should mention.
We’ve mentioned before that an MBA applicant from the military need not have traditional volunteer activities on the resume in order to make it into business school. (There’s a lot more to our position on this than just that simple statement; please read that full post if you’re applying to the MBA from the military.)
The same thing is true about volunteer work is largely true for someone who currently works in non-profit.
If your day job today (pre-MBA) is helping some charity to do its mission in the world, well, probably that’s more than a typical full-time job in terms of hours (at least, if it’s a smaller organization, that’s likely to be true). And the fact that you’ve been driven to devote your life to the whatever-it-is cause that you’re championing… probably for less pay than you could make at a for-profit… this also says that you’re of the “service” mindset. And you’ve put in the time, just in doing your day job. You don’t have to worry about buffing up your profile with other outside-of-work charitable efforts.
But the thing is… Someone like that, who’s already working in non-profit, probably IS volunteering. We see it all the time. It’s just in their nature. If that’s you, then bravo. You’re likely to have more stuff to talk about in your apps than you know what to do with.
The challenges of a non-traditional applicant like that applying to bschool typically take other forms … like, that bear of a test called the GMAT. If you’re already doing service-y stuff in your career, then you’ve got that angle of your profile covered. Make sure you’re coming on strong in everything else.
Balance is what’s important. Balance looks different for each and every applicant. Step back and try to see your profile objectively, like the adcom will. Look at your resume from the eyes of a complete stranger. Where are the natural strengths? Where are the obvious weaknesses? Spend time on the latter – that’s what you have control of, in these weeks and months before the admissions season officially begins.