Importance of volunteering experience in MBA Applications

Getting into MBA programs of top schools is tough. One needs to distinguish themselves from the thousands of other applications. The required distinction can be made with diverse skill sets, experiences and the potential value addition one can do to the overall class diversity and experiences. Volunteering is one powerful way to achieve this distinction, with extra brownie points for the experience.

In this article, we explore broader themes revolving around volunteer experience and how it can make your MBA application better.

If you are passionate about the cause you are working towards, you will invest time and efforts towards the cause and might even consider taking up leadership positions in the domain. By working towards this goal, there will be an influx of newer ideas, solutions, responsibilities and fresh perspectives. From an admission committee’s perspective, the degree of involvement could be a measure to distinguish between individuals who have a pretty superficial involvement against those those who did it for their passion. Such first-hand experiences can be communicated effectively in every step of the admissions process, be it essays or personal interviews. You have something to share! Let’s break it down further. 

By volunteering, one embarks on a journey of self-discovery. You learn more about yourself while working selflessly for the community. This process of self-discovery gives you more clarity on your life’s goals and objectives, brings you closer to the society, makes you emotionally intelligent and helps you understand your personal values better. These are some of the most important elements of the application essays in the MBA admission process and with the first-hand experience, you will be able to communicate and convince the admissions committee on your fit for the program. 

Volunteering requires effective stakeholder management. You work with diverse set of people, with varied power dynamics between groups of people as well as varied self- perception or ego status. Managing these set of variables and getting things done could be extremely challenging. These experiences can make you a better leader and a manager. These are some of the most important qualities which any school would look for in their prospective MBA candidate. In the process of effective stakeholder management, you imbibe certain key soft skills, team building skills, and enhance your communication. Further, you tend to balance others perspectives and priorities. These are some of the most valuable skillset you can gain from your volunteering experience. 

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Any volunteering exercise requires amalgamation of people from different walks of life, it can help you with networking. Consider this, someone like you from a totally different background is also volunteering alongside you. Then there is exchange of valuable experiences and perspectives. Volunteering activities or conferences provides the necessary platform to meet hundreds of like-minded individuals, which can be your potential collaborators in future. Meeting intellectuals can help you in developing a unique thought process and hence enhancing your MBA applications. 

The experience provides you with real life stories and experiences, which is something to talk about in your MBA Application Essays or during interviews. These experiences can completely change you as a person. Sharing these stories provides the required human or empathetic touch to your applications. 

Given the growing importance of ethical leadership qualities and governance, volunteering provides you with the strong credentials for such skills, the experience can help you in depicting those traits. MBA schools prepare future ethical leader and hence showing strong ethical qualities increases your chances to get into these programs.

Volunteering requires efforts and time. Juggling between academics or work commitments could be challenging and if you are able to sustain volunteering activities along with your other commitments over a long time period, it highlights that you have effective time management skills. 

Overall, volunteering highlights your ability to execute tasks effectively, demonstrating that you have hands-on experience and not just theoretical ideas.