Diversify Your Extracurriculars to Build Business Skills
March 7, 2017
When thinking of extracurriculars to prepare you for graduate or professional school, it’s easy to get caught in the status quo. Pre-meds flock to pre-medical clubs, pre-law students pursue pre-law fraternities, and business majors seek professional or career-focused clubs, like a marketing or investment club. While these options are tried and true, diverse extracurriculars carry a lot of value.
Business school applications in particular don’t have a formula––there is no perfect combination of extracurriculars to ensure success. However, a surefire way to stand out as an applicant is to develop yourself by thinking outside the box when it comes to gaining skills and experience.
Work as a Student Brand Ambassador for Kaplan
Working as a Kaplan Student Brand Ambassador (SBA) helped me refine my skills on the way to medical school. As a remote employee, I was responsible for managing my own schedule and staying organized. Med schools know their curricula are hard, so they value students who have shown they can work independently and stay focused.
As an SBA, I used social media to share free resources and test prep help with my network. Social media has to be bite-sized, concise, and eye-catching in order to be effective. The writing and branding skills I gained as an SBA helped me write a standout application that garnered interest from admissions committees.
Networking skills are essential for all professions, from the boardroom to the classroom to the operating room. As an SBA, I was trained on how to communicate effectively and build a supportive network. Working as an SBA also gave me greater confidence speaking in front of strangers. I gave dozens of presentations to student organizations, and now public speaking feels like a piece of cake.
I now have a strong SBA network of hundreds around the country. No matter where I travel for interviews, residency, or leisure, I always have a couch to crash on or friend to get coffee with.
Build skills through sports or the arts
Work–life balance is essential to long term success and avoiding burnout in your career. Business school admissions committees value students who have passions outside their studies, in such areas as sports or the arts. Participating in either helps you relax, stay healthy, and maintain a well-rounded lifestyle.
Further, the skills admissions committees seek in applicants can be developed anywhere, though especially in sports or the arts. For example, an MBA applicant who excels in baseball uses his or her sport to develop the ability to quickly read and assess people and situations. A pre-dental student can show manual dexterity and the ability to manipulate shapes through a passion for pottery and painting. A pre-law ballet dancer develops tenacity and focus in the studio that will carry over into the courtroom.
Find extracurriculars that inspire you
Admissions committees and interviewers are humans. They can see genuine passion and excitement. While traditional experiences (such as clinical experience for pre-meds) are essential, most professional schools seek students with passion and energy in all aspects of their live. Wherever you find inspiration and excitement is where you should be. The positive experiences and personal development you gain pursuing your passions will carry over into your business school application and interviews.
Looking for extracurricular experience that will sharpen your business school skills? Join the Kaplan Test Prep family by applying to become a Kaplan Student Brand Ambassador.