The Importance of Community Service in MBA Admissions

Recently we received this question from a business school applicant:

“What if I’m not passionate about doing community service, like seemingly every other business school applicant? Does this make me a bad person?”

This is a common question — a lot of applicants think it, but not many are willing to come right out and ask it. Our answer is always the same: If you’re not passionate about something, then there’s no point in doing it, even when it comes to getting into business school!

Keep in mind that community service is one more way for you to demonstrate the four critical dimensions that admissions officers look for in every applicant: leadership, maturity, innovation, and teamwork. Demonstrate these with other activities outside of traditional community service organizations, and you’ll still be in good shape despite not having a long track record of working in a soup kitchen or volunteering to build houses on weekends.

In addition to the four dimensions, keep in mind that admissions officers always ask about every applicant, “How has this person made the community/organization around him better?” The obvious answer is with community service, but that’s not the only possibility. Identifying a potential problem at work and finding a creative solution may seem like a less obvious way to have an impact on the world around you, but in some ways this is an even more relevant example. It’s all fair game.

If you want to read what others wrote about community service in the application process, take a look at our MBA essay samples. For more news and analysis about MBA admissions, subscribe to get email updates from this blog, and follow us on Twitter!


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