MBA Clubs are one of the most important aspects of the MBA experience. They are an avenue to extracurricular activities which allow students to explore various interests and utilize talents they would not develop through academic education.
Clubs could fall in any one of several categories, with the main difference being a focus on either academic matters or social matters. These could be:
– Academic clubs
– Sports and recreation clubs
– Cultural clubs
– Community Service and social justice clubs
– Religious and spiritual clubs
Whichever way you go, MBA clubs and activities are essential because they put you in the company of peers with similar interests. Clubs have proved to be the root of crucial soft skills, key networks, and personal and career growth for many successful professionals.
Here is our detailed list of the 11 top benefits of joining MBA clubs and activities.
11 Benefits of Joining MBA Clubs and Activities
Personal and Soft Skills Development
Joining and staying active in MBA clubs and activities is a sure way to develop personal and soft skills useful in later years. When you join a club, you commit to participating in its activities. That means you have to manage your time well enough to free yourself when there are club activities and learn to set priorities considering time is a limited resource.
Soft skills like teamwork and communication are essential in the workplace, and clubs are often the first place students learn to work as team members towards a common goal.
Other soft skills could be:
– Problem solving
– Public Speaking
– Analytical thinking
You don’t have to sit in an interview panel to know that MBA clubs brighten a resume.
A resume that shows that you were an active member of clubs at your institution sends strong, though implicit messages about your personality. It tells a potential employer a lot about you socially. You are a strong team player and are capable of handling more than one task at a time. Considering that joining clubs is voluntary, it also reveals that you are a self-propelling, ambitious individual.
If the potential employer values these traits highly, such details could very well place you ahead of candidates who scored higher grades.
Networking has become a buzzword in the corporate world, usually synonymous with cocktails, dinners, and conferences. It refers to exchanging ideas or information among people in a standard line of work or common goals.
While networking is often emphasized after securing employment, MBA clubs and activities in grad school teach you that this should begin long before landing a job.
Coaches and Mentors
If it is an academic-based club such as a Business Students Club, membership gives you access to career advice and support. Events organized by the club could connect you to professional coaches and mentors working in the industry.
Long-term career connections
It may seem like a lifetime away, but one day you and your classmates will be old- dogs in the industry. It is no surprise that many CEOs of large corporates prefer to do business with an old colleague from grad school rather than a complete stranger.
This is simply because they are assured that they are dealing with an individual with the required skills and ethics.
MBA Clubs: Experience
Many graduates struggle with the aspect of work experience. Employers ask for work experience, but where would a fresh graduate get work experience? The answer is in clubs.
Active participation exposes you to experiences and processes similar to what goes on in a corporate setting, albeit on a much smaller scale. If your club is organizing an event, for instance, you learn the basics of event planning. From administration, event marketing, financial management, and, very importantly, people management. All of which are skills required in planning an event of whatever nature.
If you take a leadership role in executing such club events and include it in your resume, it is a clear demonstration of leadership skills.
If you are a hopeless introvert, you know how hard it can be to mingle freely and confidently. It doesn’t come as naturally as it does to our extroverted friends. While there is a place for respecting individual personalities, it is essential to grow your social skills. If for nothing else, for the benefit of your soon-to-be thriving career.
Comfort Zone Exit
You don’t have to wait for life to yank you out of your comfort zone. You can orchestrate it yourself. If you struggle with Public Speaking, for instance, take the step and join Public Speaking Club. You can be sure they will not let you sit at the corner and watch as others hone their skills.
Cultural development is apparent if you are in a large institution with students from different parts of the world. Sitting in class with colleagues from different corners of the globe leaves little room for an appreciation of each of your cultural backgrounds.
Some cultural clubs we have come across include:
– Arab Cultural Club
– Irish-American Culture Society
– Latin American Student Organization
Such clubs typically organize Cultural Days, during which members showcase different aspects of their cultures, such as dressing and food.
The one gripe administrations have with cultural clubs is that memberships could lead to homogenized networks of friends.
The journey to total self-awareness is an unending one. MBA clubs and activities are one way to discover your strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. It could be positive social skills such as leadership and management or negative ones like limited patience with other team members.
Many high-flying sportsmen and women say they first discovered their gift through clubs in school. If you are involved in the arts, such as theater or music, it could only be after you get a standing ovation at a performance that it dawns on you that you are really good at it.
You are an international student who just arrived in the US for the first time to attend grad school. You don’t know anyone. All your friends and family are back home, thousands of miles and an ocean away. MBA clubs are a quick way to make friends and connect with peers. Membership in a club means you already have some shared interest. One friend connects you to another and that one to another. Before you know it, you have a group of friends.
Intimate groups of friends provide academic motivation and social support by studying together or simply spending time together. Studies have proved that students who had close friends in school performed better than those who didn’t.
Yes, the primary reason you are in grad school is to complete your course, but they did say ‘All Work and No Play Made Jack a Dull Boy.’ Cliché as it may sound, there is a lot of truth in it. You need to take a break from classes, assignments, and projects. You need regular breaks from it all, and MBA clubs and activities are a constructive way to break the monotony.
Students involved in extracurricular activities often get better grades than those who opt to do nothing else. Better performance is linked to the benefits of constructive breaks and a positive attitude towards school, and higher academic aspirations.
MBA Clubs: Giving Back to the Community
Some clubs have their main aim being to give back to the community. It could be by mentoring kids at a local high school, tree-planting drives, or volunteering at homeless shelters. Other options include involvement in charity events and volunteering at senior living communities.
Involvement in such activities serves the community and also gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose. If you are not local to the area, these are also an excellent way to get to know your community.
Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR… another buzzword in the corporate world. Career-wise, such club activities inculcate skills on identifying CSR activities and implementing them effectively.
Fun, fun, and more fun
Yes, career development, personal growth, and self-discovery are all great benefits to joining MBA clubs. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with joining a club to have nothing but fun. If you enjoy the outdoors, joining a hiking or campers club is ideal for meeting new people with shared hobbies.
Clubs like these work well alongside more mentally engaging ones. You need to be part of a ‘relaxed’ club. One which doesn’t require you to maintain a clear strategy of what your next move should be. How and when it is best implemented in relation to your overall goals. One whose single and most important goal is fun, fun, and more fun.
How Many MBA Clubs Should you Join?
With a clear understanding of the numerous benefits of joining MBA clubs, it can be tempting to join as many clubs as interest you. That could be a lot.
So how many clubs are too many, and is there such a thing as too few clubs?
How to choose: Take some time to research the different clubs you are interested in. Make sure its activities are in line with your interests. Some clubs require you to pay membership fees, so you may also want to check that you can handle the financial commitments.
How many? If resume building is one of your primary goals, it will be helpful to note what recruiters want to see. Recruiters typically look out for 3 to 4 club memberships. Some go further to look out for diversity between academic and social-based clubs.
Take this into consideration when joining MBA clubs. Be sure not to stretch yourself too thin, keeping in mind that school is always the priority.
It is common for MBA students to shun clubs and activities, saying they would rather focus entirely on school to bag the best grades. This not just a dangerous misconception because it is the fastest route to burnout. Students who are members of clubs tend to perform better in class and seem to do so effortlessly.
If yours is an online course, don’t assume clubs are out of the question. Many universities still provide for such interactions. Even if there are no physical meetings, clubs in online schools can be just as engaging and beneficial as traditional ones.
Whether you are just about to get into grad school or are already in it, make a point to join a few clubs. You will be surprised how much you can gain on both career and social fronts.