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How Student Clubs Help Deepen The MBA Experience

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While academic quality is the prime concern in choosing a particular program or business school, the quality and variety of the student clubs should form part of the essential criteria, according to the faculty, students and alumni of various B-schools.

What are the student clubs? These could be related to the academic side of the program like investment clubs or promoting a particular hobby or sport like football. Some of them would be useful in developing your networking or public speaking skills.

Most of the Schools with a powerful alumni network and strong placement rates is likely to have a great selection of student clubs and associations, brand strategist and former NYU Stern School of Business admission officer Rebecca Horan is quoted by U.S. News.

The clubs also range from those for ethnic and religious minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and international students. Such associations help underrepresented or minority groups to find like-minded colleagues and quickly adapt themselves to the demands of an intensive program.

Student clubs also help those coming from a non-business background to strengthen their competencies in fundamental business skills while showcasing the skills they acquired in other sectors.

The clubs also provide avenues for the students to apply their classroom learning to extracurricular business projects that add value to their resume during placements or job search post MBA.

The clubs that deal with several industries and business functions could also help the students to discover the types of jobs that are the best fit for their talents and interests. Those with niche career interests within a specific business sector could network with likeminded people, participate or organise seminars and lectures by experts in their target field and develop valuable industry contacts.

How do clubs help the students develop creativity, leadership and personal development?

Jed Portman, a second-year MBA student at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business joined and became the president and head brewer of Darden’s School of Brew, a club which creates the recipes and sources the ingredients for its own one-of-a-kind craft beers, which are then added to the menu of a local brewery taproom.

ALSO READ: How to Finance Your MBA?

He says Darden’s rigorous core curriculum and reputation for helping students cultivate fundamental business skills, had made him enrol for the program. He had previously held the post of food editor at Garden & Gun magazine.

While admitting that he has to learn a lot in honing his conventional business skills, Portman says his knowledge of the food and beverage network and the industry helped him find an outlet for his skills with the School of Brew.

Student clubs also help those coming from a non-business background to strengthen their competencies in fundamental business skills while showcasing the skills they acquired in other sectors.

In the case of Portman, the club help him realise that his skill would be in product development that he put to use during his MBA internship at The Kroger Co.

Students should, wherever possible join clubs that represent both their career and personal interests. Even hobbies and non-academic interests could act as icebreakers in interviews.

Some of the clubs are also oriented towards helping students develop contacts with recruiters or help those looking for a career change by holding events specifically to prepare students for the recruiting or interview process.

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