D1. What activities outside of work were you involved in prior to your MBA?

The majority of MBAs had some kind of volunteer activity outside of work. This could involve alumni associations, professional development organizations, fundraising, or mentoring.

Some MBAs had such busy work lives (e.g., investment banking, military) that they didn't have much to talk about for outside activities. They had to describe something, so most put a hobby (e.g., scuba diving) or joined a professional development organization (e.g., Junior League).

Some MBAs emphasized that these outside activities showed either leadership or passion.

Volunteering, fundraising

Sharon Liszanckie

Talked about volunteer work in college; professional development courses

Jonathan Achenbach

Started and lead a young professional bible study; also talked about continual education

Sheila Krishnan

Started a non-profit in high school and I'm passionate about the topic

Will Conkling

Felt a little inadequate in this area; raised money, non-profit Board, more one-off events

Sports, outdoors

Gaurav Bhattacharyya

Used a story of hiking the Grand Canyon; planning, discipline, passion, and well-roundedness

Christina Chang

After a couple of years in investment banking, you have a little more time; picked up outdoor sports

Tom Rose

Coach for a soccer league, which was phenomal essay fodder

Didn't have much time to do things outside of work

Jay Wong

Didn't have much; Gay Asian Pacific Alliance; captain of volleyball team

Mars Hanna

I didn't have strong activities, so I chose to leave it off the application

Wade Barnes

The military dominates your life; scuba diving was the only thing I talked about

Ken Blewett

Had very few outside activities in the military; my job was a community service job

Jeff Haxer

Didn't have much; talked about fun activities with my wife like travel and swing dancing

Something showing leadership

Aryanne Ferranti

Head of electronic communication committee for NY Junior League; one of my few leadership achievements

Seth Familian

Dovetailed a passion and an opportunity for leadership

Something you're passionate about

Elizabeth De Montigny

What did you get out of it and why was it important to you? Admissions wants to see that you'll contribute to your MBA class similarly

Jon Kornik

Focused on things I'm passionate about; social enterprise and sports

Roy Johanson

Didn't want an application that said I was a boring person who didn't do anything outside of work

Professional development

Gina Collins

Young professional networking organizations, both outside and within Genentech