Getting involved in student organizations is a great way to round out an MBA experience. The Wisconsin School of Business Program offers 15 student organizations, and with class sizes around 100 students, it’s very easy to get involved and find a leadership opportunity.
While I like to participate in various events from different student organizations, such as the Graduate Marketing Network’s annual case competition or the Graduate Women in Business socials, I really wanted to pick one organization that I felt would help me have the greatest impact for our class. For that reason, I decided to run for the Graduate Business Association Community Service Chair.
Being the Community Service Chair for our class has been one of the greatest experiences during my MBA journey. I think one of the greatest things about getting involved in a student organization is that you are instantly connected with other students who share similar interests and passions. My position as Community Service Chair has allowed me to spread my passion for volunteering and giving back to the community to my classmates, while also helping me build crucial leadership skills.
While we have speakers, classes, and seminars on leadership, I think that student organizations are truly one of the best ways to practice those skills during an MBA program. One of my responsibilities as the Community Service Chair was to coordinate the annual Polar Plunge for our MBA program to help raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin. I set out with a lofty goal of raising $10,000 for Special Olympics ($2,000 more than had been raised the previous year). From this event I learned the importance of communicating a goal to a large group of students and building a strong team to help move that goal forward. By spreading my passion for fundraising to my classmates and aligning the class on a common goal, we exceeded our goal and raised over $14,000 for Special Olympics- a record achievement for our team!
If I were to give advice to any student starting an MBA program, I would encourage them to find a leadership position in a student organization that they are passionate about. Not only are student organizations fun, but it provides you with some amazing leadership lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom.