Extracurriculars for Business Majors: Real Students’ Stories
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Moriah Kofsky, Hannah Jian, Kathryn Jordan, and Grace McInnis in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
In this article, we share insight from current business undergraduate students about participating in business-related extracurricular activities. Hannah Jian from Emory University, Grace McInnis from Drexel University, and Kathryn Jordan from Georgetown University share their experiences with business-related extracurricular activities in high school and college.
Business Extracurriculars in High School
If you’re a high school student interested in studying business in college, it can be strategic to pursue extracurricular activities that will show your passion for business to the colleges that you apply to.
Business Competitions, Programs, and Clubs
If you already know that you are interested in business as a high school student, you can seek out extracurricular activities related to the subject. For example, when Hannah was in high school, she knew that she wanted to go into business. One of the clubs that she participated in was DECA, a business- and marketing-centric organization through which students learn hard and soft skills and compete with other students at the state and national levels.
Kathryn also pursued various business programs while in high school, including the Duke TIP social media and marketing program and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business LEAD college prep summer camp.
The LEAD program is a two-week program with locations at Northwestern University, Stanford University, and Emory University. When applying, students must respond to prompts like, “Why do you want to study business?” and, “What are you passionate about in your high school?”
Once selected, students join an entrepreneurship-based program where alongside 20-30 other students, they learn about accounting, marketing, finance, and the basics of the business world. Students also work together in teams of four or five to create a business competition pitch for a unique entrepreneurship project. Each team presents their pitch to a board of previous LEAD alumni and competes against teams from the other LEAD programs.
When Kathryn was in high school, she tried to be active with a business curriculum, even though she wasn’t sure what facet she wanted to go into yet. Programs like LEAD were great experiences that helped solidify her desire to be a business major.
Try Out Entrepreneurship
Another way to expose yourself to business while in high school is to try out entrepreneurship. For example, throughout high school, Hannah had an entrepreneurial mindset and used this to get involved with various pitch competitions and even tried selling edible cookie dough and selling slime. Her friends created their own small businesses and were able to mention her in their college applications. For these students, their college applications stood out because they created businesses around what they were passionate about.
In today’s digital world, it is possible to just go on TikTok or YouTube and learn how to start your own business. Hannah advises prospective business students to be creative and not only learn about business but also demonstrate their hard and soft skills. By doing so, you will have a better idea of what exactly you want to do for your career.
Demonstrate Soft Skills Through Your Activities
While many prospective business students will participate in business-related activities in high school, this is not a requirement. For example, when Grace was in high school, she never created her own business or participated in business clubs. Instead, her soft skills from other extracurricular activities demonstrated her ability and preparedness to pursue a major in business.
Similar to Grace, Kathryn had interests outside of business during high school and pursued Model UN. While not business based, it helped develop similar skills, like public speaking and teamwork.
Grace advises that participating in seemingly unrelated activities, like sports, drama, or music, will show admission counselors that you have a variety of interests that have helped you cultivate useful soft skills. You don’t need to check certain boxes to get into a business school. Admissions officers are looking for someone who knows how to manage their time and communicate effectively.
Hannah also emphasized the importance of doing extracurriculars in high school that you are truly passionate about rather than pursuing an opportunity just because it might be business focused.
Business Extracurriculars in College
Once in college, many extracurricular opportunities are available to help prepare you for a major or career in business. For instance, Grace joined Drexel University’s Women in Business club and the Retail and Design club because both connected to her personal passions and interests.
Like Grace, Kathryn pursued business experiences in college and is now the co-president of Georgetown’s Case Competition Team. In this role, she travels domestically and globally to compete in different case competitions.