Extracurriculars: To join or not to join?

If you check out the Freeman Student Organizations page (http://www.freeman.tulane.edu/students/organizations.php) on the website you get a long list of potential clubs that you can become involved in once your in B-school. Now, I’ll be honest some of these groups are more active than others, so if you arrive on campus in August and an organization that you’re interested in is defunct, take the initiative to revitalize it. Case in point, even before coming to Tulane I knew that I wanted to start a retail and luxury goods club similar to the ones that I had read about at Harvard and NYU. One of my classmates, Wes decided that for a school that has such a strong energy emphasis he didn’t understand how there was no energy club, so he started one. The Freeman School is the kind of place where if you have a plan and you’re diligent then the faculty and staff are more than willing to help you accomplish your goals. So, Wes and I started clubs, but I doubt that most of you will go that route so I’ll focus on how to decide where to spend your precious free time. First things first, set limits and prioritize. I gave myself a three club maximum and ended up in four. I’m President of the Retail & Luxury Goods Association, Vice-President Elect, Event Management for Tulane Entrepreneurs’ Association, Vice-President Elect, Administration for Tulane Black MBA Association, and a member of the Women in Business Club. My priorities were entrepreneurship, because someday I want to own my own business, retail and luxury goods because I am obsessed with the industries and Black MBAs’ because I wanted to build networks and find a mentor. Once you’ve decided on the how many and the whys, the next step is to decide how involved you want to be. The trick is to remember that it’s not just grades or Tulane’s reputation that will get you a job. When I interviewed for my internship at L’Oreal, I was up against kids from Harvard, Wharton, NYU, UVA and the list goes on. We’re all smart and we’re all at top schools, but what sets you apart from all your competitors is what else you bring to the table. I’m not saying that you have to be president of every organization that you join, but having a leadership position is always noticed in interviews. Plus, the perk of being an officer is that you get to be up close and personal with any speakers that come in for your club, and you’ll develop a great working relationship with faculty and staff. Finally, at the end of your first year your last step should be to assess the organizations that you joined. Ask yourself, did you really gain anything from being a member and if not, is it a good time for you to take that leadership position so that you be the change that you want to see.