What is Community Service?
Simply put, community service is any contribution, in the form of activity, made by individuals or organizations to benefit people or groups. Community Service may be a one time only activity, like serving a holiday dinner at a homeless shelter, or an extended or ongoing commitment, such as regular visits to a senior citizens center. Types of Community Service include fundraising, educational outreach or mentoring, resource collection and distribution (food, clothing, furniture), environmental activities (neighborhood cleanup, recycling), counseling, providing health care, and etc.
My MBA and Community Service: What’s the Connection?
Your MBA program is an opportunity to explore ways to become a good corporate citizen. Social responsibility is a key concept in contemporary business culture. Most companies want to demonstrate their commitment to local and global well-being through charitable contributions, as well as hands-on community service activities. Learning about community service opportunities in your region, and gearing your assignments and essays to reflect this attitude will impress instructors and future employers alike.
Example Topics for Community Service Essays
The best way to develop a project or activity to reflect your interest in community service is to begin by identifying a need. Visit the not-for-profit organizations (food banks, animal shelters, thrift stores, etc.) in your area, ask to attend a meeting or an event, and discover gaps in support. With the guidance of the organization, create a plan to address the need. Remember that when you are working with the community, it is important to honor your commitments, even if it means working beyond the requirements of a given assignment. People are counting on you!
Here’s an example: In my region, our local homeless shelter publicized that while they receive many clothing donations during winter months, they never have enough warm socks for their clients. While this problem may seem simple, and even trite, in fact, it is critical to the wellness of the shelter’s clients, as they spend much of their time walking outdoors. A clever MBA student sees a problem such as this as an opportunity. Research the issue. Publicize the problem. Develop a plan. All of these skills are part of your business education, so why not put them to work solving a real life issue?
One more example: Most large cities have problems with providing spay and neuter services for low-income families with pets. The procedures can be costly, and the problem compounds every time there is a new litter! Put on your MBA thinking cap! How could this problem be addressed? Who should you speak with to conduct your research? Which corporate citizens might be interested in supporting a campaign to fund spay and neuter programs?
Many community-based issues are solvable if well-meaning individuals take responsibility. Take the initiative, listen carefully and make a commitment to making a difference.
Make you MBA about more than the bottom line. Explore Community Service opportunities in your area, and become part of solving critical community issues.