Here’s something you probably never expected to read: college clubbing can be good career preparation.
We don’t mean tossing back drinks and dancing all night under strobe lights, but joining and becoming active in school clubs. Fostering strong connections on campus can reap big benefits out in the “real world.”
Just ask corporate merger expert Kapish Haldia, who graduated from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Haldia was very active on campus, serving as president of the Inter-Club Council, and as portfolio manager for the Stern Investment Analysis Group, which taught students how to invest. He managed a team of student investors who went on to money management careers. These college club experiences became the foundation stone for his high-profile finance career.
How can college club participation help you land the role of your dreams once you graduate?
1. Build your business skill set. If you hope to land a career in investing, for example, it’s one thing to study finance from a book (or online). Joining or forming a campus club in which students invest actual money to learn how it’s done takes your education to another level. Which graduate do you think will make the greater impression on a prospective employer?
2. Develop teamwork and communication skills. Joining a club means connecting and often collaborating with other students. Again, it’s difficult to learn debate skills from reading about them. And if you’re volunteering with a club that does some type of community outreach, you’ll be honing your ability to work with people in different socioeconomic and demographic groups, perhaps even those who don’t speak English. You’ll need to draw on inner resources to communicate effectively.
3. Boost your creativity. You may have always thought of yourself as someone who couldn’t draw beyond stick figures. Then a college art club for beginners awakens a love for working with clay, and broadens the scope of the type of career you once envisioned. Or maybe you join a singing club, and it inspires you to start writing songs. We all have a creative well inside us, and college clubs can activate this. Having the ability to think creatively, especially in challenging circumstances, can be a huge asset in business.
4. Grow time management skills. If you’re planning to rehearse for the campus play, yet also have two major exams to study for, you’ll learn to focus your time and energy in order to fulfill these commitments. It may mean turning down a night out with friends this time. When it comes to long-range plans, one type of club tends to supersede the other.
5. Reduce stress. This may sound counterintuitive: how can having more on your college plate lower your stress level? But leaving the books to go sing your heart out, immerse your hands in clay, or help a community member in need are a complete diversion from studying, and just the balance you need to become a well-rounded person. In your career, knowing how and when to pivot is a sought-after skill.
6. Learn to lead. Leadership is a skill one develops through practice. You may be a natural motivator for your friends, and joining (or launching) a college club will give you an opportunity to showcase and perfect this ability.
7. Make new friends. You’d think that being immersed in an environment of similar-aged cohorts would be an easy place to make friends, but many people are shy or lack self-confidence. By joining a college club and getting to know a small, select group of students who share your interest, you may find it easier to connect with fellow students. This skill will help you later on, when you will have an opportunity to support or mentor employees or coworkers who may also be finding it difficult to fit in at work.
So find what calls to you and go “clubbing” in college. It’s great preparation for your career.