Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Delhi University is known to be the hub of college clubs and societies, each college has its own set of societies and each society has its own set of fests. This post will take Delhi University as a base case and build on the importance of joining clubs and societies for college students. If you're not from Delhi University or you're already in the second or third year, this post will still be relevant for you (explained ahead):
Do Clubs and Societies Matter?
Let's come straight to the point because there's a lot to cover in this post. Yes, college clubs and societies matter a lot in building your profile, especially if you're an MBA aspirant.
Most students either pursue a higher education (often MBA) or opt for college placements after their graduation. In either case, having the experience of working in a college club or society helps.
The relative importance in the aforementioned cases has been compared below:
Please note that this importance is basis the experience of students across B-schools and campuses and has been shared here for relative comparison.
The reason why college clubs and societies matter less during the MBA placements is because by that time you have your B-school points in place which weigh far more than the undergrad society points.
Where does the club or society experience reflect in the CV/Resume?
The CV format used at B-schools has separate buckets, commonly known as:
Internships & Work Experience
Positions of Responsibility
The points regarding clubs and societies come under the Positions of Responsibility (POR) bucket of your CV/Resume. They include the name of the society, a brief description of its mission, your role & your achievements and initiatives taken as a member.
Leverage Society Experience
The rest of this post has been split into three categories basis your current situation:
If you're about to join Delhi University (or any university which has college clubs).
If you're already a student of Delhi University (or any university which has college clubs).
If you're a student of a university which doesn't have college clubs.
I. About to Join DU
In that case, let me share a couple of important points before you get into any club or society on campus. These points will help you make an informed choice of which societies to join.
#1 Types of Societies:
There are broadly 4 kinds:
Career (Commerce Society)
Administrative (Placement Cell)
Now, your choice should first and foremost be driven by your interest. But, beyond that, there are a few pointers that can help you decide further:
Administrative and Career Clubs are the most valued in that order. The kind of exposure you get is transferable to many clubs and societies in the B-schools as well.
Social/Initiative Clubs can help you strengthen your Social Bucket of CV which often comprises of NGO experience and initiatives of similar kind.
Aim for Spikes! If you already have a profile with certain inclinations e.g. a background in dance, fine arts, etc. you must join those societies because they will compound your existing CV points.
#2 Number of Societies
A lot of Delhi University students often feel overwhelmed with the choice of societies presented to them in the beginning of their course. Let me share a critical point that can help you make this choice seamlessly:
Your CV need not include the number of years you were a part of any club or society.
Here is a glimpse of my CV points. If you notice the right-most column, you would realize that we often write the last active year across the points in the CV. For example, I was a part of the Placement Cell of Kirori Mal College for two years (2015 and 2016), but I have mentioned 2016 in front of the CV point.
What this implies is that you can be a part of multiple societies across different years to increase the number of PORs in your CV. For example, if a certain society is causing too much burden, you may leave it after the first year. This will not stop you from mentioning it in your CV.
Trade-off: Remember that while choosing societies, there is a trade-off you make between depth and variety. If you go for a single club or society (like I did - I joined the Placement Cell), then you get a lot of depth i.e. a lot of exposure and hence a lot of CV points under one POR. But, if you go for multiple clubs (like most students do), then you get a lot of variety i.e. number of CV points.
The choice is dependent on how stuffed your CV is already. If you have quality points in your CV, depth is preferable, else go for variety and join multiple societies and clubs.
#3 Managing Academics
Let me be very clear - don't neglect your academics for society or club work. No amount of PORs can get you a shortlist if you don't have good academic scores in college as well as in CAT or other MBA exams. That's the reason this is no. 1 point on my list of top 8 tips for DU students to improve their profile.
How to manage attendance: this is going to be your biggest concern. If you're a Delhi University student, then it won't be as bad because some society and club members get extra marks for attendance, e.g. if you're a part of the Placement Cell, you get the benefit of some % of your attended classes. But, in case your club or society doesn't have a provision like that - talk to the professors!
Most of the professors understand that the DU grades are highly dependent on attendance marks. So, if you're fairly regular to the class, the professor should be willing to accommodate some extra presents.
#4 Take a Note of Points
Whatever it is that you get to do in the club/society, note down your contribution in a separate diary/excel sheet and keep a tab. The reason is that you'll be required to arrange CV proofs for MBA placements at a later stage. That is when framing points will be easier for you if you've done this already.
Make sure to also check the online newsletter of your college, any website that publishes about the laurels your society has bagged when you were a part. All those points can come under your POR bucket in the CV.
You must also meet and know about the professor who is in-charge of your society or club because you'll have to get your CV points verified from him/her.
#5 Role v/s Work
A lot of DU students fret over the fact that they didn't get to be the head coordinator of a club or society. Let me share that your role in the society won't matter as much as the work you do.
If you're able to get quality CV points being a member of a club, it will be far more valuable than if you were the head of the team but you didn't take up any initiatives during your tenure.
II. Already a DUite
If you're in the second or third year of Delhi University or any other university with clubs, you're probably past the time when fresh recruitment of clubs and societies takes place.
You might have even given up thinking that you can't get into any societies now, so there's no point even trying. Wrong approach! A lot of societies offer the chance to second year students to join afresh.
What if they don't: then there's a tweak - go and volunteer for their projects. Most societies organize a lot of events. There comes a time in Delhi University when a flood of fest takes over. Don't wait for that moment to pass. Reach out to the club coordinators and express your willingness to volunteer.
A volunteer point will be as valuable as a member point, remember what I said above - the work you do matters more than the position you hold. I had a friend in Delhi University who used this technique. He was a member of no club in the first year, but he volunteered in 5 fests across DU. He got into 3 societies in the 2nd year.
III. No Clubs in College
If you fall under this category, you probably curse your college for not providing you with the opportunities. To be honest, it's a blessing in disguise if you're in this category. You're the luckiest of all.
Why? Well, do you know what is appreciated the most in clubs and societies at B-schools (especially IIMs)? Taking initiative! Can you even imagine how many brownie points you're going to get if you tell the interviewers that you founded a club/society?
Now, I know what you must be thinking. "But, how will I do it? How to get a club started? How to get it registered? Won't it be too much of a botheration?"
Not really. Because you don't need anything official to start an initiative. I've already shared in a recent post that you don't need CV proofs on paper to convince the IIM interviewers of your abilities.
Taking an initiative is so simple. Just start a WhatsApp group, Instagram handle, Facebook page, a free blog. Get a word going and invite like-minded people to join in. What is a club or society, essentially?
It is a group of people with shared interests who wish to promote them.
Why do you need to get it registered? Get it going. Start with something you feel passionate about and see how many people join your mission on the way. Why not be a problem solver for all those students who might also be cursing the college for the lack of opportunities?
So, these were a couple of points I wanted to share regarding the clubs and societies in Delhi University and why they matter. Hope this article helps you make an informed choice in regards to which clubs and societies to join (or start) in your college!
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