Updated: Jul 8
There are five main buckets in a CV/Resume -
Internships & Work Experience
Positions of Responsibility
A good CV is often considered to be the one that is balanced, there should be spikes (high-performance numbers) in each of the buckets. Now, if you don’t have a spike in one bucket, which is extra-curricular in this case, it is okay. You can compensate for the same by showing spikes in other buckets.
The thing is that if you’re a fresh graduate, one of your buckets, i.e. internships & work-experience, is less likely to have a spike. So, extra-curricular becomes important enough for you as a fresher to compensate for the experience you don’t possess. But, for an experienced candidate, the same will not hold true.
Having said that, I would like to point out that each IIM asks for a predefined application form (also called the interview form) that the candidate is required to fill and submit. Now, these forms have rules that may not allow many of the extra-curricular achievements, that candidates generally have, to sieve through. For example, IIM Ahmedabad only allows you to fill in your top 3 achievements that should not be at the inter-institute level. So, anything below the state level is not accounted for.
Many of the applicants that got selected into IIM Ahmedabad (my batch mates) didn’t have even a single point to fill in the extra-curricular bucket due to this condition. It didn’t stop them from getting in. However, these points become extremely crucial during the summer internship at an IIM and more so during the final placements because then the CV will not have such a condition.
So, if you don’t have any extra-curricular achievements till the time you appear for an IIM interview, it is still okay. But, after the process gets over, I’d suggest you participate more in competitions hosted in your institute. Even after joining an IIM, become a part of societies and clubs, take part in case competitions to add points to the extra-curricular bucket of your CV. It will pay off during placements.
For more, check out the stories about Life at an IIM.