Everyone knows that student clubs in universities and schools are fun, that they help students pursue their hobbies and interests, and that they bring people together. But is there more to student clubs? And beyond school, do they have a lasting impact, or are they just stress-relievers that make sure you don’t go bust under academic pressure?
First, let’s go deeper into the advantages of being a member of a student club. As a club member, you will learn more about yourself, your interests, and your goals. You learn what your strengths are, such as multitasking, organizational ability, and service-mindedness. By interacting with other student members, you can find out what they have and you don’t, and then learn from them.
You can develop your soft skills and learn to communicate effectively to individuals and to groups. As you take on club responsibilities, you will also improve your team-building and leadership skills. The people skills you acquire will prove invaluable during your college life and life out in the real world.
Clubs add skills to your repertoire or fill in the gaps left by your classroom sessions. For example, professional clubs help you learn a thing or two from your peers in addition to what your professor taught you about a topic. Sports clubs remind you of the great outdoors when you feel you are drowning in your books and computer. Social clubs help you pursue an old hobby even while meeting new souls to hang out with.
Networking opportunities are a major benefit. Club members develop a bond among themselves, which is useful on campus but which might also come in handy as their look to start and grow their careers. Club activities involve professionals from various sectors and provide opportunities to get to know them.
You gain practical organizational experience as a club member as you will be running fundraising campaigns and events for your club or university/school. Even if you make mistakes or find that you fall short in certain aspects, you can easily correct them since it is all done on campus, unlike any slip-ups that you may make outside.
The webpage of a university student club reminds us that club activities are not all work. There is a lot of fun involved in meeting new people and learning new things. There’s probably no better way to enrich your student/campus experience than by participating in the activities of a student club.
Clubs’ role in improving school life should be a good enough justification for their existence. But do they have a practical use once a student graduates and leaves the campus?
One well-kept secret is that your club activities may make you seem a better job candidate. If you were a member of a professional club as a student, it will show recruiters that you were interested in a domain or sector right from your university days. If you were part of a sports club, then you probably have team and leadership skills; if you were a social club enthusiast, you have an interesting personality, and your future colleagues may well like to work with you.
Participating in club activities makes you an even more interesting person and brightens your CV in the eyes of the recruiter. If you get to conduct an event for your club, it will show that you can balance work and hobbies. Meanwhile, you will also be showing that you have some managerial talent that can be developed. Now think of someone who didn’t go to any club but just worked hard sitting in her room. No comparison, there.
Activities organized as a member of a university club not only help the community but look good on your resume. If you also manage to get good grades, future recruiters will know that you can do some effective multitasking. Additionally, recruiters will know that you empathize with society and less fortunate people around you and that you are a sensitive person.
There are hardly any colleges or universities without student clubs. Some are organized around study topics and some around student interests. While most are run by students, some are managed by alumni. Whatever their shape or form, student clubs enhance the campus or university experience for students.
Most university and school clubs cover an assortment of interests. There are quite a few types of student clubs. One major category covers academic areas. For example, if you are studying business, and are especially interested in entrepreneurship, you may be able to join your school’s entrepreneurs club.
Most schools and universities have community service clubs that work on environmental, economic, social and women’s or human rights issues and strive to improve the living conditions of the destitute elderly and children.
Cultural clubs facilitate interaction between students from various regions or countries on campus. They learn the cultural traits from many nations help them understand the customs and traditions of people around the world.
Sports clubs bring athletes and sports and outdoor-activity lovers together to organize tournaments and treks. Be it ice hockey or soccer or baseball, or rappelling or mountaineering, sports clubs have a special place on every campus with the maximum number of enthusiasts.
Student government clubs make efforts to persuade their respective school boards to include their views in the school management policy. Club members who have suggestions for improving student welfare and campus life are heard more often than not, and the institution’s management may include their views.
Spiritual clubs help students from far and wide be in touch with their faith and religious customs. Students who are interested in learning about other religions also find these clubs useful.
Your university/school may also have clubs for people with various other interests, such as an aeronautics or psychology, media and publication, public-speaking and theater.
On joining a campus, enterprising students launch new clubs that cater to additional hobbies and interests. They find support from other students, professors, and their schools themselves. These new clubs further enrich student life on the campus and you only need to pick and choose.
Here’s a look at a few sample clubs at a few top business schools across the world.
INSEAD student clubs allow students to “explore and pursue new interests or old passions.” Campus activities are managed by the students’ business, sports, and social clubs with the support of the school. Fontainebleau, INSEAD’s European home, is the French capital of horse-riding and rock-climbing, while the forest close by is ideal for hiking and running.
A sample of INSEAD student clubs: Global Leadership Club; INDEVOR (INSEAD club for social impact, an affiliate of Net Impact); Private Equity Club; Fintech Club; Football Club; Sailing Club; and OUTSEAD (for the LGBT community). The sports club members—for example, those of the Rugby Club—not only do some hard training and go on tours to play local teams but also find some time for partying.
HBS hosts about 70 student clubs with over 200 leadership positions. The clubs “refine leadership and organizational management experience, explore interests, and make friendships that will last a lifetime,” says the HBS website. Some clubs cater to the lighter side, such as “Heard on the Street,” which organizes Winter and Spring Concerts and an event titled “Embarrassing your section-mate via serenade.” HBS recently approved the launch of new clubs Search Fund Club and CODE Club.
A sample of clubs at HBS: Aerospace & Aviation Club; Women’s Student Association; Beyond Dance Club, Blockchain & Crypto Club, Brew Club, Investment Club, Running and Triathlon Club, Salsa Society, Turnaround & Restructuring Club, and Whisky, Bourbon & Beer Society.
“There is always more going on than you could ever have time for,” says the London Business School web page about the school’s student clubs. The over 70 LBS clubs help students explore their interests and build bridges to the wider community. They increase learning opportunities through discussions on the latest business topics, interactions with alumni, hackathons, and career treks.
A sample of clubs at LBS: India Club, China Club, Middle East Club, and Africa and Asia Clubs (among regional clubs); Consulting Club, Emerging Markets Club, Design & Innovation Club, and Net Impact Club (among professional interest clubs); Snow Club, Squash Club, and Volleyball Club (among sports clubs); and Acting & Creative Communications Club, Board Games Club, and Debate & Public Speaking Club (among social clubs).
As many as 300 student clubs, from Chess Club to Cheese Club, welcome new members every year at New York University. The various university schools have their own clubs, including the Leonard N. Stern School of Business. The clubs promote career and professional advancement and help students cultivate relationships with companies and other organizations. More than 60 percent of Stern students participate in club activities.
A sample of clubs at Stern: the Actuarial Society, Islamic Finance Group, Marketing Society, Pride Corp, Supporting Excellence and Advocating Diversity, and Undergraduate Stern Women in Business.
The student clubs of USC Marshall School of Business cover a range of interests such as careers, diversity and affinity, and social and athletic pursuits.
A sample of Marshall student clubs: The Business of Entertainment Association, which helps students launch careers in the media and entertainment industry; Marshall Mobility & Automotive Club, which prepares members for careers in the “mobility industry” with electric vehicles and other technology; Marshall Hospitality and Gaming Club, which organizes a Las Vegas Trek and “Days on the Job” at companies such as Princess Cruises and Universal Studios Hollywood; South Asian Business Association, which brings South Asian diversity to Marshall; and Marshall Soccer Club, which holds tournaments for male, female, and co-ed teams from among MBA students and viewing parties for local games and international matches.
The Indian School of Business hosts two kinds of clubs: professional and social clubs. The professional clubs help students use the skills they picked up in their classrooms, develop leadership and life skills, and connect with alumni and other professionals in their field. Social clubs provide a platform to students to show their talent and get to know their classmates better.
A sample of ISB student clubs: Consulting Club; Energy Club; Manufacturing & Operations Club; Toastmasters Club; Arts & Creativity Club; Photography Club; Radio Club; and Theatre Club.
The Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business uses its 40 student clubs to help MBA hopefuls balance academics, hobbies, and social life.
A sample of Tepper student clubs: Adam Smith Society, which promotes debates and discussions on the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism; Black Business Association, which devotes itself the advancement of its diverse membership; Culinary Club, which brings students together through food; Endurance Club; which encourages biking, hiking, and distance sports; Racquet Club, which helps members learn and play racquet sports; and STARS, which educates students about careers in space technologies.
The China Europe International Business School sees the activities of its student clubs as an extension of classroom programs. Social, athletic, and professional clubs bring students together to provide leadership opportunities and develop managerial experience, with the added benefit of improving their campus experience.
A sample of CEIBS MBA students’ clubs: Family Business Club, which creates a life-long professional forum to create and develop family businesses; Management Consulting Club, which puts students in touch with educational and career opportunities in consulting; and Leisure Club, which runs fun and sports activities such as Basketball Cup, Desert Race, Dragon Boat Competition, Movie Nights, and Cocktail and Wine Tastings.
A blogger provides a couple of tips about club memberships. He points out that new students, on their entry to school or university, usually encounter some hard canvassing by club members scouting for fresh club enrolments. There may be a fee for enrolment, which need to be paid upfront, for meeting club expenses such as seminar, discussions, and other events. New students would do well to compare their interests with club activities before signing up and paying the membership fee.
New students may also be tempted to accept club leadership positions. But they should be wary of overcommitting themselves, as they are likely to be burdened by academics, social events, and networking, and may hardly have much time to spare.