We all know that some of life’s most valuable lessons occur outside of the classroom environment. We have also been told time and again of the importance of extracurriculars, leading us to load our college applications and professional resumes with a long list of skill-building and character-building activities.
But can our hobbies contribute to our academic success and career advancement by making us better students? And if so, how do our hobbies apply specifically to graduate-level business studies?
Whether you are attending The University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business or another institution, your extracurricular accomplishments have likely played a significant role in your acceptance into any quality Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. But now that you are working toward your MBA, you no longer have time to waste on frivolous pastimes, right?
Actually, there are countless ways that your favorite hobby can improve your performance in the classroom while better preparing you for a career after graduation. The comprehensive hobbyist website Allpastimes describes the power hobbies have to lower stress levels and to keep potentially self-destructive behaviors at bay as two powerful drivers of overall academic performance in any number of fields. Hobbies have also proven extremely helpful in the general development of focus and concentration.
Allpastimes also points out benefits of hobby engagement that are specifically relevant to the wants and needs of the business student. Perhaps more than any other profession, business work requires diligent networking and relationship building. From team sports to book clubs, extracurricular activities offer ample opportunities to build valuable and mutually beneficial partnerships. Even potentially solitary hobbies like jogging and puzzle-solving are often more rewarding when they are undertaken with others.
What hobbies are particularly adept at making you a better MBA student and, ultimately, a better business leader? Here are five that may just give your business studies the boost that they need. Even better, they can be incredibly fun to learn and to practice!
1. Creative Writing
If you want to become the best business student and senior administrator that you can become, outstanding writing skills can be essential. In its informative article “Five Tips for Creative Business Writing,” the professional training organization Pryor Learning Solutions stresses the importance of approaching all writing projects with a creative eye.
“Too often, we think of creative writing as something that is written outside the office, and business writing as something that happens at the office,” writes Pryor Learning Solutions contributor Sheryl McAtee. “In fact, any time we create a new approach at work, we are creating—and writing about that creation is a creative writing exercise.”
So why not flex your creative muscles by writing the short story or composing that epic poem that has been in the back of your mind? It may be just what you need to keep your board members on the edge of their seat while reading your latest business report.
2. Personal Reading
Of course, communication is a two-way street, and you want to be able to digest information just as easily as you impart it. For this reason alone, you should put your textbooks down from time to time to explore your own literary interests.
Whether you gravitate toward fiction or nonfiction, recreational reading serves as a great way to unwind while stimulating your imagination. And thanks to modern technology, reading has never been more convenient. Digital readers and e-books make it possible to carry an entire library with you everywhere you go. Many people even keep the latest bestseller or any number of classic novels right on their cell phone.
Perhaps the most attractive advantage of personal reading is the boost that it can provide to reading comprehension in the professional sphere. After all, retaining information for fun will better prepare you for retaining information in the workplace.
3. Drawing & Painting
Extremely accessible hobbies, drawing and painting are common ways for toddlers and even babies to express themselves nonverbally. Unfortunately, far too many of us abandon this fundamental form of expression as we grow older.
It turns out that the raw power of drawing and painting can provide a great outlet for people of any age. And this creative outlet comes with many practical advantages in both the classroom and the business office.
The fine arts organization Art & Bonding details many of these advantages in the article “7 Great Benefits of Painting & Drawing.” In addition to promoting overall creativity, drawing and painting have been linked to swifter memory recall, improved communication skills, enhanced emotional intelligence, and better problem-solving skills.
4. Competition-Based Hobbies
There are few concepts more fundamental to the business world than competition. So it stands to reason that competition-oriented pastimes can provide highly instructive competitive models.
In fact, countless generations of people have learned about the spirit of competition through their various hobbies. Recreational competitions have taught these people to develop healthy attitudes to both winning and losing — attitudes that are essential to those striving for academic and professional success.
Although athletics may immediately spring to mind when considering a competition-based pastime, the world of competitive events extends far beyond the world of sports. Depending on your interests and talents, you may want to consider participating in artistic competitions that range from musical performance to improv acting.
5. Yoga & Meditation
When it comes to refreshing the mind, body, and soul, few life practices can beat yoga or meditation. Far more than a recreational hobby to many people, these interrelated practices are among the oldest health and wellness activities in human history. In fact, different forms of holistic mind-body practice were common in disconnected ancient civilizations that span the globe.
If you want to clear your mind of troublesome thoughts, eliminate unwanted distractions, get your emotions under control, and hone your mental focus and acuity, you may want to give yoga or mediation a try. You will likely return to your MBA studies with a fresh outlook and renewed vigor!
For a wide variety of reasons, a reasonable dedication to your favorite hobbies and pastimes can be integral to success in business school and beyond. Fortunately, students at the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business can take advantage the full spectrum of extracurricular activities that The University of Tennessee Chattanooga and Rollins College of Business have to offer. You might be surprised to see just how these extracurriculars positively impact your studies and broaden your professional future.