During your four years in college, you have more free time than you probably have and will ever have again in your life. An average course load equates to just 15 hours of class a week, leaving 153 hours free to study, work, volunteer, socialize or participate in just about anything.

Having conducted hundreds of interviews with undergraduate students looking for a full-time job, I have noticed one thing that consistently helps me identify strong candidates: the way they choose to spend their free time. One of the most important qualities we look for at AlphaSights is drive. Driven college students have the perfect opportunity to make something of their free time - this time enables them to try and achieve something outside of the classroom and develop into well-rounded individuals. The desire to simply ‘get something done’ translates to the workplace far more than most other areas on a resume. One doesn’t have to even be President of the student body or head up one of the largest clubs on campus, but it’s important to show an expressed interest in having an impact, no matter how big or small.

One of the most important qualities we look for at AlphaSights is drive. Driven college students have the perfect opportunity to make something of their free time - this time enables them to try and achieve something outside of the classroom and develop into well rounded individuals.

For example, one candidate we hired volunteered every Friday at a local school in the Big Brother Big Sister program. Another worked all year building out a concept and writing a business plan with his professor, finally entering it into a business plan competition. One of my current colleagues who I interviewed during their recruitment process had their own show on the University radio station and wrote articles for the sports section of the school newspaper.

In many respects, I regard people who spend their free time effectively much higher than those who have the flashiest internships or the highest GPA. It is really those who have made of the most of their free time, and an impact on campus or in the community, that stand out the most.