Letters of Recommendation

Many of the top business schools require at least two letters of recommendation from sources that can highlight why you fit well with your school of choice. Letters of recommendation are an important way for the admissions committee to learn more about your skills from a different point of view. These letters should not be taken lightly – if a school is on the fence about you, a strong recommendation will propel you into the interview pile. Plan accordingly! With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of this aspect of your application:

Choose your recommenders wisely

Your recommenders can be professional or personal contacts though, business schools prefer professional contacts. These recommenders should be able to speak eloquently on your skills, character, and the value you will add to the school. If a school requires two recommendation letters, try to get one from your current supervisor. If this is not possible, a former supervisor will suffice. Many applicants make the key mistake of asking a senior member within their organization they have little interaction with for a letter – this rarely bodes well. Business schools are looking for substance about YOU in the letter, not the credentials of the individual writing it. Think carefully about the people who can talk highly about your qualifications. If they are that senior official within your organization, great. If not, no worries. Remember, the school wants to know what value YOU will provide to them.

Equip them with as much information possible.

No one likes to enter a battle ill-equipped. The same will go for your recommender, so provide them with the ammunition they need to craft an excellent letter. Unfortunately, you cannot write the letter for them, but here are some tools that you can provide to glean a compelling recommendation from them:

-Your most recent resume

-Background Story:

Why Business School? Write up a brief background about yourself. The recommender should know enough about your professional life, so this is to make sure that they can connect add a personal touch to your recommendation. You should already have an idea of why you want to attend business school, so be sure to provide that to them as well.

-Talking Points

If there are any key tasks/ missions/ projects that you worked on that you want your recommender to highlight, provide them with the task you were assigned, the actions you took, and the impact that you left on the organization as a result of your actions.

-Give your recommenders time to write the essay

This may be the last bullet, but it is as important as the first two. You should know the key application windows for each business school you are applying to. Once you have determined who your recommenders are, notify them as soon as possible – Give them at least a month’s notice. This is both cordial to the recommender and beneficial to the quality of product you should expect in return. If you are unable to notify your recommenders in time, it is best to notify them through a phone call or in person so you can explain your situation and highlight your intent. Once they complete the recommendation send a thank you note and keep them informed with your application results!

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