A Beautiful Mind

The Reflections Of My Mind

MBA Recommendations

with 3 comments

This is another post meant to help future MBA applicants. If you are about the apply for the Fall 2011 season and are yet to identify your schools, you might find this post useful. For now, here is some information on how to go about one more very important part of your application. An important part of each MBA application is the Letter of Recommendation (LOR). It’s as important as the quality of the essays, the GMAT score or the interviews. It not only acts as a testimony to your capabilities and achievements but might just also reveal a different perspective on your personality. Moreover, the questions in the LORs vary from school to school. The variety as well as the length of the answers sought can vary drastically. There can be just 3-4 questions in case of one school or 7-8 questions in case of another school. There will be questions on your professional performance for sure. But many times questions on personal characteristics of the applicants personality are also asked. Hence it is very important to choose the correct person for your recommendations. Here are some tips on identifying the best person to write your LORs and on submitting your LORs:

  • An ideal recommender is a person with whom you have worked on a regular basis (if possible, on a daily basis). This person should know you throughly in terms of your achievements till date, your capabilities, your weaknesses, your future aspirations and [to some extent] your personal background. This is very important because the recommender is supposed to provide some examples of your work. Examples on your strengths, your weaknesses or whatever. These examples are crucial to add value to your application. Otherwise the recommendation will be nothing but a cosmetic essay with a lot of adjectives to praise you.
  • Avoid peer recommendations. Many (well almost all) business schools do not accept or prefer peer recommendations. A person who has supervised your work in detail is the best person to write your recommendation. Your immediate manager/supervisor or your client (if you are self-employed).
  • If your current immediate manager is not a person who would be happy to see you applying for an MBA, do not ask him for recommendations. Do not jeopardize your employment in order to secure your recommendation. Ask a former manager at your firm or your previous firm. Make use of the additional information section in your essays to explain your choice of recommendations. In any case, if your chosen recommender doesn’t fall under the preferred choice of recommenders given by the school, make use of this section to explain why.
  • LORs are demanding in terms of time and energy. Do not rely on the same recommenders for all of your applications. They might not have enough time to do all of your LORs. Try to identify three to four people who can write your LORs and then split your recommendations for each school depending on the situation.
  • Many times offline formats of the questions in the LOR of each school are available on the school websites. Check the questions and brief your recommenders on these before asking them to write it. This way you can suggest some examples of your work (in case they need to be reminded 🙂 ).
  • Send the recommendation links (for online recommendations) to your recommender early. If its off-line, send the forms to them early. By early I mean as early as possible. Make sure they have enough time to fill the LORs. If they don’t do after a long time since you sent them the details, remind them on a regular (but not very frequent) basis.
  • Try to choose a recommender who has good writing skills. I don’t mean a person who can write winning essays for competitions but someone who can write professional letters in an articulate manner.

I hope the future MBA applicant find this information useful. If in case anyone has some specific questions, just put in a comment here on my blog. I will try to answer your queries to the best of my ability.


Written by abeautifulmind1

April 12, 2010 at 6:49 am

Posted in MBA - Applications

3 Responses

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  1. Hi Beautiful Mind!

    Your BoB icon shows that you learned of your recent nomination to this year’s pool of Clear Admit’s Best of Blogging competition. Congratulations! To receive your ballot and cast your vote, please contact ‘bob’ ‘at’ clearadmit.com.



    April 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm

  2. As a B school applicant myself, I find your blog very useful especially the LOR post. I am currently confused on this aspect and your post provided the much needed impetus and feed to my brain.
    I would like you to share this blog on Beat The Gmat blogdirectory.Here is the link:http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/blogs/all
    BTG has more than 1 million users and I am sure many other aspirants would be benefited by your blog.


    April 20, 2010 at 8:52 am

  3. […] … here are some useful links for prospective MBA applicants: Selecting Schools and Recommendations. I hope people find these useful. I have benefited a lot from MBA blots and hope to help out future […]

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