But applicants haven’t been the only ones facing the squeeze over the past few years. Recommenders, too, have found themselves with less and less space to make an admissions essay example: over the past several years, schools not only reduced the number of recommenders a candidate was allowed to have, it also cut the word count allotted to those recommenders. How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant.
Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. What does this mean for this year’s MBA applicants? First and foremost, applicants need to pick the right recommenders to advocate on their behalf. Second, applicants need to make sure they are adequately preparing those recommenders to write great recommendations.
In this blog post, I’ll illustrate the keys to getting great letters of recommendations for MBA applications by revealing a few snippets of a real recommendation from my own business school applications. Each part of your MBA application should demonstrate different qualities to the admissions committee. Are you fun and nice and interesting? If the MBA interview is the test itself, then your MBA recommendations are the pre-test: an opportunity for two professionals to say on your behalf that you are, indeed, a good person. Are you a team player, capable of following as well as leading? Many applicants make the mistake of confusing leadership with formal authority. They feel that they lack leadership anecdotes because they’ve never formally managed other colleagues, never had employees report to them.
My initial surprise at youth was quickly assuaged when I witnessed him in action, directing a diverse group of people many years his senior. I was particularly impressed with his ability to solicit contributions, never being obsequious or pushy, from much older community figures by cogently presenting arguments. Your recommenders can also powerfully advocate for your leadership credentials by describing your ability to know when to follow, collaborate, and defer. While you might be able to describe a situation like this in your essay or resume, a recommender will have a lot more credibility if he or she can do it on your behalf.