HBS MBA & 2+2 Recommendation

I Letter of Recommendation
II Notable Recommendation Questions
III Assessment Grid

You can download a PDF of the exact form your recommender will see below.

Download HBS MBA Recommendation Questions 2016-17

This recommendation form is for the Harvard Business School MBA & 2+2 programs during the 2016-17 application season. Generally speaking, recommendation forms do not change from year to year so it’s a safe bet to assume that the same recommendation form will be used during the 2017-18 application season. When the 2017-18 application goes live (summer 2017) the download file and this page will be updated.

HBS requires that MBA applicants submit two recommendations.

Use your best judgment on who you decide to ask – there is no set formula for who should be your recommenders. We know it is not always possible to have a direct supervisor write your recommendation – we would not want you to jeopardize your current position for the application process. Look at the questions we are asking recommenders to complete. Find people who know you well enough to answer them. This can be a former supervisor, a colleague, someone you collaborate on an activity outside of work. How well a person knows you should take priority over level of seniority or HBS alumni status.
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Before you ask someone for a recommendation it’s best to understand what types of questions the school will put to them. Asking the CEO of your company for a recommendation may be tempting, but will he/she be able to convincingly convey your strengths and weaknesses to the Harvard Admissions Committee? The best recommenders are those that have observed you interacting with others on a regular basis.

After you input your recommender’s name and email inside the HBS application, he/she will receive an email directing him/her to HBS’s online recommendation form.

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I HBS MBA & 2+2 Letter of Recommendation

Harvard Business School is committed to developing outstanding leaders who can inspire trust and confidence in others.We value honesty, integrity, respect for others, and accountability for personal behavior. Your brief but candid assessment of the applicant will assist the MBA Admissions Board in its evaluation. We thank you for your time and effort. The MBA Admissions Board may contact you for further information.

Please respond to both questions below in a single (Word or PDF) document.

HBS asks recommenders to upload their recommendation to the online form.

  1. How do the applicant’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (Recommended: 300 words)

  2. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended: 250 words)


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II Notable HBS MBA & 2+2 Recommendation Questions

Aside from the typical questions HBS asks recommenders (Name, Address, Phone etc.) here are some notable short answer questions you should be aware of.

  • Context of Relationship (dropdown)
  • Are you an HBS graduate? If yes, please list year of graduation.
  • Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, their role in your organization. (text box – 250 characters)
  • Number of applicants you are recommending to the HBS MBA Program this year?
  • Please feel free to comment on the rating you have assigned (in the Assessment Grid). (text box – 500 characters)


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III HBS MBA & 2+2 Recommendation Assessment Grid

The HBS assessment grid includes a number of qualities. Recommenders are asked to rate the applicant using one of the following five responses:

  • No Information
  • Area of Concern
  • Opportunity for Development
  • Solid/Meets Expectations
  • Relative Strength/Exceeds Expectations

The Qualities in the assessment grid are as follows:

  • Awareness of Others
  • Humility
  • Humor
  • Imagination, Creativity and Curiosity
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal Skills (with subordinates/colleagues)
  • Interpersonal Skills (with superiors)
  • Maturity
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-confidence
  • Teamwork
  • Skills: Analytical thinking
  • Skills: Listening
  • Skills: Quantitative Aptitude
  • Skills: Verbal Communication
  • Skills: Writing
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