Click here to jump to a large collection of EMBA and Part-time MBA recommendations. Each article contains up-to-date recommendation questions and a PDF download of the online form your recommenders will have access to.
Derrick Boloton, Stanford’s longtime Dean of Admissions (2001-16), was once quoted as saying that he could evaluate MBA applications without essays, but not without recommendations. In my experience, applicants tend to focus a lot of their time and energy on their essays while leaving recommendations as an afterthought. That can prove a strategic error when it comes to business school applications. Admissions committees want recommenders to provide a) supporting arguments for your candidacy coupled with b) anecdotal examples. fall into the trap of making claims, but failing to substantiate them with practical examples.
The themes and stories in your recommendations need to a) compliment the big-picture story you’re putting forward to the admissions committee and b) broaden their understanding of who you are. I use a multi-step process with my clients and their recommenders to generate talking points for recommenders, provide them with feedback and edit their recommendations. If you think that your recommenders could use support or if you’ve been asked to write your own recommendation, feel free to reach out for a Free Consultation
Top 3 recommender issues to watch out for:
- The recommender asks the candidate to write the recommendation him/herself
- The recommender fails to substantiate their claims with anecdotal examples (Here’s an example: His ability to take multi-dimensional approach to projects and to analyze business issues within an organization-wide context have helped him lead several successful initiatives. The positive impact of his efforts and leadership won accolades from our executive leadership team.)
- The recommender waits until the last minute to write/submit the recommendation