When choosing who to write your letters of recommendation to your MBA applications, you know the basics:
- The schools prefer that you get a rec from your current direct supervisor.
- Professional recommenders who are in a position to evaluate your work product are important. Academic recommenders are almost always not advisable.
But who is really the very best choice for this important task?
This is what you need to do:
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Recommendations may seem like the easy part of the app: You pick who you want, set them up in the system, and voila, someone else has to do the work! But there is quite a bit of prep and planning that needs to go into it, and many ways to optimize your equation. Don’t leave the hard thinking on these choices to later, and don’t rush through it without considering all options!
Here's what others have said about this:
Hi! Question on Letters of Recommendation I haven’t seen answered other places. For HBS specifically but other schools where it is ambiguous, should the letter be in a letter format, strictly answering the questions, or a combination of both with an intro, specific answers to the questions, and a conclusion?
@TPATH – your recommenders actually will be guided by the individual recommendation systems themselves. Some schools have a copy/paste setup where the content will be plugged into a form (some with hard limits on field content); others allow a file to be uploaded. In all cases, they should focus on answering the questions individually! Calling them “letters” is a misnomer (and make sure they don’t write once-submit everywhere! that would be a huge mistake for most schools). We have a specialized product available for support recommenders in this task which covers the nuances and also gives actionable advice on literally what to say and how to handle the individual questions from the specific schools being applied to:
Recommenders Instructions Sets
Hope that helps!