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Letter of Recommendation

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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Business School Admissions

Recommendation letters are often used by students during college admissions or by jobseekers seeking employment. Many colleges prefer that applicants supply at least two letters of recommendation during the admissions process. If you want to truly enhance your application, recommendation letters should be written by someone who knows you very well.

Business schools are primarily interested in recommendations from professors who know the applicant and his/her academic work, as well as from employers. Note: Schools which usually only accept applicants with several years or more of full-time experience often place greater importance on letters from employers. They are interested in summary estimates of the applicant's general promise as a student of business. The more the evaluation reflects real knowledge of the applicant and his/her performance, the more useful the letter is to the business school admissions committees and thus to the applicant. The letter should address the following:

  • Interpersonal skills and leadership ability: How effective is the candidate in establishing and maintaining relationships? How well does he or she work with and/or through supervisors, peers and subordinates? How do you assess the applicant's ability to lead, ability to delegate responsibility, sensitivity to those less competent and potential for future success as an administrator? Has the applicant demonstrated willingness to work in a team environment?
  • Personal achievements: Has the applicant sought or created opportunities to make use of his or her native ability and how effectively has he/she exploited it? How do the applicant's achievements compare to those of his/her peers?
  • Candidate's insight into his or her own assets and liabilities: Will the applicant accept constructive criticism? Will he/she accept a challenge with self-confidence, admit mistakes and ask for help when needed?
  • Intellectual qualifications: What is your assessment of the applicant's analytical skills and ability to grasp new ideas? Has the applicant's academic record been affected by any special circumstances such as work or academic background? Does the applicant have the ability to apply his/her knowledge creatively?
  • Ability to communicate: Is the applicant an effective writer? Does the written work submitted demonstrate a mastery of the conventions of English? Is the written material clear, well-organized and forceful? Is the applicant articulate in oral expression?
  • Industry and self-discipline: To what extent does the applicant possess the traits of persistence, efficiency and motivation? Is there any reason to doubt the applicant's diligence as a student?
  • Potential for the study of business: What is your prediction of the applicant's probable performance in the study of business? How well do you think the applicant has thought out plans for graduate study? Among others recommended for business school, how does this candidate rate?
  • Is there any other information about the applicant which you would like to share with admissions committees?

The bottom line, please choose recommenders who are able to provide specific answers to the following questions:

  • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  • How does the applicant stand out from others in a similar capacity?
  • Please give an example of the applicant's impact on a person, group, or organization.
  • Please give a representative example of how the applicant interacts with other people.
  • Which of the applicant's personal or professional characteristics would you change?
  • Please tell us anything else you think we should know about this applicant.

Nowadays, recommenders may submit recommendations either online or through the mail.


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