Are Recommendation letters the single most important aspect of an MBA candidate’s application?

Are recommendation letters the single most important aspect of an MBA candidate’s application?


For some admissions committees the answer is yes !  Maybe that is  why it’s very important to

  1. Select the right people to write in on your behalf,
  2. Guide them as much as you deem appropriate.

There are always exceptions like your senior executives who must have written countless letters. Lesser experienced managers though might appreciate your guidance.

You may carry the following myths :

  1. Admissions committees focus on your recommenders’ job titles.
  2. Alumni status of a recommender adds weight to your recommendation .

In short senior position holders like your CEO writing on your behalf just because he went to the b-school of your choice will not add much relevance. We say that in the context that, he’s not going to be able to give the admissions committee the valuable insight they’re looking for if he doesn’t know a much about you.

Ideal recommenders are people who knowsyou the best and have the most stories to share or people who are your biggest cheerleaders.

Once you have finalized your recommenders,

  1. Brief them on the process
  2. Give them a a gist of specific projects they could talk about.
  3. Inform them that it’s important for their letters to give examples of your positive personality traits
  4. Inform them to share stories of your professional brilliance.
  5. Inform them to supply proof through examples or brief anecdotes of the positive traits. 
  6. Thank them for their valuable time. They’ve done you a great favor and possibly secured your seat at your dream b-school.

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.


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