• 7 CATs FREE!
    If you earn 100 Forum Points

    Engage in the Beat The GMAT forums to earn
    100 points for $49 worth of Veritas practice GMATs FREE

    Veritas Prep
    VERITAS PRACTICE GMAT EXAMS
    Earn 10 Points Per Post
    Earn 10 Points Per Thanks
    Earn 10 Points Per Upvote
    REDEEM NOW

Letter of recommendation tips?

Share tips as you apply, write essays, interview...
This topic has expert replies
Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 28
Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Thanked: 2 times

Letter of recommendation tips?

by southbaynic » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:29 am
I have two people in mind to write my letters of recommendation, both former supervisors (I don't want my current boss to know I'm applying, as I haven't been at my current company all that long). I've looked through the requirements for these letters for the schools I'm applying to, and it is a LOT of work for the recommenders! Some of the schools lend themselves to one letter that can be copied over, but some of them ask really specific questions and discourage generic letters of rec.

My question is, what have you done (or are planning to do) to make this process as painless as possible for your recommenders? I realize it's a huge favor I'm asking of them, and one former boss in particular is a pretty busy and scattered guy. Also, is anyone utilizing more than two recommenders to write letters to different schools to spread out the burden?

I feel like I'm more stressed about this part of the apps than I am about the essays!

Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 165
Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Thanked: 2 times
Followed by:1 members

by HPengineer » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:32 am
Where are the questions/criteria for the recommendation letters? I want to get these to my current boss as soon as possible however have yet to see them posted anywhere for UCLA Full time mba..

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 28
Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Thanked: 2 times

by southbaynic » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:06 pm
Here's the info for UCLA: https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x27516.xml

If you google "[program name] recommendation letters", the info you need will almost always be in one of the first three pages returned. Unlike essay questions, the criteria for recommenders rarely changes.

Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 165
Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Thanked: 2 times
Followed by:1 members

by HPengineer » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:36 pm
Thanks this is good.. i just wasnt sure if these question were new each year and released along with essay.

User avatar
MBA Admissions Consultant
Posts: 213
Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Thanked: 44 times
Followed by:31 members
GMAT Score:620

by Kaneisha Grayson » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:12 pm
Here is my advice to you. I did this when I was applying to HBS and I advise all of my clients to do this as well:

Create a Recommender Packet for each one of your recommendation letter writers. This packet should contain:

- a one-sheeter that outlines EXACTLY what you are asking them to (i.e. login information, due dates, names of schools, deadlines, etc.)

- Your resume

- All your essays for the school you are asking them to write you a letter for (not just the questions but your actual responses to the questions)

- a half-sheet summarizing how each school talks about itself--giving the writer an idea of the "personality" of the school

- anything else you think might be helpful that will not overwhelm them

I gave each one of my recommenders this package in a folder and it made everything very easy for them.

And yes, some of my recommenders wrote letters for several schools and others only wrote a letter for one school.

Good luck!

User avatar
Legendary Member
Posts: 2109
Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Location: New Jersey
Thanked: 109 times
Followed by:79 members
GMAT Score:640

by money9111 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:11 pm
Kaneisha Grayson wrote:Here is my advice to you. I did this when I was applying to HBS and I advise all of my clients to do this as well:

Create a Recommender Packet for each one of your recommendation letter writers. This packet should contain:

- a one-sheeter that outlines EXACTLY what you are asking them to (i.e. login information, due dates, names of schools, deadlines, etc.)

- Your resume

- All your essays for the school you are asking them to write you a letter for (not just the questions but your actual responses to the questions)

- a half-sheet summarizing how each school talks about itself--giving the writer an idea of the "personality" of the school

- anything else you think might be helpful that will not overwhelm them

I gave each one of my recommenders this package in a folder and it made everything very easy for them.

And yes, some of my recommenders wrote letters for several schools and others only wrote a letter for one school.

Good luck!
::snaps for Kaneisha:: I love the rec packet haha. I'll be putting mine together next week! ::sigh:: process is grueling to say the least!
My goal is to make MBA applicants take onus over their process.

My story from Pre-MBA to Cornell MBA - New Post in Pre-MBA blog

Me featured on Poets & Quants

Free Book for MBA Applicants


User avatar
MBA Admissions Consultant
Posts: 213
Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Thanked: 44 times
Followed by:31 members
GMAT Score:620

by Kaneisha Grayson » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:18 pm
Hey! I'm glad you like the advice! You can join my MBA Blogger Promo team and get free access to the webinar. More info here: https://theartofapplying.com/mba-blogger-promo-team/
Harvard Business School MBA 2010, Harvard Kennedy School MPA 2010
Founder, The Art of Applying
Admissions Consulting for MBA, MPP, Joint Degrees, and Fellowships
https://theartofapplying.com

Want free advice that actually works? Sign up for my weekly MBA, MPP, and JD newsletter here: https://theartofapplying.com/newsletter/


My clients have earned over $3.1 million in fellowships from Harvard and other top MBA, MPP, and JD programs since 2010.

Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 54
Joined: 09 Nov 2008
Thanked: 2 times

by aveekguha » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:47 am
I think the advice above is excellent.

The only thing I would also do is manage the process -- that is set some checkpoints up every few weeks to see if they have any questions, how you could help, etc. A hastily pulled together recommendation is easily spotted, it's really up to you to avoid that from happening.

Good luck!
Aveek Guha, President, https://www.mbadaycamp.com/school_prospects.php

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
MBA Admissions Consultant
Posts: 247
Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Location: Houston
Thanked: 52 times
Followed by:42 members
GMAT Score:740

by Jessica@VeritasPrep » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:44 pm
Kaneisha's advice is fantastic. If nothing else, your recommenders will tell the Adcom's that you are incredibly organized and prepared!

I also think it is great that you are concerned about the time commitment for your recommenders. It is a big issue and I always advise people not to ask a recommender to write more recommendations than he/she can easily handle. In fact, the number of good recommenders that you have can often limit the number of applications. I'd try to ask each person to do no more than three. If a recommender seems hesitant, find someone else!! It is much more important to pick someone who will say wonderful things about you and who wants you to succeed than to pick someone with a fancy title. And, lastly, ALWAYS waive your right to see the recommendation letter.

Best of luck!
Jessica
MBA Admissions Consultant
Veritas Prep

Enroll now. Pay later. Take advantage of Veritas Prep's flexible payment plan options

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 28
Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Thanked: 2 times

by southbaynic » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:59 pm
Thanks for all the suggestions - I will definitely be using some of these! I spoke with my busy former boss, and he's on board with writing recs for me, so that is a relief!

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 23
Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Location: Washington, DC
GMAT Score:700

by saritalr » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:14 pm
Jessica@VeritasPrep wrote: And, lastly, ALWAYS waive your right to see the recommendation letter.
Hi Jessica,

I'm curious - why is this the case?

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
MBA Admissions Consultant
Posts: 31
Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Thanked: 10 times
Followed by:2 members

by Tyler@MBAPrepSchool » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:30 pm
To add an additional suggestion to the very helpful advice you've already received, I suggest that you emphasize in your "one-sheeter" for your references that what ad comms value above all else in recommendation letters are examples of your strengths in action. Share with your references the same "don't just tell them show them" advice that you've probably heard in regards to your business school essays. The schools aren't looking for a character reference or a list of superlatives about you, no matter how flattering. Most of all, the admissions officers want the positive impressions and accolades to be backed up with evidence.

Here's a fictional example of what I mean written from the point of view of a real estate client the candidate had worked for:

In Beijing's fiercely competitive real estate sector, where market intelligence is often difficult to obtain and sometimes unreliable, I appreciated the highly transparent and reliable manner in which Doug conducted the entire engagement. For instance, it was Doug who recommended during an initial, multi-party negotiation that we carry out our talks in an open forum with all landlords involved; I credit his approach with attaining more competitive terms for ABC, Inc.

In your reference letter packets, you might even suggest a few projects the references could point to in your work together that will feature strengths you want to convey in your application.

Best of luck with your references letters and all the elements of your application!
Tyler Cormney
MBA Prep School
Website: https://mbaprepschool.com

MBA Prep School teams our clients with experienced admissions consultants and equips them with power-tools for building winning MBA applications. Our mission is for every one of our clients to experience the thrill of being accepted by one of the top business schools.


Take the first step toward your dream school at https://mbaprepschool.com

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
MBA Admissions Consultant
Posts: 31
Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Thanked: 10 times
Followed by:2 members

by Tyler@MBAPrepSchool » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:40 pm
And here's a link to another post on BTG with a tip from me and one other admission consultant on how to reduce the burden on references who will be writing you more than one letter.

https://www.beatthegmat.com/post318246.html#318246
Tyler Cormney
MBA Prep School
Website: https://mbaprepschool.com

MBA Prep School teams our clients with experienced admissions consultants and equips them with power-tools for building winning MBA applications. Our mission is for every one of our clients to experience the thrill of being accepted by one of the top business schools.


Take the first step toward your dream school at https://mbaprepschool.com

User avatar
Community Manager
Posts: 1049
Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Location: India
Thanked: 51 times
Followed by:27 members
GMAT Score:670

by arora007 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:39 am
Great post!!
https://www.skiponemeal.org/
https://twitter.com/skiponemeal
Few things are impossible to diligence & skill.Great works are performed not by strength,but by perseverance

pm me if you find junk/spam/abusive language, Lets keep our community clean!!