I started my career with a newspaper (1 yr) and then moved to IT where I worked for 4 years in India. For the last one year I have been in the US and I have been doing active marketing related work for a NPO..but my work with this NPO has been on a volunteer basis. My question is whether it is a good idea get a recommendation letter from the NPO. The founder of the NPO can give me a letter. But Because i worked on a volunteer basis will the value of the recommendation be diminished? The NPO is based in India but has a US incorporated subsidiary.
My second question is whether a CEO giving you a recommendation letter adds extra value to it. This is in case the CEO does know you well enough.
Third question is related to whether it matters that your recommendor has an MBA. What if he/she does have an MBA...should he/she state this somewhere in the letter or in his/her signature. Does highlighting the recommendor's profile/education make an impact.
To answer your questions:
1) I have a question for you. Is your volunteer work for the NPO a full-time position or a part-time position? Is it something you do after work?
2) A CEO writing a letter of rec if the CEO knows you well may be of marginal value, but only if the CEO can write from personal experience about your qualifications for an MBA program. Do not choose title over substance.
What makes a good recommendation:
A) Specifics that support the general qualities attributed to you by your recommender.
B) A recommender who knows you well.
C) A recommender who can compare you to other MBA candidates at top schools. This is not mandatory, but it definitely adds to the value of the recommendation.
3) Closely related to my C above is the answer to your third question. If your recommender has an MBA it is evidence that that person is qualified to compare your qualifications to that of other MBAs. Now if your recommender received his or her MBA 25 years ago, as I did, that experience alone is not very beneficial in comparing you to current MBA applicants. But if your recommender regularly works with recent MBAs, as I do, then your recommender's experience is highly relevant.
For more tips on letters of recommendation, please see "The Letters of Rec Too?!?!
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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