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I would appreciate hearing from candidates as many of them have personally experienced the process successfully. Applying to many leading schools.
My recommenders have no experience regarding b-school rec (non-target industries). Many qualitative questions in recs are new to them. Ive suggested traits to emphasize but have fully left it to recommenders to submit the text answers. Will appreciate very much if one can shoot straight with the credible real life examples. My question is,
a) how, if one should, to review or comment so they could improve their rec before submission? b) can top b school admits please share experience
firsttimer2, hopefully it's OK that we jump in even though we're not a (recent) admit ourselves - we've certainly worked with a gazillion of them and can offer some help for your questions.
This is a tricky situation and you're right to be concerned. The adcoms are very forgiving in terms of not judging you, the applicant, on the quality of the writing in the recommendations - but at the same time, this is a VERY important deliverable in your MBA app and it can add a lot of value when done well. When the recs are weak or the questions answered in a superficial way, then it surely can hamper the chances.
Our best advice for you actually comes from the adcoms themselves - go to the Stanford website and find the information that they have. There's an article that they've written to the recommenders. Even if you're not applying to Stanford, you might want to share this with your recommenders.
In terms of your questions: It's totally OK to talk through the questions with your recommenders and even suggest topics to them. The schools do NOT want you to be involved in writing the recommendations though. Even reading what your recommenders have written starts to get into a grey area, and we would strongly caution you against doing the slightest edits, even to correct a typo. We wrote a post about this on the EssaySnark blahg: [urlhttp://essaysnark.com/2012/12/writing-your-own-letters-of-recommendation-is-unethical/]Writing your own recommenations is unethical[/url].
We totally understand the challenges you're facing and if your managers aren't great writers, or if English isn't their first language, or if they're just really really busy, or if they simply don't understand the importance, none of that is going to make this easy. If we can help with other questions on this please don't hesitate to ask, and maybe others can share their own experiences about how they navigated this tricky situation.
Re: view recommendation [#permalink]
05 Aug 2013, 21:55
thanks essaysnark, i have already handed the "stanford guidelines" to rec writers. But it still feels as I am leaving much to chance. Part of the reason this is tricky is the lack of clarity surrounding recommendations.
Specifically, a) when is the recommendation seen by the adcom during application review b) the weight placed on rec (after all, they are admitting the applicant not the rec writer so how much can they be driven by rec writer's opinion. some speculate weight to be 10% or so). Are adcom simply affirming the opinion they formed based on other parts of application? If so, the difference in value between a good and a great rec may not be much. c) some hbs specific admin consultant have publicly stated in the interviews that many hbs admits who (s)he consults write their own rec. i am sure majority of hsw admits don't but if such admits could share tips regarding this, would be very helpful.
I'd appreciate anyone shedding some light on this issue.
Re: view recommendation [#permalink]
07 Aug 2013, 07:42
This post received KUDOS
@firsttimer2, you're getting some bad information and advice.
The recommendations are **really** important. It's impossible to ascribe a weight or percentage since it varies based upon the applicant and the entirety of the profile, but we would place it at much higher than 10% of a decision. Remember, the recommendations are SOMEONE ELSE'S OPINION of you. You can write all you want in the essays about how amazing you are but it's way different when a third party backs that up with her own examples and evidence of you being an overachiever.
If an admissions consultant is advising that her clients write their own recs, then they are behaving totally dishonestly and unethical and anyone who takes that advice is putting themselves at risk. The schools state unequivocally that this is something they can reject an applicant over, and if they find out after the fact they will expell you.
Many schools now are including specific language in the applications where the applicant has to avow that they did not write the recs, and the recommender has to also confirm that the applicant did not write it.
This is really a big deal for the admissions teams and they would be swift to act if they found out.
And before you ask, "How could they find out?" -- it's often quite obvious when someone writes their own rec. Sure, some people likely get away with it... but why would anyone a) want to cheat like that, and b) want to deal with the stress over worrying that they might get caught?