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
.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.EssaySnark
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