Who Should Write Your Letters of Recommendation?

By - May 12, 10:57 AM Comments [2]

Who Should Write Your Letters of Recommendation?

letter of recommendationLetters of recommendation are an important part of your overall application package—they provide the only outside information the admissions committee receives about you. One of the most stressful parts of the application process can be picking your recommender. The first question you should ask is who can write a valuable letter?

Like many candidates, you may believe that your recommenders must have remarkable credentials and titles to impress the admissions committee. However, what is far more important is selecting individuals who can write a personal and knowledgeable letter that discusses your talents, accomplishments, personality and potential. If senior managers at your company can only describe your work in vague and general terms, they will not help your cause, but lower-level managers who directly supervise your work, on the other hand, can often offer powerful examples of the impact you have on your company. As a result, their letters can be far more effective at getting you accepted into an MBA program.

Nonetheless, not everyone who knows you and your capabilities well will make a good recommender. For starters, of course, you should be confident that your potential recommender likes you and will write a positive letter on your behalf! As you contemplate your choices, try to gather some intelligence on your potential recommenders. Have they written letters for anyone else? Are they generous with their time with regard to employee feedback and review sessions? Will they devote the effort and time necessary to write a letter that will really shine? (See also our blog post Mission Admission: Choosing “Safe” Recommenders.)

If your prospective MBA program asks for two letters of recommendation, then generally, you should approach two of your recent supervisors, with one ideally being your current supervisor. Your letters will have added credibility if they are written by individuals who are senior to you, because your recommenders are in evaluative positions and will not have anything to lose by critically appraising your candidacy.

If you are unable to ask your current supervisor (and there are a number of reasons that might be the case), do not panic! Read how to handle this situation in our blog post Mission Admission: What If I Have No Supervisor?

[2] Comments to this Article

  1. Mini Che May 14, 12:15 AM

    I’m also having problems with asking my manager to write letters of recommendation for me as we are not close to each other and he’s also very busy all the time. I’m not so sure if there are alternatives to this. Can your previous teacher, maybe a close one, write the recommendation letter instead of your superior at work? I’d like to know so I can start changing my course of action as soon as possible. I can feel your problem Shreya. I hope we will overcome this challenge now. Are you also reviewing for GMAT? You might want to visit GMAT Cheat Sheet for your reference.

  2. Shreya May 13, 10:53 PM

    My direct Manager is not ready to write recommendation letter for me. He says it is against company policy. All other colleagues are also unwilling to write as they fear it may cause trouble to them. what do do?….will the adcoms really get back to the recommenders ?… if yes, how?…please reply