Can One of my Co-Workers or Colleagues be my Recommendation Writer?

Posted By SWatts on Dec 29, 2014 | 0 comments

From The Staff of MBA
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Can One of my Co-Workers or Colleagues be my Recommendation Writer?

Recommendations are one of the most important factors in the admissions process, and who you choose to write your recommendations will say a lot about your work relationships and experience. A lot of MBA candidates come to me asking whether they can use a college professor, college colleague or co-worker as a recommendation writer. Nine out of ten times, my answer to this question is “no”. To the admissions committee, that choice can mean you lack the needed professional references from the workplace. In turn, this can make the admissions committee believe that you have not performed well enough to have strong support from your professional superiors and colleagues.

Most MBA applications will require two or three recommendation letters. Ideally, you should have two recommendations from professionals who are superior to you in the workplace. If necessary, for the second letter, a letter from a work colleague can be used successfully rather than a letter from a superior, assuming that the letter is written in the right language and emphasizes the topics that business schools most care about.

For business schools that require three recommendations, the third recommendation should preferably add a new element to the candidate that wasn’t explained in any other recommendations. For example, a client, a business partner or colleague from a prior business experience can help to add a different perspective. Alternatively, if you have an outstanding extracurricular activity, you can potentially use a third recommendation from someone you have worked with on a very meaningful, business-relevant extracurricular activity. For example, perhaps you volunteer on the Board of Directors at a non-profit — this would be an excellent opportunity to use that experience!

Above all, remember that recommendations can make a huge impact on the admissions committee and can make or break a candidate’s chance for admission. Make sure yours are outstanding.

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