How to Cultivate Excellent Rec Writers

Posted By SWatts on Mar 28, 2012 |

What are some important steps to take that can help you secure better recommendations once it is time for you to submit your MBA applications?

First, bear in mind what you need the recommendations to say – that you are a great performer and you have key strengths in areas such as leadership skills and analytical skills. Make sure that some people superior to you at work are aware of your strong professional performance, know you reasonably well, and feel positively enough about you to support your applications. They should be willing and able to comment about your leadership strengths, analytical strengths, and overall strong performance.

Some candidates fail to get to know their superiors well enough to have this sort of strong support. So, begin cultivating strong relationships early. Whether this involves taking on extra tasks for a superior, meeting up for coffee or arranging informal opportunities to talk, try to develop the relationships so that you can draw on them later.

Candidates should also take steps to keep relationships with prior superiors alive. If you have switched teams, divisions or companies, make efforts to stay in touch with those who were superior to you and thought very well of you, because you may need to ask them also for a recommendation.

For those of you who are wondering about what happens if a candidate has failed to take such steps: well, if they are lucky, they have naturally performed so excellently and have worked so closely with multiple superiors that multiple superiors see them as a star and will be willing to write strong letters of support. But, unfortunately, sometimes when this is not the case, some candidates are left feeling that only peers will recommend them strongly, and generally it won’t look good if a candidate is only submitting recommendations from peers.

The moral of the story: the earlier you begin thinking about which superiors might recommend you and begin to develop strong relationships with them, the better off you should be in the MBA admissions process.

Best wishes,
Dr. Shelle (Shelly Watts)