Importance of Recommendation Writers – Can a Colleague Suffice?

Posted By SWatts on Jun 9, 2014 | 0 comments

From The Staff of MBA
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Importance of Recommendation Writers – Can a Colleague Suffice?

MBA applicants are often torn between the tough decision of who to ask to write a letter of recommendation. The choice is a very important one — a strong recommendation could be the tipping point to sway an admissions committee for or against your favor.

I often get emails from candidates asking whether they can use a college professor or college colleague as a recommendation writer. My general rule of thumb is that if you can avoid it, take every action to do just that. Failing to do so can be interpreted as meaning that you have insufficient professional references, which can make it seem as though you have not performed well enough to have strong support from your professional superiors and colleagues.

When a candidate needs two recommendation letters for an MBA application, the best option, in general, is to have two professional recommenders who are superior to you in the workplace. If you are unable to obtain two letters from superiors, one letter from a work colleague can be used successfully, assuming that the letter is written in the right language and emphasizes the topics that business schools most care about.

But what about when three recommendations are required? Ideally, the third recommendation will add a new dimension about the candidate. For example, a client, business partner or a colleague from a prior business experience can help to add a different dimension to a person’s candidacy ­– maybe showing an entrepreneurial or creative talent. Alternatively, if a candidate has an outstanding extracurricular activity, they can potentially use a third recommendation from someone who has worked with them on a very meaningful business-relevant extracurricular activity, such as a board of advisors or a professional networking group.

Remember, you want to make yourself appear to be dynamic, adaptable and business-savvy. Securing outstanding recommendation writers that can attest the breadth and depth of your candidacy to help ensure that the admissions committee sees all that you have to offer.

Good luck in the admissions process!


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