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Application Tips: Recommendations


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Amy Voth 
Senior Associate Director of Admissions

Hi, my name is Amy Voth and I serve as Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the full-time MBA program. 

Recommendations are a way for us to gain additional perspective on your candidacy from people who have worked with you and who know you well.

Unless you are applying as an undergraduate student, your two recommendations should be professional in nature. Many candidates ask us who are the best people to write their recommendations. Our answer is that they should be people who know your work well and who are preferably senior to you (so no peers or subordinates). Ideally one of your recommendations will be from your current supervisor. However, we know that sometimes this isn’t possible. Maybe that person is a family member, or maybe you’re an entrepreneur, or maybe you haven’t told your supervisor you are considering leaving to earn your MBA. In these cases, we would suggest you look to your most recent former supervisor. Entrepreneurs may consider getting recommendations from board members or VC funders. In general, we care about the quality of the recommendation, not the title of the recommender. The more insight your recommenders can provide in their evaluations, the better we’re able to understand your story and gauge your potential.

We encourage you to reach out to your recommenders in advance and schedule some time to talk with them about your desire to earn an MBA. Maybe even reflect on some of the growth experiences you’ve had and how you expect to add value to an MBA community. This can be great preparation for them to write you a thoughtful and comprehensive recommendation.

However, we do suggest that you do not send your recommenders your essays or other written materials because they may incorporate them into their recommendations. Seeing the same language in your essays and recommendations may raise concerns to us about the independence of the recommendations, even if you were only trying to be helpful to your recommenders.

Finally, please note that we allow recommenders to submit their recommendations in Mandarin and Spanish and we will translate the recommendations on our end. The hope is that doing so will make things easier for recommenders who do not speak English and will give you more options in your choice of recommenders.