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Alumni Application Tips: letters of recommendation

July 04, 2016

How to get good recommendations from Svetlana Kokurina.

The purpose of a letter of recommendation in applications

The reason why business schools ask for a letter of recommendation is that they can learn more about your character, achievements and ambitions. They want to better understand what kind of person you are and look for insights into your professional performance. So give your best when it comes to selecting your professional references and choose wisely: Go for referees who want you to succeed and who believe in the value of an MBA. Choose your most enthusiastic advocates. Ideally, it should be someone who can provide examples of your strengths and achievements.

The right person to ask makes a difference

Also, bear in mind that an academic reference will not be able to answer the most common recommendation questions. When I prepared for my application for the Global Executive MBA in 2008, I asked a direct supervisor of the company I was working for and a business partner with whom we had been working together successfully over many years. Talk to your referees early and prepare them, where possible. And make sure that they can meet the application deadline.

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