Getting Letters of Recommendation for Your Business School Application

An important criterion in your application to business school is the letter of recommendation. Your strong letters of recommendation could be the winning move if the admissions board has to decide between you and another MBA candidate.

When it comes to obtaining letters of recommendation, remember these key points:

  • Usually you need to submit three letters. Find out the exact number, and don't submit more than you need. Admissions boards review many applications and might not appreciate the extra time they would need to expend on your application.

  • Choose the right person to write the letter. This might be a favorite professor or your college advisor, a boss with whom you established a positive connection, a family friend who holds a high-ranking position of some sort, or a friend who has successfully completed an MBA program. Ask your letter-writing candidates personally to complete the favor, and volunteer to meet with them at a time of their choosing. And of course, when the task is complete, remember to thank your letter-writers!

  • Be certain to give any recommenders adequate time to write a persuasive letter of recommendation. To expedite matters, consider supplying recommenders a checklist about yourself. Include information about where you went to college, your GPA, your major, any extracurricular activities you enjoyed, any work experience you've had, volunteer work you've performed, and your career goals. In addition, you should make the process smooth for your letter writer: Give them information about the institution to which the letter should be sent (including the mailing address), specific instructions (if any), and any applicable deadlines.

  • For maximum credibility, forfeit your right to read the letter before it is sent.