This set of tips should be passed along to the author of your LOR. Recommendation letters/short answers represent a critical part of most application processes. They provide you with an opportunity to fill in gaps in your professional history and effectively market your strengths. Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind:
-As always, avoid the laundry list: “Sue is highly intelligent. Sue is quick to adapt. Sue is a natural leader.” It is always more effective to focus on 1 or 2 traits (especially in a 250 word answer) and provide convincing examples rather than diffuse your energy across multiple, unconvincing characteristics.
-Try to come up with new, transferable skills. Consider the following prompt:
Please make additional statements about the applicant's performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admissions Board. (250-word limit)
Is the program to which you are applying team-driven, or more hands-on/application-based? How is the classroom dynamic characterized? Is entrepreneurship strongly supported? What is the culture like—are student organizations a prominent part of the MBA experience? What skills can be immediately applicable at XXX school?
If possible, we encourage candidates and their recommenders to think beyond the traditional positive attributes, and think more carefully about compatibility with each specific program. Your recommendation also provides a chance to give your application package more definition and heft—so evaluate it from a holistic perspective.
-Ground your observations in experience. Frequently, recommenders provide a broad overview of skills or qualities but do not provide adequate, specific support. This is also gives something away about the relationship with the recommender/superior. Some committee members may ask: how well did this author truly know the candidate? If you worked alongside this person for several years, the assumption will be the recommender will be able to draw from specific anecdotal experience.
-Language, style and content should reflect the relationship between recommender and candidate. If the recommender is CEO of an international consulting firm, there will be an understandable degree of distance and objectivity—the distance between engagement manager and associate will not be as drastic. This may seem like an obvious point, but, your recommendation letter will be more effective if these roles are clearly defined and consistent.
We hope some of these tips will help you as you polish your materials. As always, we wish you the very best of luck!
Ivy Eyes Editing