Business School Recommendation Letter Tips

How to Get a Good Recommendation Letter for Business School

Businessman holding letter.
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Why You Need a Good Recommendation Letter

Recommendation letters are an essential component of your business school application. Admissions committees care about recommendations because these references offer an inside look at who you are as a worker, student, leader, and team member. A good recommendation can help you stand out among the thousands of other applicants who are applying for a limited number of seats in a business school class.

The Importance of Pre-Planning

Getting a good recommendation letter can be a challenge. Often times, these recommendations are sent directly from the recommender to the school, which means you might never see the recommendation or know exactly what was said about you. This can be stressful for applicants who spend months studying for the GMAT, preparing essays, and compiling other application components. 

To ensure that you get good recommendations that support your application, it is important to do some pre-planning. This will give you a little more control over what is said about you and who says it. The following tips will help you procure recommendation letters that will help rather than harm your application.

Recommendation Letter Tip #1: Choose Someone Who Knows You

The worst mistake business school applicants make is choosing a recommender based on title alone. The best recommenders are familiar with you.

In other words, they know your name and don't mispronounce it. Since these people are much more likely to care about you or at least have an opinion of you, they will probably make more of an effort on your behalf.

Recommendation Letter Tip #2: Give Your Recommenders Time

The second worst mistake business school applicants make is not giving their recommenders enough time to complete recommendation letters or the forms that business schools sometimes hand out.

The fact is that quality recommendation letters take time to write. If your recommenders aren't given this courtesy, it will show in the letter.

Recommendation Letter Tip #3: Help Your Recommenders

To get a recommendation letter that actually works, you are going to need to give your recommenders a few basic guidelines. To start, provide your recommender with the type of information that you would like to see included in the recommendation letter. For example, if you want the letter to focus on your strengths and weaknesses versus your leadership abilities, you need to mention that to your recommender beforehand. Finally, ask your recommenders to be detailed. Business schools love recommendation letters that go into detail and offer real insight into the applicant. 

Recommendation Letter Tip #4: Get Enough Letters

Most admissions committees request two to three recommendation letters. You should find at least this many letter writers plus one or two extra. If you have extra recommendation letters, you can compare them and choose the ones that best fit your needs.

Recommendation Letter Tip #5: Thank Your Recommender

Remember, it takes time and effort to craft a good recommendation letter.

Be sure to thank your recommenders for their time with a short, but professional thank you note. See a sample thank you note for recommenders.