How can your MBA LOR maximize your chances at top B-schools?

How about this time, we start an article with an interesting Analogy?

Believe it or not, LORs are almost as important as B-school essays when building a stellar profile! (There said it!)

 Well, you may say think – Are you for real?🙀

How can you even compare all that hard work done in crafting a creative essay that could quite easily make the nominations for the Booker prize (well, on a serious note, some essays are just Marvellous) could amount just the same as that of an MBA LOR?

Fret not. We have come prepared! This article will answer all your questions related to drafting a solid MBA LOR in, ranging from who can be your Recommender to dealing with all the MBA Recommendation Questions, important components of a LOR, the number of LOR required for a full-time MBA, and What should Reapplicants do, and lastly, discuss the most common format of an MBA LOR as per the requirements of your B-schools!        

WHAT DO YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY? WELL, LET THE DEBATES BEGIN!!

So, where should we start? Right, firstly, we would like you to clear your mind and visualize this—  

Think of all the stellar leadership examples, projects where you were the Ace of your team, all those situations that you turned around single-handedly earning a fortune for the company, a model for the whole floor, and STAR employee whom employers feel lucky to have! Not only that, you were promised a big promotion at the end of the year! 

Looks tempting, right? 

We can’t just end! So you seem to claim all those things but aren’t promoted yet? You did well to quantize the fortune earned in your profile but weren’t 20 people included in the project? And some of them were seniors! What do you want me to believe you overshadowed?  

It doesn’t sound right, does it?🤔

This is exactly where your MBA LORs come into play! Whether it’s professional accolades/promotions earned, stellar leadership examples quoted in B-school essays, or all the big fortunes made! All this and everything else about being a STAR employee, a LOR, is the proof of your credibility, your report card (Ah! Those school days), your alibi to testify for you!    

Now you might understand the foundation of my analogy! It doesn’t matter how stellar and overachiever you may sound on your B-school essays; if it doesn’t match with the views of your manager/ current employer (or whosoever is your Recommender), it’s hardly a piece of paper with no impact at all!  

If you’d like, you can hop on a 1:1 Profile Evaluation session with students/alums of top B-schools who will give you honest, in-depth feedback on your profile

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So now that you are a bit clearer about the significance that MBA LOR holds in your head let’s discuss some important components of a Great LOR!

Before that, please NOTE that New applicants are generally required to submit two recommendations (obviously, it may vary schoolwise), whereas  MBA Reapplicants can make it work by offering just one new suggestion.

WHO CAN BE YOUR RECOMMENDER?

We are looking for objectivity in the letter and want to hear from Someone who can assess your strengths and weaknesses.

It would be better if we followed a case method for this question! 

CASE 1 — Working in a company under a supervisor 

In this case, recommendations can be written by any individual who is well-versed in your performance in a work setting, preferably a manager or a direct supervisor!  

CASE 2 — A new supervisor assigned to you

Generally, B-schools require one letter of recommendation from your current supervisor. However, for any genuine reason, you cannot ask your current supervisor; you must properly explain all these circumstances in the optional essay or by an additional letter. 

CASE 3 — Working in a family business or owning your own Startup/company,

In such cases, a letter of recommendation should be submitted by a third party like – a client or an outside party who does business with you. 

Also, the other letter can come from any previous employer (if possible) or another professional contact/Someone who has worked with you in a company/organization/club/ a volunteer from any project. 

SPECIAL CASE — DEFERRED MBA & MIM (FOR EXPERIENCE LESS THAN SIX MONTHS)

For any full-time job/ internship done for fewer than six months and being a college senior, you can apply for the Deferred Enrollment Program; your recommendation can be a person who can honestly comment on your managerial abilities can objectively assess your professional value!

Remember! The main objective is to get Someone who can, with full honesty, share their insights on your candidacy. For example, your strengths & weaknesses, your managerial skills, and can offer specific examples of your performance and all the critical contributions to the organization. 

AS LONG AS YOU FILL THIS CRITERION, ANYONE CAN BE YOUR RECOMMENDER! 

Note: MBA Candidates shouldn’t choose recommenders based on their title or status. Top B-Schools are more interested in the content and substance than your Recommender’s reputation!  

You should speak to your recommenders and fetch the questions directly from them.

MBA LOR QUESTIONS FOR RECOMMENDERS FOR THE 2023 INTAKE

Before we start, I would like to emphasize the fact that — “Any MBA Candidate (special emphasis for re-applicants. There is no point taking any risk this time! )should make sure to check the website of their target school for the most accurate, complete, and updated information.”

The reason — we have learned from our experience that sometimes Business schools change the LOR questions mid-season, so you need to be cautious and ensure your recommenders are well aware of the questions before submitting their answers.

Note: Please pay special attention to the word limits imposed!

Join us this weekend with the alums/admissions team of top B-schools!

As you may guess that it’s quite hard to get LOR Questions for each Top B-school in this single blog post; hence we would try something different by discussing all the major themes on which the LOR Questions are based!  

The themes could be further divided into Four Broad categories!

First — Recommender’s information!

It’s based on the Recommender’s relationship with the applicant, including the time spent together, first contact, any relation of the Recommender to the School, and everything else!

Secondly — About Candidate’s Competency

This would include everything from Leadership Potential, Interpersonal Skills, Communication, Teamwork, and everything else (you name it, it’s there!)

Next is — A set of Brief questions asking to provide specific examples related to interaction, performance, anything else the School should know, and finally, how well your recommender rates you amongst your peers!

Finally, — A brief description to detail the circumstances of their interaction with you while describing the moment when the most important piece of constructive feedback was given to you by them is asked of the Recommender! 

Note- for each question at the end, the word limit is given, I know I have repeated it several times, but it’s crucial to keep in mind (You would have already got that by now through my deliberation!) 😅  

IS THERE ANY SPECIFIC DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING A LOR?

Normally, the specific Round deadline is the last day for submitting your LORs. 

And we deliberately ask you to do so! “There is no need for any unwanted delay!”  

However, in the case of specific situations, B-schools understand that LORs depend on a third party, and an applicant shouldn’t be penalized for any delay done by the Recommender. Hence, business schools give recommenders a 24- 48 hour grace period to submit the letter of recommendation.

Yes, you are right if you feel you haven’t read such a thing anywhere! The schools don’t advertise it! 

Why, you ask?

This is due to human beings’ very nature to slack whenever possible! Therefore, there is a high possibility that 1-2 days can become 3-4 days and then can become a week. Hence, whenever you feel there can be a delay in submission, it’s best to email or calls the Admissions Office or get in touch with the school directly, asking for a couple of days as an extension to be on the safe side!

There you go! That’s all you might need to remember about the Letter of Recommendation in your MBA Application! I hope this will help you understand what a stellar LOR must comprise!    

Always remember, we are here for you, and together with your Hardwork & Determination, and Our Expertise, no problem is big enough to stop you from achieving your Dream!🎉

Until Next Time, 

Adios! 😊   

About MBAandBeyond

At MBA and Beyond, we believe that our primary goal is to help candidates take a good look at every nook and cranny of all the top B-schools, starting from their career opportunities to scholarships and from post-placement locations to mentorship programs, before making a subtle decision as pursuing an MBA is a life-altering decision. It’s our aim that you find yourself in the best position possible before coming on board!

Moreover, we believe that an MBA candidate should never lose an opportunity because of being shy to ask for help! So, if you want more personal and precise advice, feel free to hop on a 1:1 FREE profile evaluation call with our experts. We’ll dive deep into your profile and help you understand your chances to top B-schools with honest feedback.

Good luck! 🙂

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